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Perhaps Yours Truly can propel some momentum toward consummating that ethereal yet mercurial goal of Adjournment of the Iowa Legislature―the prospect of which dangles before us like a flirtatious wraith―by reviewing proper protocol in order to achieve same.
Ritual formality of course, is important. Tradition betokens continuity as well as institutional memory. Unfortunately, its realism is diminished by our colloquial “presentism,” giving way to that urge of ours to homogenize cultural history by anglicization of all of our nomenclature.
Neither Caesar nor Cicero would be pleased, methinks, by our appropriation by mispronunciation of “Sine Die.” Now, the meaning of the words “Sine Die,” from Latin-to-English, literally translates as follows: from “sine” to “without,” and then from “die” to “day.” “Sine Die” means, literally “Without Day.”
Ergo, “Sine Die” literally means to adjourn without another day for resumption during a session. Yes, there may be a special session (almost guaranteed in decile years, including this autumn of ‘21,
In order to ratify census re-districting maps). Furthermore, as set forth in the Iowa Constitution, there will be a second session in year two (2022) of this 89th General Assembly.
Whither “Sine Die?” The key to properly adjourning is the seemingly simple but almost impenetrable duty of correctly pronouncing those mere four syllables: “Sine Die.” Many pronounce it with anglicized phonetics―SIGN-ee DIE. Simple, but wrong.
In Latin, the i has a long “e” sound. The Latin “e” has a sound almost like the a in May. Therefore “Sine” (“Without”) is pronounced Sē’nā (See-nay).
Same rules exactly are conferred to second word “Die” (“Day”). The “i” and the “e” again sound out like long “e” and long “a,” making for a two-syllable word pronounced Dē′ā (Dee-yeigh). And “yeigh” like the “a” in “neigh,” “sleigh,” and weigh.”
There you have it.
Now, let’s get to adjournment―