(See Nigel edition here.)
Do you ever find yourself reading aloud or speaking in public when, to your horror, you come across a word you don't know how to pronounce? Especially one that you've read in your mind as a written word all the time, but you've never heard it spoken out loud?
I'm not even talking about uncommon, difficult oddball words like "halcyon" or "hubris" (both of which appear on my personal unpronounceable list). I'm talking about everyday words like "apricot," "oregano," or even the abbreviation "lbs." For the longest time (and sometimes I still stumble) I pronounced "apricot" like APP-ricot and "lbs" as - get this - loobs. I knew it meant pounds but I didn't know you pronounced it like that. What, the l, the b, AND the s are silent? I was doing fine with "oregano" until Marge Simpson pronounced it o-re-GAH-no. Now I'm always afraid that pronunciation will escape my lips before the proper one.
Sometimes there are words I think should be pronounced a different way, like "aspartame." I was so sad to find out it's AS-par-tame instead of as-PAR-ta-mee. Or CougarEat, at the BYU: doesn't coo-GAR-ee-ut just sound better?
Then there are the words whose proper pronunciations I know, but I don't know if everyone else does, and I don't want to be weirdly pretentious, so should I pronounce them out loud correctly or not? Like "victuals" (vittles) or "often" (the t is silent). I still haven't figured these ones out.
Proper names are even beyond me every once in a while. I was the laughingstock of my group of friends in high school for a while when I made the mistake of pronouncing the second syllable of "Tupac" like "pock" instead of "pack." I may have also pronounced B.I.G. (as in The Notorious) as the word it spells instead of discrete letters, but that also might have been something my friends made up to make fun of me. I can't remember.
I do remember that once while I was teaching an LSAT prep class the name of the philosopher Sartre came up and the only clue I had to its pronunciation was how Jay Sherman said it on that one Simpsons episode - Shartre? Or something? I really embarrassed myself in front of a bunch of philosophy majors on that one.
"Prague" comes out as "prayg" if I'm not careful. "Doctrinal" sometimes embarrasses me as "doc-TRINE-al."
What words do you habitually mispronounce?