Wednesday, March 16, 2011

More words pronounced incorrectly by me


Seems I get the hankering to do this in March - here are some more words pronounced incorrectly by me. I have been saving these up on a sticky note for the past year, so let's bust them out.

(Of course I know I can look them up in a dictionary to find out how they are actually pronounced. But on the fly, I don't always have that option. Besides, I'm just as interested in how we DO say these words as I am in how we SHOULD say them.)

deleterious. I absolutely know what this word means and how to use it effectively in print. I am less sure about its pronunciation. Something about all those e's gets me every time.

Reuters, as in the news service. For the longest time (never mind how long) I thought it was pronounced "Rooters."



knell, like a death knell. Is the k pronounced or what? I know it usually isn't when paired with an n, but something about pronouncing it 'nell' seems so anticlimactic.

biopic. Just yesterday, I found out this is pronounced "bio-pic" (think "biography picture"), not "bi-opic."

valet. Downton Abbey taught me this one. I understand that "val-AY" is traditionally accepted in America, but apparently the "real" pronunciation is "VAL-et." Who knew? Besides the British, I mean?

disparate. An awkward word if ever there was one. Dis-PAR-ate? DIS-par-ate? Let's just use "different" from now on, mmmkay?

ornery. Is it, or is it not, pronounced "awnery"? Or is that a different word, like how I thought "awry" was pronounced "AW-ry" and "aw-RIE" was a totally separate word?

excoriate. I always end up adding an extra c in there, like "excorCiate." It would sound better that way.

disconsolate. You wouldn't believe how often this comes up. Dis-CON-so-late? Dis-con-SO-late? I can't even remember which one I say anymore.

untoward. I was listening to WWDTM once, minding my own business, when Peter Sagal himself pronounced this "un-TOW-ard" and my world was shattered. Has anyone else besides me been saying it "un-to-WARD" all this time?

On a similar note, incomparable. Look, I know we all want to give a nod to the word's obvious derivation from "com-PARE," but I do believe it's "in-COM-par-able." No?

Join in the fun and add your own, won't you? I just know I'm not the only one making an occasional fool out of myself in this manner.

11 comments:

Liz Johnson said...

I was totally with you on biopic. Really?? Bio-pic??

Also, I thought it WAS pronounced COM-par-able... that's how I've always said it. COM-par-able and in-COM-par-able.

And I vote for dis-CON-so-late. And awnery.

And I refuse to buy into the VAL-et thing.

Bridget said...

Liz, I mis-wrote about comparable. I changed it now.

Watching Downton Abbey will convert you to "VAL-et," I promise.

Señora H-B said...

I'm another bi-opic person. I still read it that way, even though I KNOW how it's supposed to be pronounced.

Jessie said...

I have a couple of biblical related ones:

Shew - as in "I will shew unto you". Everyone just says "show" because of context, but is it REALLY pronounced that way? Because it sure looks like "shoe" to me.

"Saith" - as in "Thus saith the Lord". Sayeth? Seth? Everyone says sayeth, but a part of me thinks if it WERE sayeth, it would be spelled sayeth.

Someone please enlighten me :)

Loradona said...

I, of course, will never admit to mispronouncing words.(Okay, that's a lie; I've totally said words wrong, but I can't remember them right now.)
However, I had a boss who consistently pronounced the word "kiln" as "kilm." It drove me absolutely nuts! I know that "m" and "n" are super close in pronunciation, but I could hear it (and see her lips make the shape) every dang time. And since I was the art teacher and she was trying to convince me to do something with the existing kiln (even though we had no clay), it came up a lot.

And I don't know that we can trust the British on the pronunciation of valet. They're also the ones who pronounce "fillet" as "fill-et" instead of "fill-ay." And they pronounce "oregano" as "ore-eh-GAH-no."

Kathy Haynie said...

Speaking of the British, let's not forget "al-you-MIN-eee-um" for aluminum. Where do they get the extra "eee" from?

(At least I've heard that's how the British pronounce "aluminum," but having never been to England, I am only going on hearsay.)

I mispronounce words, but I can't think of them right now. I like the idea of starting a stickie note for a future blog post.

One of the other English teachers at the high school where I teach--the nicest guy, younger than me--has a wonderful speaking vocabulary. Several times he has used words that I have never heard before, only read in context over the years and generally picked up on their meanings. I always try to look cool when he says one of those words, but inside I'm going, "Oh, so that's how you say it!"

Merkley Jiating said...

I am with you on "awry." Bio-pic just doesn't seem right to me. Does anyone pronounce that the right way?!

Sam saw the comment about how much weight you gained with Miriam and Magdalena and he couldn't believe it (I have a tough time believing it, too). That is half of your body weight!

Shannan said...

this is what rushes to mind and I'm embarrassed about it, but since I learned it this way - it's really hard for me to train my mind in the correct way.
Quinoa - Yes, I pronunce it "Qwah-noah" as in Noah and the Ark. I know it is "Keen-wa" now, but I can't tell you how many times I am giving someone my awesome "Qwah-noah" recipe.

Okay, so how is Reuters pronounces then, because I am "rooters" as well in my head.

Bridget said...

Senora, thank you for the validation.

Jessie, um, I think I say "shoo." Don't I? I'll have to pay more attention next time I'm reading the Bible out loud in public.

As for sayeth, I just cheat and stretch the 'ay' part out. Saayyth. That way, I cover all my ground.

Loradona, your kiln story cracked me up. And do the British really say FILLet???

Kathy, I will ask Miriam about aluminium. They're doing a recycling unit at school and I'm sure her British-accented teachers will have said the word a time or two.

Emily, I think you were actually the one who alerted me to the fact that "awry" and "aw-RIE" are the same word.

Shannan, I believe it's pronounced "Royters." And until you wrote that about Quinoa, I was saying it "kee-NOH-a." So, thanks.

Chris said...

I don't like artisinal. It ought to be ar-TIS-i-nal to make it nice and lyrical, but it is ART-i-sin-al. It has a horrible stumbling sound.

loradona said...

Yes, Fill-et is the preferred pronunciation, at least where I was and what I heard. One last tidbit: Garage is pronounced "Gair-idge" in England. It made for one really confusing conversation when neither party could understand this word.

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