Mistaken pronouncement of words, funny or irritating?When you are in the business of writing for a living, hearing words or phrases that are mispronounced can be irritating. At other times, it’s humorous.
By: Judy Spooner, South Washington County Bulletin
When you are in the business of writing for a living, hearing words or phrases that are mispronounced can be irritating. At other times, it’s humorous.
I once thought it my duty to correct people. For example when someone says: “That’s a mute point,” instead of using the word “moot,” he or she did not mean that the word was silent, they wanted to convey that whatever point was being made was pointless.
But corrections are not always welcome. Some people don’t believe you.
On the other hand, if you have friends who chronically mispronounce words, you reach a point where you can’t correct them because you didn’t do so at any time in the past.
One of my grandfathers said “hoar-ah-zan” when he meant “horizon.” He lived to be 95 and, to my knowledge, no one in the family ever corrected him.
Daughter Margie, in her youth thought the name of the children’s book was “Allison Wonderland” until she saw it written as “Alice in Wonderland,” a Disney movie.
Some of my favorite gaffes can be found as 100 Most Often Mispronounced Words and Phrases in English at www.yourdictionary.com.
There are many mistakes when people try to pronounce Alzheimer’s disease and they don’t result from memory problems. It is not “Old-timers Disease,” although the age might be relevant. Friend Ruth’s mother pronounced it “Hem-i-heimer’s.”
“For all intensive purposes” is actually “for all intents and purposes.”
The Heimlich Maneuver has so many mispronunciations that the site included only one: “Heineken remover,” from the beer of the same name.
“Herb” is pronounced just as the man’s name, not “‘erb,” which might sound more classy but is incorrect. I’ve always wondered about that one.
As a photographer, I’m really annoyed if someone says “fillum” instead of “film.”
I don’t know if it’s in any dictionary but “irregardless” is not a word, according to me. “Regardless” is the correct form. Adding more letters does not make you sound intellectual.
Though it doesn’t come up often, the name of the racist organization is not “Klu Klux Klan” but is “Ku Klux Klan,” which doesn’t have an ‘l’ and make you sound clueless if you mispronounce it.
It’s incorrect to say “perculate.” Try “percolate” instead. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard it mispronounced in public meetings where water problems are being discussed.
Names of body parts are frequently fractured. Prostate is a male gland. “Prostrate” is to lie flat.
It might be going out of common usage because, as Ruth says, “language changes.” But I am hanging on to “sherbet” and refuse to accept “sherbert” as a description of a yummy dessert.
I know you have heard someone say, “take for granite” when they should have said “take for granted.”
The word “often” has a silent ‘t.’
If someone is sweating, he or she is not “prespiring” but “perspiring.”
You now have enough word facts to ruin a conversation with anyone you would rather not talk to.
Judy Spooner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.