"Amen" pronunciation: "ay-men" v. "ah-men"

Not an important topic, but I’m just curious: Why do Catholics pronounce it “ay-men” rather than “ah-men”? Has this always been the standard, or did it change at some point? If it changed, why? Was this an intentional change, or did it just naturally evolve that way?


p.s. I am aware that it is usually still pronouced “ah-men” when sung, but at Mass and just in general, I noticed that Catholics pronounce it “ay-men.”

I’ve heard it pronounced both ways.

I really don’t think there’s a right or wrong way.

Tom-ay-toes. Tom-ah-toes. They all taste the same in the end!

Likewise, I’ve heard it pronounced both ways, at a guess the proportions are roughly equal. I’m one who’s actually changed my pronunciation in the last few years, to ah-men rather than ay-men, simply because I’ve come to prefer the sound of the former.

It’s just a matter of language. Americans tend to say Ayemen rather than the original Armen of the English Language. The UK and Australia still use Armen today!

Right, I understand that both pronunciations are in use, and am not suggesting that one is better or more valid than the other (Greeks pronounce it “ah-meen” which is probably closest to the original).

What I am asking is: Isn’t “ah-men” the traditional western pronunciation? And, if so, when did “ay-men” become so prevalent? (I forgot to mention that I have been listening to Catholic Answers Live, and have noticed that they pronounce it “ay-men” every single time.)


hahaha, well probably because the southern american accent kicks in, BAICK IN TEHHHHCKSAHHHS WE YOUSED TO SAYE AYEMEEHHNN

YIKES!!! I *hope *that’s not why!

I am not sure. As a kid - about 50 years ago - we always said ah-men. It may have been around the time that we changed from the Latin mass that the pronunciation changed.

I’ve traveled to a number of different countries and studied a number of different languages, including OT Hebrew and NT Greek. Only in American English is “amen” pronounced “ay-men.” I go with the original pronunciation, even when everyone around me isn’t.


I noticed that I say Ah-men with Catholic prayers like the Hail Mary, but those prayers I have heard a lot in a non-Catholic setting like the Our Father, I say ay-men.

Could it have anything to do with the difference between Ecclesiastical pronunciation of Latin and Classical?

I always pronounce it Ah-men, singing or speaking, but I’ve got several years of choir singing influencing that. :wink:

According to the excellent ‘Catholic Dictionary’ by Father Peter Stravinskas, both pronunciations are acceptable. Incidentally, the same work contains a very helpful Guide to Pronunciation. Hope this helps.:slight_smile:

I say AHmen:)

I’ve heard certain sung chants (Gregorian possibly, I can’t recall exactly) end in** AWE**-men.
Is this now a Trinity of Amens!!:slight_smile:

People in Southern England say pronounce it Armin, not Ahmen or Aymen.

I believe the accent might be the cause.

The horrible ay-men pronunciation originated from a song in a movie and it stuck.
I hate that way of pronouncing it.
I always say ah-men.

Something wrong with Southerners?:ehh:

My mom says that prior to Vatican II ah-men was always used. After Vatican II either/or was acceptable.

I’m with you.

Not at all.
Just with the way they mutilate the English language. :smiley:

jk southerners…I love you all, but I received so much flak for being a “Yankee” during four years of college in the South, that I have no qualms about giving it back now and again.