100 most mispronounced words

Discussion in 'English Only' started by JLanguage, Oct 2, 2005.

  1. JLanguage Senior Member

    Georgia, US
    USA: American English, Learning Hebrew and Spanish
  2. ggca Senior Member

    México - Español, Inglés
    Pretty interesting, some words I think I write them wrong, because they are confusing!
  3. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Some suggestions I don't agree with:

    -"clothes" is pronounced like "close." Otherwise you're trying too hard.
    -"duct tape" inevitably comes out "duck tape"!
    -Please, do NOT pronounce the first "r" in "February"! Again, it would sound like you're trying too hard.
    -I always pronounce the "e" in "forte"; I've never heard it otherwise.
    -The "h" in "herb" is not pronounced in American English. In fact, I was just reading an academic book today and "herbicide" was preceded by "an" and not "a."
    -I don't think the "i" in "long-lived" should be long. That would sound excessively strange.
    -The "i" in "parliament" is not pronounced. I may be able to stomach "miniAture" but not that.
    -The "take for granted" suggestion is just downright pedantic. We all know that in American English, a root word ending in "nt" followed by a suffix beginning with a vowel allows elision of the "t." Consider "painted," "wanted," and others. "Granted" is no exception.
    -"I have a ways to go" has nothing to do with mispronunciation. It's colloquial usage.
    -The first part of "zoology" is pronounced like "zoo." Again, excessive pedantry.

    I agree with the other ones, for the most part. :)
  4. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Let me take slight exception to a few of these:

    Most of these are differences, not so much as "corrections."
  5. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    English (England)
    Yes - my opinions below, not correcting as such just my opinion -

    I disagree with many more than Elroy but these are almost exclusively down to accent. For example "bob wire" sounds utterly bizarre to me because my pronunciation of "bob" and "barb" are very different.
  6. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    The following comments reflect pronunciation in one small part of the UK.

    Arctic and Antarctic - do people pronounce the first c?:eek:

    Clothes gets the full value here, but not everywhere in the UK.

    Doggy dog world is a mondegreen, not really a mispronunciation. For more fascinating insights into our ability to fail to comprehend the spoken word, CLICK HERE.

    The duct tape v duck tape dilemma has been resolved by the smart guy who started marketing Duck Tape duct tape:) Now it isn't a matter of pronunciation but of capitilisation (how to capitalise on a confused pronunciation).

    Excetera drives me nuts - as does ect instead of etc. Pleugghh.

    Febyouree has a similar effect. Those who care, here, have a go at something between Febyouaree and February. It would not be considered pedantic to pronounce the full set of letters. Wimps will talk about the 12th of Feb.

    Fillum is a very well-established joke pronunciation here. Those of us with pretentions to better things believe that we pronounce film correctly.

    Granted - always gets its t pronounced, clearly - as do painted and the rest of them.

    The herb/erb phenomenon came as a complete shock to me when I first heard it in a Boston restaurant. I thought the guy was an idiot until my US contacts repeated it. This is a simple AE/BE pronunciation difference.

    Isn't gets pronounced as written here. I am surprised at the suggestion that idn't, bidness, and wadn't are coming hurtling down the track:eek:

    Laura Norder is another mondegreen.

    Library, like February, gets full value here.

    Lived in short-lived and long-lived has a short i. I wouldn't think of using many-lived or triple-lived so I have no idea how I might pronounce them.

    Masonry - gets no spare vowel.

    Often always gets the t.

    Orient/orientate is not a matter of mispronunciation.

    Sneaked/snuck - and of course snook, my personal version that hasn't yet worked its way into the grammatical/pronunciation errors lists.

    Spit and image is a lost cause here. The TV programme, Spitting Image, has seen to that.

    Yoke/yolk will always sound the same.
  7. JJchang Senior Member

    NZ - English, Chinese
    Are there really a lot of people say nucular? or did they just put it in the list for Dubya's sake?
  8. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    I say "offen." Not often but always.

    You know the catfood brand "Nine Lives?" Cats are nine-lived creatures, right? Now how do you pronounced long-lived? It's formed from the noun, just like that toffee-nosed pedant site says it is, with their talk of the haitch-less herb being an "American oddity." Odd this, ya limey screwball.
  9. *Cowgirl*

    *Cowgirl* Senior Member

    USA English
    This is totally unrealistic. Do people actually pronounce words this way?:rolleyes:
  10. Markus

    Markus Senior Member

    Paris, France
    Canada - English
    I always think these things are so silly, of course pronunciation changes, I'm sure someone from 100 years ago would be happy to tell the author that he pronounces many words "incorrectly".
  11. Jad Senior Member

    UK, English
    I always thought "respite" was "rest-bite" !!
    It's funny how long you can pronounce a word wrong and then you find out what it should be... a guy from school always used to say and spell "feminin" as feminim

    The ask/aks one is a bit different over here in the UK (south)... "ask" is pronounced ahsk so "aks" doesn't sound like "axe" (or in American, "ax"), it sounds like ahks, and I've only ever heard it used by the Asian community :rolleyes:

    Also I'm confused about the "barbed wire" one... I don't know where the guy's from who typed this up, but it seems to me that he's done this one in a complicated way, saying "barbed wire" is pronounced "bob wire"... if he's talking about the way people from the UK say "barbed" then he's using American pronunciation to spell it as "bob", and if he's talking about how people from the US pronounce "barbed", it doesn't really sound like "bob" does it, since most of you have rhotic R's...?

    But what I find very hard to pronounce are some ordinal numbers :eek: in fact, sometimes I just try avoiding to say them : fifth, sixth, twelfth... it's the ffftthh and the ikksssttthhh which get in my way... why do some words have to be such a struggle??
  12. JLanguage Senior Member

    Georgia, US
    USA: American English, Learning Hebrew and Spanish
    I knew some of those ones I had never heard of before were suspect! The author of the article definitely needs to work on his fact checking, nevertheless I still found the article fairly interesting.
  13. Isotta

    Isotta Senior Member

    English, Hodgepodge
    Yes, the note on the thousand-year-old "mispronuniciation" of ask is a unfounded. See the etymology of ask.

    I also dislike the writer's derisive tone. One should not attempt to reckon with vulgarisms but rather should strive to explain them--for eventually they may well be in the dictionary in their own right.

  14. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    It's an alleged Southrenism, and not real common, but the sad fact is that outsiders sometimes get mocked by a reverse sort of self-mockery-- where a bunch of good old boys with a yankee in their midst will start hamming it up and using the exaggerated and nigh-fictitious forms we hear in pop music and imitation "Southern" mass-market fare like "Beverly Hillbillies" and "Dukes of Hazzard" and from characters like Gomer Pyle.

    In other words "bob wire" is a Gooberism, like Jethro Clampett's "see-ment pond." Or "bob warr," to put it more precisely. Yee friggn haw. It wouldn't surprise me if "Cockneys" hammed it up for tourists in much the same way.
  15. Kelly B

    Kelly B Senior Member

    USA English
    Yep. It's pretty common. -sigh-
  16. jess oh seven

    jess oh seven Senior Member

    UK/US, English
    those examples aren´t so bad. it´s when people say things like "liberry" that really ticks me off.
  17. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    US, English
    I disagree above the red line and agree below it.
  18. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    No, but German is systematically phonetic. :)

    I don't understand the relevance of those examples...
  19. Aud Duck Senior Member

    Illinois, USA
    English--United States
    Actually, I grew up in Texas, and I've heard quite a few people say "bob wire" in the natural flow of converstion. Oddly enough, though, I can't think of any other instances of southerners dropping the "r" in the same way. I think it's just one of those accent oddities. (For instance, a lot of people in my home town flip the "r" in "three." I've never heard that anywhere else.)
  20. VenusEnvy

    VenusEnvy Senior Member

    Maryland, USA
    English, United States
    Over there - Over they-ya ??
    I don't care - Ah die-on't cay-ya ??

    What do you mean by flip?...
  21. Aud Duck Senior Member

    Illinois, USA
    English--United States
    I must say I've never heard either of those for real.

    People pronounce the "r" in "three" the way they would pronounce a single "r" in Spanish. (If you know any Spanish, it's like the "r" in "pero" and "mira.")

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