Jan 04 2013


I enjoy silly sketches that involve word play, such as this one from the old British program Not the Nine O’Clock News.


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  1. 1
    Argle Bargle

    More than once I’ve mispronounced a word which I’d read but never heard spoken.

  2. 2
    Jared A

    That’s why we must be thankful for Pronunciation manual.

  3. 3

    I’ve met people like this. They become defensive rather than admit ignorance, even if it makes them sound ridiculous (e.g. people who say “ee-light” instead of “ill-eat”). One called me an “ee-light-ist” for pointing it out.

    Regarding the “pronunciation manual” video, it reminds me of early speech synthesizers in the 1980s and 1990s. If a word had different pronunciations, the program only produced the most common sound (e.g. slough like “slew” , wind like “winned”), and most could not produce different syllable stresses (e.g. object, desert). If you wanted a word produced properly, you sometimes had to misspell it (e.g. “whined” for rotation, “dessert” for running away).

  4. 4
    Reginald Selkirk

    As well. I suspect it is common in people who read a lot. How many American children would still be thinking of Herm-ee-ohn Granger if the Harry Potter series hadn’t been turned into movies?

  5. 5
    Reginald Selkirk

    One recent example for me: Keynesian economics. I always thought that it sounded somewhat like Polynesian.
    Those wigs are hideous.

  6. 6
    Mano Singham

    Not just children. I too thought that was how Hermione was pronounced until I saw the films.

  7. 7
    Reginald Selkirk

    Non-parody pronunciation dictionary

  8. 8
    Mano Singham

    Thanks! That is very useful and I have bookmarked it.

  9. 9
    Argle Bargle

    There was a bar in a small town I used to live in called “The Elite.” Its name was pronounced ee-lite even by people who knew better.

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