It’s time for AMAZE-ing Words Wednesday! Today’s word lesson will be taught by renowned language arts instructor, Miss Pronunciation. Miss Pronunciation will present the incorrect and correct ways of articulating some commonly mispronounced words in the English language. Without further ado, I hand our virtual classroom over to Miss Pronunciation.
Arthur is a lovable aardvark featured in children’s books by Marc Brown and the PBS series of the same name and/or Dudley’s Moore drunken character from the movie Arthur(1981) which co-starred Liza Minnelli and gave John Gielgud a Supporting Actor Oscar. An author writes books. Please do not confuse the two.
An axe is a tool wielded for cutting down trees or butchering family members (e.g., Lizzie Borden). To ask is to inquire, query, request information.
An ath-a-lete does not exist. Unfortunately, the additional syllable is often added by those simply unaware of the proper two-syllable version, athlete, or by such athletes who have been knocked in the head too many times.
I believe that Excetera, or Ekcetera, is Superhero Elektra’s younger sister whose ninja skills didn’t quite make the cut to get her own comic line. Et cetera, pronounced [et set-er-uh], is the Latin phrase meaning “and so on” and is used to indicate more items in a list without naming them specifically.
An ideal is a standard of perfection or excellence, while an idea is a notion or thought which pops into your mind like that lightbulb above the cartoon character’s head. What would be ideal is for people to pronounce idea without the added “l” since it is rather unnecessary and somewhat confusing.
Libary is the command given to your dog Barry when you wish him to play dead for the amusement of your neighbors. A library (note the “r”) is a public institution which collects and loans out books to residents who go the trouble of procuring a library card.
Mischievous is a word almost no one knows how to say. However, it does not have an ē sound anywhere in the word (no mischievEEous). Those who mispronounce it demonstrate a mischievousness all their own. Personally, Miss Pronunciation believes that the problem could easily be avoided by changing the spelling of this word altogether to mischuhvus.
A pitcher is what one uses to pour liquids into cups and glasses, as in “Bring me and my buddies another pitcher of beer!” If, however, you have too many pitchers, you and your friends will not be a pretty picture for long. Not only will your speech slur such that you can no longer get a “k” sound in before the “ch,” but nearby tables will ask you to leave or call the cab for you. (Drink responsibly. Or not at all.)
The Pacific is an ocean or the region of islands in that ocean. Specific is something identifiable and particular. You may wish to be more specific in using this word by making sure that you include the requisite “s.”
If the good-looking guy across the hall asks whether you get ESPN because he wants to watch the game at your place, do not answer “Supposably I do.” That will be the last “I do” you say to him if he possesses pronunciation skills. In fact, he will supposedly find another young lady in the apartment building whose couch is comfortable and whose speech is clear. “Oh well,” you say, “I didn’t want a sports-obsessed couch potato anyway!” Perhaps, but you might want to shift that “b” to a “d” just in case the guy you adore wants to know if the Caribbean cruise passes through Acapulco, to which you would say, “Supposedly” as you pack your carry-on to join him.
Miss Pronunciation thanks you for your attention and hopes that this lesson has been enlightening and entertaining.
What other words have you heard mispronounced? Do you struggle with certain word pronunciations yourself? (
Undoubtably Undoubtedly, it can be hard to break a habit!)