10 Badly mispronounced English words (in India) – A rant and a guide

Dad being a Professor of English, we’ve always loved this language. I do have vivid memories of him giving lengthy lectures on the intricacies of the language. Right from how words are spelled to how differently they are spoken or referred to in the US as against the UK as against Australia to also their Hindi equivalents – he had such a passion for the English Language.

Coming therefore with this background, any wrong pronunciations tend to blow me off. Let me clarify – it is in fact, not the person’s ignorance, I mean since English is only a second language to almost all of us – mistakes are excusable. It is actually the “attitude” mostly that annoys me – the ‘pride’ with which people correct me for pronouncing them rightly!

Mispronounced English words India

Pardon me?

Here we go therefore – A list of some of the most rampantly mispronounced common English words – with also how you might hear people talking about them. 

1. Adobe
This one has to top the list of the most ‘verbally abused’ words. The ‘e’ at the end is NOT silent. It is therefore pronounced as uh-doh-bee. Let us pledge never ever to say again “adob Photoshop”or “adob Reader” or adob anything! Listen to pronunciation of adobe on Merriam Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/adobe

2. Vineyard
While it is “wine” and “yard”, when they come together as one word, it is pronounced as win-yerd. You may be a big connoisseur, but you lose my respect if you again mention about “a visit to the wine-yard”. Listen to pronunciation of vineyard on Merriam Webster:
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vineyard?show=0&t=1411023189

3. Résumé
While it may look like it is “resume” it is actually pronounced as reh-zu-may. Do not ever ask a candidate for his re-zume. (Yes I have been asked for my re-zume!) It is disastrous. Listen to pronunciation of résumé on Merriam Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/r%C3%A9sum%C3%A9?show=0&t=1411041553

 4. Pronunciation
While we are at it, it is pruh-nun-ciation and not PRO-NOUN-ciation. I think it is excusable but Papaji had a fetish about anyone mispronouncing this word. Listen to pronunciation of pronunciation on Merriam Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pronunciation

5. Extempore
Okay, this is my favorite one. It is actually ekstem-pere and not ekstem-pore as apparently a lot of us were taught at school! Listen to pronunciation of extempore on Merriam Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extempore

6. Niche
It is nich. Rhymes with rich. It is NOT nich-ee. It is funny often how the people who say “Adob” are the ones who will also say “nichee”. Listen to pronunciation of niche on Merriam Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/niche

7. Of
Easy as it may look, it is not off but aw-v. Of therefore, doesn’t end with an “f” but a “v” sound. So much for English being a tricky language. Listen to pronunciation of “of” on Merriam Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/of#

8. Says
One of my favorites again! An ‘s’ at the end of say makes it sez. Therefore, he sez not say-es. SAYS does not rhyme with DAYS. Listen to pronunciation of says on Merriam Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/says

9. Determine
 The “mine” at the end is actually pronounced as “min”. You don’t deter-mine. You deter-min.  Listen to pronunciation of determine on Merriam Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/determine

10. Receipt
 Last but certainly not the least, the ‘p’ in receipt is silent. Yes! I’ve heard people actually pronounce it as re-cept. It is re-ceet. Listen to pronunciation of receipt on Merriam Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/receipt

Which other words that are mispronounced will you add to the list? Are you one of those who mentally keep correcting people’s pronounciation? Well, I’m certainly one of them! Let me know in the comments below 🙂 

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5 thoughts on “10 Badly mispronounced English words (in India) – A rant and a guide

  1. Ankit Mishra says:

    :PI got all nicely pronounced at first look .. answers pleased me too.. 😀
    Nice Post.. Something to learn. 🙂

  2. drsidr says:

    It was something never taught at school.. true that.. nice one deepa

  3. AP says:

    you left out ‘January’ (Jan-Varry).. and in general, we in India seem to interchage our V and W sounds for everything!

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