Monday, July 25, 2011

The Mis-pronouncables

I recently read through a thread in the “Word Nerds” group on LinkedIn and wanted to share some of these funny stories. It started with one commenter saying that every time she sees the word “misled,” her eyes single out the “isle” first, causing her to pronounce the word as “mild.” Others chimed in with “mizzled” or “missiled.”

Another wrote that when she delivered a high school speech for class, she pronounced indict as in-dickt instead of in-dite. My husband had the same problem with “elicit” (E-lissit), pronouncing it e-lickt.

The word I remember puzzling over when I was a new reader was “doughnut.” I had apparently just learned that words like “enough” were pronounced with the “f” sound. So, I went to my dad and asked, “What is a duff-nut?”

Someone else remembered a "sermon my pastor gave in the young life of our startup church. He went on and on about the facade we put on for others. Only he used a hard "c" every time. FACK-aid.” Apparently, 20 years later, he still hasn’t lived that one down.

Others mentioned mistaking “ch” as a “k” sound, as in lecher, or the soft “c” (s-sound) as a hard “k” sound.

One posted about a Chinese priest who would tell the story of a saint living in the time of "The Plagoo." The writer added, “At my age, every anecdote reminds me of another anecdote. I guess I'm in my anecdotage.” And as for those who think words and grammar are boring or unimportant, well, a plagoo upon both their domikiles.

Do you have any favorites you’d like to share?


A native Montanan, Heidi M. Thomas now lives in Northwest Washington. Her first novel, Cowgirl Dreams, is based on her grandmother, and the sequel, Follow the Dream, has recently been released. Heidi has a degree in journalism, a certificate in fiction writing, and is a member of Northwest Independent Editors Guild. She teaches writing and edits, blogs, and is working on the next books in her “Dare to Dream” series.

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  1. My husband blends the words "genuinely" and "generally." It wouldn't be so frustrating if he didn't use the same blended word for both meanings!

    I liked to read National Geographic when I was a new reader, and consequently made a lot of mistakes when sounding out new words. I still say "plague" with a short "a" sound instead of a long one.

  2. My other half says idealistically when he means ideally. He knows it's wrong but it's a habit (also, I think he does it to annoy me). When I started reading I read chauffeur as 'chuffer', thought it was that for years :)

  3. My mistakes these days seem to come in the realm of healthy foods: quinoa, edamame. I blame a not-so-hidden desire to continue to eat the foods of my youth. I have to admit I had an urge to smack George W. every time he said "nucular." My feeling on that one: if you can spell, you can pronounce.

  4. My aunt, God love her, always pronounced "Tupperware" as "Too-per-ware", and (I kid you not), "dachshund" as "douche-hound."

  5. My father always call me his "dafter". My daughter read the word the same way, because she knew "laughter."

    And then there was the street named Foothill which my father insisted on pronouncing "FOOTH Ill" (he loved word games).

    Someone asked me how to pronounce Juaquin, as in the San Juaquin Valley in California, and when I told him he said, "OK -- one less valley in California" because he'd read it one way but heard it another.

    Debris was another one.

    I guess I've gone on longer than your post! I'll save the rest for another day.

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

  6. I love everything you've come up with here--this is fun!

  7. My dad used to say "fill-em" for "film".

    BTW In the last 2 months I have read about 90% of the posts and comments on this site. My WIP is about 20k words so all of the information here will save me TONs of time.
    Thank you all!

  8. My husband and I vacation with another couple. After convening over the day's first cups of coffee, our friend excuses herself to finish her "morning aberrations."

    How about Republican Presidential candidate Bachman's attempt in a recent speech at the word "chutzpah." It came out "choot-spa."

  9. Good for you, Darcy! Keep reading and keep on writing!


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