were fairly easy to pronounce in English.
Then in November came a pronunciation variant of concern named after the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet:
… and the problems began.
The first issue was where to place the stress – the British dictionaries indicated second syllable stress /əʊˈmʌɪkrɒn/ but nobody seemed to do that instinctively. First syllable stress /ˈɒmɪkrɒn/ being the clear favourite of most scientists and presenters.
The second ambiguity was found in the vowel sounds – is the first O pronounced with a diphthong /əʊ/, a monophthong /ɒ/ or even a schwa /ə/? Similarly, at the end of the word, is the ON pronounced /ən/ or /ɒn/?
And to further add to the drama, both /ɒ/ and /əʊ/ are pronounced differently in American English giving us /ˈɑmɪkrɑn/ and /ˈoʊmɪkrɑn/.
It also became clear that some people were mysteriously adding /n/, presumably because the only similar words in English are things like OMNIPRESENT or OMNIPOTENT giving us /ˈɒmnikrɒn/ or /ˈɒmni/ for short.
When you combine all these variants (whether you believe them to be correct or not) it gives us at least ten pronunciations of one three syllable word. So OMICRON has taught the world a very important lesson in 2021: a word’s pronunciation is defined by how people say it, not how people say people should say it! Or in other words:
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PRONUNCIATION VARIANT OF CONCERN!