Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Word Mispronunciations!

I've always done it. Right from when I was young. I still do it now. Mispronounce words. You know as soon as the word has left your mouth, and people look at you with that strange look on their face, that you committed that terrible sin of not saying a word properly.

You get mixed reactions. It could be....

The rolled eyes. Those are the worse. It's confirmation that not only do people think you might be stupid, they now know you are.

Or you get the blank stare. The 'Is this for real' look' Same explanation as above.

Then you might get derisive laughter. These are the people who not only know you're stupid, but now want everyone else around you to know as well.

I read a lot. I always have. Just to give an indication of how much I read - I have read 14 books in the last 14 days. I don't usually read that much, but I'm on a roll at the moment. What this means is I learn a lot of words, and their context, but I might not have actually 'heard' them before. Then I might decide to use the word, often with disastrous results. I should really learn to use the KISS approach!

Anyway - not all mispronunciations are embarrassing. Particularly when you're with good friends. I was telling my friend how I've just read this amazing book. It was called Escape, by Carolyn Jessop. It was about a splinter mormon group who practised Polly Gammy (polygamy) and how she escaped from the cult wtih her six children. As soon as I said pollygammy, I knew I had committed that dreadful sin of mispronunciation.

Fortunately my friend laughed then explained how to say it. Then she said gammy was a leg with a limp. I then explained that's right the book was about people with multiple legs, all with limps! Our imagination went wild and we had a big laugh about it.

I wish all people would treat mispronunciations this way. It's much more fun and can be downright hilarious.

Oh yes - the book is a great read - I fully recommend it!


Morgan said...

Ha ha. Well at least you are not as bad as me. I read mega heaps also and pick up new words and then use them. Except instead of getting the pronunciation wrong I get the meaning wrong and get the same reaction you do! Then I go home and look the word up in the dictionary (which I probably should have done the first time rather than assume I got the meaning right) and realise I've got it completely wrong and what I actually said is really embarrassing.

melissa said...

I, like yourself hate it when I mispronouce words!! It embarasses me then I spend the rest of the time sayin it over and over in my head tryin 2 get it right

Hazel Bunny said...

I have the same problem. I've also pronounced polygamy as polly gammy. I've also pronounced antique as Ant I Q. But the worse thing is when you're in class, and everyone has to do a presentation, and one person mispronounces "labrynth" and everyone else starts to mispronounce it too. I chuckled on the inside with that domino effect. It just shows you that everyone is rather unsure on how to pronounce things.

Sam said...

so....how am I supposed to pronounce pollygammy!? I always thought that it WAS pronounced that way!! Fortunately I have never had the "opportunity" to use it!!

I don't do too badly now that I know most of the words I want to say ;-) but every now and then I trip up!! Mostly in front of my family who teases the heck out of me!! Fortunately I also have a french sister in law who sometimes gets words wrong - a comrade in arms!!! We laugh with each other!

kim said...

All of your words sound mispronounced to my American ears, which might be a good thing, because I just figure that's how New Zealanders say it. :-)

Anonymous said...

@sam - Polygamy is pronounced Po Lig gam me

@kim - And here I thought you were mispronouncing all the words, not me :)

Grant said...

Same here and I hate it! Doubly hard if you happen to be in a professional setting at the time (I'm a scientist).