Words you won't say because you're not sure how they're pronounced...

For me, there are two. The first is peony. It’s a flower. Until I just looked it up, I (in my head, of course) pronounced it as ‘pee-OH-nee’. Silly, I know. I don’t think, however, I’ve ever heard it said aloud, though! If I did, I wasn’t paying much attention. Of course, I wouldn’t know a peony if it tapped me on the shoulder, so it isn’t very often that I need to say it.

The other is banal. I fluctuate between saying ‘BAY-nal’ and ‘BEH-nal’. Almost every time I hear it spoken aloud, it’s pronounced differently.

So, what words to you avoid in conversation because you’re not quite sure how they’re pronounced?

I think you mean ‘beh-NAL’

Object d’art (?sp?) which I think is “Objay darr”

Objet d’art is another good one! I know what sound all the syllables make, but I’m not sure where the emphasis falls.

And yes, after saying to myself, I did mean ‘beh-NAL’. ‘BEH-nal’ just sounds silly!

Coupon = koo-pon or q-pon?

Syrup = surr-up or seer-up?

Nevada = Neh-vah-da or Neh-va-da (with an “a” as in “crack”)

Bearflag, hold the phone. I think you might have stumbled on a Great Debate.

My mother says Q-pon. I say Koo-pon. I refuse to admit that Q-pon is right. It just sounds weird in my head.

I’m afraid to mention Linux, as I’m not sure if it’s lih-nux or lie-nux. Thankfully I never use it, nor am I in the IT profession, so it’s pretty well a worthless conundrum.

It’s ‘COO-pon’. The same as in coupe or coup.

Linus is pronounced ‘LIH-nux’, with a short i.

Linux. First syllable stressed, rhymes with the first two words of “In it’s entirety…”

I fear “mischievous.” My junior high school English teacher (and subsequently all my fellow junior high school students) mispronounced mis-cheev’-ee-us. Even though I’ve double and triple checked dictionaries (mis-chiv-us), I still always get that little twinge that says I’m making a fool out of myself whenever I say it…

Macro: I want to say MAY-cro. Saying MAK-ro sounds like I have a bad Southern accent and I’m trying to pronounce “micro.”

Mine had a lot more to do with growing up in the Midwest than anything else. So much for Midwesterners not having accents!

Italian. I constantly find myself sounding like a hickand pronouncing it EYE-talian instead of EH-talian.

Y’all wanna go git sum EYE-talian food? :stuck_out_tongue:

I majored in Commications in college. One of my profs kept telling me that I was pronoucing Iraq incorrectly. I finally had to ask him how I was pronoucing it. He said I was saying “EYE-rack”. Still, I had no idea what I was doing wrong! I had to phonetically writing out in my scripts “EAR-rack” to prounce it correctly.

I am sure there are many words I pronounce incorrectly without realizing it, no doubt contributing to my current lack of financial and social status.

On word I refuse to pronounce the way I’m told it should be is Worcestershire. I happily put as many syllables as possible into it as I can, even going so far as to roll the “r” and making up extra sounds at the end.

War-chest-errrrr-shire-er sauce. It’s the greatest!

minutae, I always thought it was “Minn-you-tay”. What was strange was I knew verbally what “Min-ooosh-ah” was.

Isn’t that about the crux of it? Don’t we all have trouble with words we’ve only encountered in print but never heard anyone pronounce?


is it Giff or Jiff? :smiley:

::: D&R ::::

Niche. Is it neesh or nitch?

Harrass. HAIR-ass or her-ASS?

Claude, as in the Canadian male name. I had the worst time getting my mouth to cooperate on that one. It wasn’t “Cloud” and it wasn’t “Clod!” Gah! Finally I had to write on my notepad and refer to “Clohd” (with the long-O line) and stare at that every time I called him.

It gets even better the more extraneous syllables you add. My mom and I have gotten it up to something like, “Wer-chester-sher-sher-sher-sher-shire.” It’s fun!

Mine is fresnel.

And I can only wish more people would avoid saying the word mauve until they’ve learned how to pronounce it.

Amen, Knead! If I hear ‘mawv’ one more time…

I don’t have any problems like you guys, because proper pronunciation is my for-tay.

Um, my fort.

Or IS it for-tay?

Lately I’ve developed an interest in linguistics (mostly historical), ancient civilizations (particularly Near East), human evolution, and history of writing. I’ve only read books in these subjects, no lectures or anything like that. I recently realized that, were I to attempt a discussion of any of these subjects with anyone, I would come off sounding like a complete dumbass.

I have big problems with words I read but don’t often hear. This is partly because I’ve always read a lot (too much?), and partially because I was in a French Immersion program (US, not Canadian) from Grades 1 - 5.

I can never figure out if a phrase inherited from French is anglicized or left in the original – or some combination of the two, often.

hors d’oeuvre: My French instincts tell me to pronounce this as “OR duh vre” where the r is soft and everything is slurred together. New Englanders prononuce this as “or DERve” where the r is not soft and the second word is far too harsh. Mostly a difference of accent, I’m sure, but I’d still get funny looks if I pronounced this the way it should be. Usually, I just say “appetizer.”

Let’s not talk about Montpelier or Baton Rouge … oh state capital flash cards with the parents…

Um, I had more examples, but I forget… :smack:

Entrepreneur. Why does a word that starts out being pronounced ON start with an E? Then the rest of the word twists your tongue all up then yous cnt tok rihgt.