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12 December 2019, 16:17 | Updated: 12 December 2019, 16:25
Google has released its most searched questions of the year – and ‘how to pronounce Psalm’ is in the top four. We examine just why...
The most Googled questions of 2019 in the UK have been revealed, and it appears that the British public were particularly interested in how to pronounce the word ‘Psalm’.
‘How to pronounce Psalm’ was the fourth most searched question of the year, beating ‘how to watch Chernobyl’ and, perhaps more surprisingly, ‘how to register to vote’.
Before we look into the interest behind the word…
‘Psalm’ is pronounced ‘sahm’. Just like the ‘palm’ of your hand or, if you’re from North West England, a ‘barm’ as in a bread roll.
A Psalm is basically a song set to music. The Bible (we’re talking the Hebrew Bible and, therefore, the Christian Old Testament) has 150 of them, all contained within The Book of Psalms.
Although none of the music has survived, there are plenty of modern (ish) settings of the original sacred texts. Have a listen to this rather lovely one by Gustav Holst:
2019, it would appear, is the year of the Psalm.
But why? Do these high search volumes equate to a renewed interest in ancient songs of Israel and Judah? Are Gen Y’ers increasingly streaming the unmetrical texts of homophonic Anglican chant? Was Monteverdi’s Beatus Vir a surprise (but welcome) contender for 2019 Christmas No. 1?
Or, is it possible that people are simply looking to religion in a time of unrest and political divide?
Well, we’re sorry to say the answer is: none of the above.
Apparently, this is all because Kim Kardashian and Kanye West decided to name their fourth child Psalm. Which is of course a great name – but we can’t hide our disappointment that this wasn’t all to do this a renewed interest in sacred biblical songs.