Words You’ve Never Heard Pronounced

For some period of time, I thought they were two different words.

It took me a long time, as a child, to realize that the word I read spelled “colonel” and the word I heard pronounced “kernel” was the same word.

Ditto. (Though I’d say ‘mostly’, not quite ‘only’.)

Nothing wrong with this pronunciation, at least according to the dictionaries I’ve checked.

I occasionally purchase Gevalia coffee. I don’t know if it is pronounced:

Gev - a - LEE - a or Ge -VAL - e - a

I grew up watching the Beverly Hillbillies, so I know vittles meant food - duh. But I was in college when I learned it was the pronunciation of victuals after embarrassing myself in a creative writing class.

On the other hand, having spent most of the last 40 years around or owning boats, I know how to pronounce gunwale, boatswain, coxswain, bowline, and others I can’t think of at the moment.

That’s not how it’s usually said?

When someone has reached a ripe old age they are said to be “long-lived”. Apparently it’s supposed to be pronounced “long lyved”, rather than my “long livved”.

Huh? I’ve only ever heard it as “livved.” Are you saying that it should be pronounced with an “eye” sound? (ETA: Merriam-Webster gives the “livved” pronunciation first, but does mention the long-i pronunciation, too. I have never in my life heard anyone say it that way.)

That was my understanding.

Err, what’s wrong with this one?

Yeah, I just checked a sample of actual speakers. Forvo only has 4 samples audio recording, but all are pronounced with the “short -i” as “livd”:

I wonder where the LYE pronunciation is prominent. Like I said, I am completely unfamiliar with it, but the dictionaries do note it, and some put it first. But you’re not in bad company if you pronounced it “livd.”

Among people who are absolutely sure it’s the ONLY right pronunciation!

The only thing I could find is that maybe the first syllable could be “day” /deɪ/ instead of “deh”? Although I do say it typically as “deh-BAH-kul” (or something to that effect. /dɛˈbɑːkəl/ or /dəˈbɑːkəl/ or possibly /dɪˈbɑːkəl/). But that stress pattern is right, and the pronunciation as written is how I normally come across it.

We have a word like that, after my naïve (pronounced “nave”) little sister read a letter I’d written home to the family from college. She said “And I went to a really cool tuk-WILL’-ah party…”

Ever since then, we always pronounce tequila like the city near Seattle

The grammar and usage threads often devolve into descriptivist/prescriptivist skirmishes, with the weight of the thread generally landing on the descriptivist side. Why not the same for pronunciation? People say things how they say them, and that’s the language. Mostly.

I used to cringe whenever I heard “be-HEM-oth,” because I think it’s BEE-a-muth, but really, who’s to say?

The one I’d really like the final determination on is IMPRIMATUR.

I’ve heard it pronounced as im-PREE-mature. I’ve also heard it pronounced as im-prih-MAWT-uhr.

No idea which is correct.

My problem of not having seen words in print, but only hearing them reached a pinnacle when I’d been listening to a lot of audiobooks read by Brits…

… and was confused by a character called The LEFF’tennant.

After I’d run across a few (there are Jane Austen and P.G.Wodehouse characters like that: Lefftennant Generals, Lefftennant Commanders, a Captain-Lefftennant…) that I quickly figured out it was an older British pronunciation of Loo-TEN’-nent.

Still haven’t figured out where that f sound came from, though.

Older? Have the Brits started saying loot-enint?

This is generally my philosophy with most words.
eg patio rhymes with ratio, gazebo = gaze-bo

A couple more:

My sister teased me for years because once, in my youth, I pronounced the NYC neighborhood GreenWhich Village.

And, it was embarrassingly late in my life that I realized that “infrared” is pronounced infra-red, and not infrared (rhyming with “scared”). And I still often read it that way.