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Mispronunciations


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#1 Jim A.

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 08:28 PM

I really should be talking here about more earth-shaking issues; there are so many of them, especially now. However, I felt that somewhere on this forum might be a place for me to vent about something that has always been gnawing at me: when people continually mispronounce certain words, even though they've seen their spellings many times.
I guess the reason chronic mispronunciation bothers me so much is because it seems to me--whether I'm right or not--that the person speaking doesn't really care about language, or at least not in the precision of usage of language. Am I being overly sensitive? And do I ever dare to do something I'm afraid of doing "to" someone--that is, "correcting" him or her on their pronunciation?
Anyway, from the category of mispronounced words, here are my top five "enemies" (drum-roll, please):

5--"aksed", instead of "asked"
4--"drownded", instead of "drowned"
3--"supposably", instead of "supposedly"
2--"excaped", instead of "escaped"

And the real winner:

1--"nucular", instead of "nuclear"

Anyone have any other examples that tick them off?

#2 piz

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 10:26 PM

All mispronunciations irk me, as do all spelling errors in email and other internet communications.* The only time a mispronunciation doesn't bother me is if the speaker notes that he is unsure of the correct pronunciation. Otherwise I assume the speaker just never bothered to learn what's correct, and that's the irksome part. It suggests intellectual laziness.

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*I'm "cursed" with perfect spelling. The only mistakes I ever make are typos I don't catch, except for complicated words I've never encountered before. Those I look up.
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#3 JeffT

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 01:28 AM

Am I being overly sensitive?

Nope. :) You're right--it's important for the reasons you state.

A personal "favorite" of mine:

"chipolte" instead of "chipotle".

All of your examples, and mine, are in the category of being clearly wrong by trivial examination of the spelling.

I am much more forgiving when the proper pronunciation rests on information not conveyed in the spelling. That simply suggests that the person has learned the word in writing but hasn't heard it spoken (or hasn't made the connection to the spoken word), particularly for young people. For example, "rendezvous" or "Worcester".

#4 Betsy Speicher

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 04:23 AM

Anyway, from the category of mispronounced words, here are my top five "enemies" (drum-roll, please):

5--"aksed", instead of "asked"
4--"drownded", instead of "drowned"
3--"supposably", instead of "supposedly"
2--"excaped", instead of "escaped"

And the real winner:

1--"nucular", instead of "nuclear"

It looks like what happens when children are not taught phonics and how to sound out words.
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Betsy's Law #2 - In the long run you get the kind of friends -- and the kind of enemies -- you deserve.

#5 Paul's Here

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 08:12 AM

"Heigth" instead of "height."
ANTHEM
"It is my eyes which see,
and the sight of my eyes grants beauty to the earth.


It is my ears which hear,
and the hearing of my ears gives its song to the world.


It is my mind which thinks,
and the judgment of my mind is the only searchlight that can find the truth."


---------

"Life, if well spent, is long." - Leonardo

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(Avatar shows the Milky Way and our place in it.)

#6 JeffT

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 08:15 AM

"Heigth" instead of "height."

Oh yes, this is definitely by far my #1 annoying mispronunciation. A circle of my friends in 6th grade even talked about this one, it was so prevalent.

#7 piz

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 12:09 PM

My friends at Red Vs. Blue address a mispronunciation.
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#8 Jim A.

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 03:37 PM

I forgot to mention another "favorite" of mine: when people, even some who've read a few of Ayn Rand's novels, pronounce her first name "Ann". It's apparent to me they just ignore the "y" in her first name and therefore don't pronounce it as a diphthong.
And this brings to me to another subject which still saddens me: all those editions of The Fountainhead, The Virtue of Selfishness and possibly other Ayn Rand works which were reprinted in 1992 (I believe that's the year) and contain a number of not only misspellings, but words that are not in the original texts.

#9 Dave K

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 04:35 PM

One of my irritations is the pronunciation of the 't' in 'often.'

#10 alann

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 10:24 PM

I am much more forgiving when the proper pronunciation rests on information not conveyed in the spelling. That simply suggests that the person has learned the word in writing but hasn't heard it spoken (or hasn't made the connection to the spoken word), particularly for young people. For example, "rendezvous" or "Worcester".

You mean like Richard Pryor doing a great fatuous, sophisticated British accent, asking the waiter for "some of that 'Wore Chester Shire' sauce"?

#11 Paul's Here

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 02:34 AM

Antartica for Antarctica.

Liberry for library.

Febuary for February.
ANTHEM
"It is my eyes which see,
and the sight of my eyes grants beauty to the earth.


It is my ears which hear,
and the hearing of my ears gives its song to the world.


It is my mind which thinks,
and the judgment of my mind is the only searchlight that can find the truth."


---------

"Life, if well spent, is long." - Leonardo

--------------------
(Avatar shows the Milky Way and our place in it.)

#12 Paul's Here

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 02:38 AM

Here's a bunch of mispronounciations.
ANTHEM
"It is my eyes which see,
and the sight of my eyes grants beauty to the earth.


It is my ears which hear,
and the hearing of my ears gives its song to the world.


It is my mind which thinks,
and the judgment of my mind is the only searchlight that can find the truth."


---------

"Life, if well spent, is long." - Leonardo

--------------------
(Avatar shows the Milky Way and our place in it.)

#13 TheOtherJake

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 12:00 PM

One of my irritations is the pronunciation of the 't' in 'often.'

From Random House:

'Often' was pronounced with a t-sound until the 17th century, when a pronunciation without the "t" came to predominate in the speech of the educated, in both North America and Great Britain, and the earlier pronunciation fell into disfavor. Common use of a spelling pronunciation has since restored the [t] for many speakers, and today  /ˈɔfən/[aw-fuhn] and  /ˈɔftən/[awf-tuhn] or /ˈɒfən/[of-uhn] and [of-tuhn] exist side by side. Although it is still sometimes criticized, 'often' with a /t/[t] is now so widely heard from educated speakers that it has become fully standard once again.

#14 Claire

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 09:27 PM

One of my irritations is the pronunciation of the 't' in 'often.'

From Random House:

'Often' was pronounced with a t-sound until the 17th century, when a pronunciation without the "t" came to predominate in the speech of the educated, in both North America and Great Britain, and the earlier pronunciation fell into disfavor. Common use of a spelling pronunciation has since restored the [t] for many speakers, and today  /ˈɔfən/[aw-fuhn] and  /ˈɔftən/[awf-tuhn] or /ˈɒfən/[of-uhn] and [of-tuhn] exist side by side. Although it is still sometimes criticized, 'often' with a /t/[t] is now so widely heard from educated speakers that it has become fully standard once again.


The Other Jake: Language is and always has been fluid. Most of what was correct in the 17th century has changed. That's language. No need to get irritated.

#15 TheOtherJake

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 04:43 AM

The Other Jake: Language is and always has been fluid. Most of what was correct in the 17th century has changed. That's language. No need to get irritated.

I was not irritated. I posted the entry to make the very same point: that language is fluid (i.e. it's not wrong to pronounce the "t" in often.)

#16 Dave K

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 07:01 AM

The Other Jake: Language is and always has been fluid. Most of what was correct in the 17th century has changed. That's language. No need to get irritated.

I was not irritated. I posted the entry to make the very same point: that language is fluid (i.e. it's not wrong to pronounce the "t" in often.)



I don't care I still don't like it. One of my other pet peeves is toxic used as a noun usually by addding an 's', i.e. toxics as in that dump is full of toxics instead of toxins. You may argue similarly that Merriam-Webster lists toxic (secondly) as a noun but it still sounds awful used as a noun just as the 't' sounds awful in often when pronounced. There, I've got that off my chest.

#17 TheOtherJake

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 05:02 PM

I don't care I still don't like it. One of my other pet peeves is toxic used as a noun usually by addding an 's', i.e. toxics as in that dump is full of toxics instead of toxins. You may argue similarly that Merriam-Webster lists toxic (secondly) as a noun but it still sounds awful used as a noun just as the 't' sounds awful in often when pronounced. There, I've got that off my chest.

I haven't heard that one, but I agree - it's nogood.

One I hear frequently when out to sea is "potable" pronounced as pottable. A number of well-educated commanders pronounce it that way. It definitely ranks in my top 5 pronunciation pet peeves.

#18 Capitalism Forever

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 05:44 AM

I don't care I still don't like it.

Other people may like it, though, and consider the "mispronounced" version a legitimate alternative. It is a fact of reality that languages continually evolve, and words get new meanings or new pronunciations.

There is no way to derive an ought a shalst from an is.


#19 L-C

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 07:11 PM

My pronunciation pet peeve would be using the regular "the" even when the following word starts with a vowel sound. "Thuh egg" or "thuh orange". I was taught that you should use "thee" in such cases.

#20 TheOtherJake

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 10:19 PM

My pronunciation pet peeve would be using the regular "the" even when the following word starts with a vowel sound. "Thuh egg" or "thuh orange". I was taught that you should use "thee" in such cases.

What about words that start with the ē sound? Do you say "the evening" or "thē evening?"




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