Cynthia Kuhn

Fun with Mispronunciation

Here’s a little bit of whimsy for your Wednesday. These look like perfectly helpful pronunciation guides, don’t they? But they’re something altogether different. Beyond noting that it’s parody, I can’t even describe what’s happening. You just have to listen for yourself.

And here’s one especially for Sherlock fans:

I stumbled across this series online one day because I was trying to prove to someone that “synecdoche” pretty much rhymes with “Schenectady.”

This didn’t help make the point since it’s not even close to the correct pronunciation here, but we were giggling too hard, after sampling a few of these, to care about that argument anymore.

Today’s question: what words cause the most pronunciation uncertainty?

Confession: I try not to say “mischievous” aloud…because I have always thought it was MIS-chiv-ous but keep hearing it pronounced as mis-CHEEV-ious.

And “moustache”: is it MUSS-tash or MOO-stash?

Please chime in…

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18 thoughts on “Fun with Mispronunciation

  1. I think some of these things, like mischievous (in Canada we say CHEE-vios and MUSS-tache) are regional differences. I came across this when having my book, THE HANGED MAN’S NOOSE, narrated for audiobook. One of the characters is named Graham. In Canada, that is Gray-ham. But the narrator pronounced it Gramm. I did a survey at Sisters in Crime Guppies and the verdict was split. In the north, for the most part, it was Gray-ham. In California and Michigan, though, it was Gramm. In the end, we went with Gray-ham, since the book was set in Canada.
    When I was a kid of immigrant parents learning English, I remember pronouncing cauliflower COE-LEE-flower instead of CAUL-E-flower and all the other kids teased me relentlessly. And for years, going to church (as a kid), and saying the Lord’s prayer I would say “Halloween be thy name” because I’d never heard of hallowed. Funny how much this post made me think of stuff.
    As for these pronunciations, they made me laugh, because when I have my book read out loud by my computer, there are lots of crazy examples like that. Thanks for a morning smile.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Judy, I’m so sorry you were teased but how often were you saying cauliflower on the schoolyard for that to make the butt of jokes?! BTW, great point about regionalisms. I made a couple of thousand dollars in the early nineties when a casting director brought me in to loop a line of dialogue for a Canadian actress in a TWENTY ONE JUMP STREET episode. It was these three words: “He was out.” I don’t have to tell how how the Canadian actress was pronouncing “out!”

      Liked by 1 person

    • Judy, about regionalisms… my Southern accent colors my pronunciation of many words. Some of which elicit gentle teasing here in nearly-Canada! BTW, folks in the U.P. tend to pronounce “out” like a Canadian. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. For me, it’s homage. And once again I’m kicking myself for not randomly starting a YouTube channel with some random subject matter years ago. My 3 year old niece and nephew will literally watch someone open toys on YouTube, especially those little eggs things with 5 cent toys inside.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I have problems mispronouncing many words. About as many as I can’t spell right. You’d think with all the reading and watching I do, I should have these issues.

    Liked by 2 people

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