Mispronounced Words

Did you (or do you) mispronounce words habitually?

When I was a kid I mispronounced unknown as “UNK-nown”.

I lived in Germany when I was a kid and had never seen a miniseries. Whenever I saw the word in a magazine or book I pronounced it “miNIzeries” - as one word, not “mini” then “series”. I had no idea what a miniseries was.

My husband, to this day, pronounces adamant “Adam Ant”.

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, dogs are from Pluto. - Anonymous

I can’t stop myself from pronouncing “especially” as “expecially.” My wife thinks it’s quite hilarious.

Well it’s not my mispronounciation but my wife always pronounces Ornery (OR-ner-ee) as (ON-er-ee) ugh…

You know what Atlas did, with the weight of the world pressing down on his shoulders, his blood running over his chest for his efforts and the world continuing to bear down without concern for his efforts? He shrugged.

Everyone pronounces ‘often’ with a silent T. Pronounce the T, people!

Well, somebody has to say it. It might as well be me.

Here goes.

Americans pronounce almost everything wrong :slight_smile:

And don’t get me starting on spelling, you humourless colourless Yankees :wink:

(Sorry. I’m in a weird mood today. Must be because I’m finally gonna see SW: Episode I tonight and I’m kinda looking forward to it, in a very exited manner…)


“You know how complex women are”

  • Neil Peart, Rush (1993)


Yeah, I knew a couple of people who got their hopes up too high, then when they saw it they wanted to walk out, too.


Touché :wink: And a good joke, too.

NOTE TO SELF: Triple-check spelling before posting a rant about American misspellings…


“You know how complex women are”

  • Neil Peart, Rush (1993)

Pronouncing “often” as off-en is correct and actually preferred. off-ten is also correct, at least in some dictionaries. I recall looking it up once, and off-en was the only pronounciation listed.

How about that?

There is a “Huger” street in my city (Columbia, SC). If you didn’t know how to pronounce it as the natives (which I’m not) do, you’d never get it “right.” It’s originally an old French name, so it should be pronounced “u-zhay,” or something like that. Well, it had been anglicized to some extent, and the family after whom it was named pronounces it “yoo-jee.” That’s also how the natives pronounce it. Being an outlander, I (and all the others) pronounce it as “Hyoo-ger.”

Not that I get a chance to use it often, but I like “in-ka-RIG-a-ble” for “incorrigible.”

More than mispronounciations, though, I use malaprops extensively.

Sauna. Everyone in the US pronounces it saa-naa. Anyone who’s lived around a Finnish community knows the correct pronounciation is “sowna” but I get corrected every single time I say it. Most dictionaries list both pronounciations, but in my home town you’ll get laughed out of town if you ask where the saanaa is.

when ever i was younger, everytime i came across the word tarantula, i alwas pronounce it taren-two-la. then i would catch my self. it’s just not a word you see spelled out too awf-ten.

and also…have you ever had to write a word you use commonly, and realize that you’ve never ever had to write it before.

Hey, Coldfire, Americans aren’t speaking English English, they’re speaking American English, it’s a different language.

You all realize that the world is totally overlooking a major energy source: periwinkles? Yep, them little mollusks Nucula littorina) are just brimfull of nucular energy. :wink:

With me, it’s ambulance. My whole life, I’ve always said am-bli-ance.

With my mate, it’s closet. I say clah-zit, he says claw-zit.

Oh, I remember: “epitome.”

Being an avid reader, I encountered the word a number of times as a child, but I considered it “epi-tome,” two syllables.

And growing up in a family of factory workers in Chicken Bone, Dixie, USA–it wasn’t a word that the folks I was exposed to used a lot.

I learned the correct pronounciation from TV. I remember it well–I was spending the night with an aunt, and we were watching the Oscars. One of the presenters used it (seems like it might have been Cary Grant).

The Oscars was also where I learned that “whom” is the proper word to use in objective case (Michael Caine used it in a presentation). Up to that point, I knew that it was a word, but didn’t know its proper use. That gave me a clue. (That’s a word that was never, ever heard spoken by any member of my family.

As self-designated snotty intellectual interloper, I’d like to take this opportunity to point something out to all you furriners.

When a word is assimilated into the English language, it takes on an English (American/ Australian) pronunciation, because it is no longer considered a foreigner word.

The ‘proper’ pronunciation of “steambath” in American English is “saw-na.” That’s what you say when you’re speaking English.

The ‘proper’ pronunciation of ‘angst’ in Am. English involves a long ‘a’ sound, the same one we use to pronounce the letter.

It’s rally merely a question of which language one is speaking. Many of us prefer to speak only one language at a time.

“There is nothing you ought to do, for the simple reason that you know nothing, nothing whatever- make a mental note of that, if you please.”
-V. Nabokov

the name of the letter, I meant.

Everything else, I’m sure you can figure out on your own.

My wife has a couple. She’s a Minnesota native, though, so I have to cut her some slack for bizarre pronunciation (like boat = BOW-ote, two syllables, dontcha know?):

Endeavor = EN-da-vow-er
Columbine = Ca-LUM-bine
Preferably = pree-FER-a-blee


As far as I know, I don’t mispronounce anything now, but as a kid, I read excessively and learned how to use words those around me never used in ordinary conversation. As such, having never heard the words spoken, my pronunciation was not nearly as good as my vocabulary. I’ve fixed most of my errors, but to this day I still have to make an active effort to pronounce the following two words correctly:

Foliage = FOIL-age (You know, like tin foil. I somehow transposed the l and the i when I learned it).
Partisan = par-TEE-zhan (rhymes with ‘artesian’ as in a well. This is especially embarrassing since I’m in politics).

~ Complacency is far more dangerous than outrage ~

I insist on pronouncing vigilant as viligant. Sounds better that way.Rhymes with diligent,too.

I always mispronounce Canthearya.

“The departure of the church-going element had induced a more humanitarian atmosphere.”
Dorothy L. Sayers
Clouds of Witness