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!
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.
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
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:
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
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
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
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
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#
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
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
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 🙂