Words commonly mispronounced

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by I Push Wood, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Tim is right. The word only has three syllables; there's no second I. Its MISS-chə-vəs or MISS-chə-vuss. I've never heard the accent on the phantom fourth syllable that Oli describes. Perhaps it is just a UK thing. It's nice to know that my people don't have a monopoly on stoopid pronunciations.

    I think they're reading it dyslexically as "mischevious" or, in the pronunciation Oli describes, "mischiveous."
     
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  3. PsychoticEpisode It is very dry in here today Valued Senior Member

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    I've never been sure of this one:

    Controversy: Is it Con-trow-ver-see or Con-traw-ver-see ?
     
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  5. Randwolf Ignorance killed the cat Valued Senior Member

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    What about "advertisement"?

    Should the accent be on the second syllable (vert) with a short i or on the third syllable (tize) with a long i? Are both acceptable, and this word simply another example of regional dialect? I believe the British tend towards the former (short "i), but am not sure. I often hear both variants, which would be the "preferred" pronunciation?
     
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  7. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    cannidate for candidate

    bate for beat, as in he bate me, rather than, he beat me.

    exetra for etcetera
     
  8. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Good one. I never remember how to pronounce it.
     
  9. Oli Heute der Enteteich... Registered Senior Member

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    Scalectrix for Scalextric?
     
  10. tim840 Registered Senior Member

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    i think the accent on the "vert" is a British thing, though im not sure. the only other way i've heard it, though, is with the accent on "ad," not on "tize" :shrug: AD-ver-tize-ment... is how I say it
     
  11. Oli Heute der Enteteich... Registered Senior Member

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    Adver tis muhnt
    The second "e" isn't "used" in British English (actually it wasn't but is rapidly becoming common).
    The "i" is pronounced as in thIck - short, not as "eye", and a soft "s".
    The third "e" is "uh" - schwa(?).

    Lately though, as I said above - adver TIZE ment.
     
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    It's strictly a matter of how precisely you're speaking. If you're standing in front of a PTA meeting shaking your fist and yelling, "Sex education is too con-trow-ver-shəl for little children," then you're going to drag that second syllable out, even though it's unaccented. But in casual speech you'll replace the unaccented long O with a schwa. Not an aw, but an ə.
    Well remember, in American English we flap our intervocalic T and D. An intermediate N doesn't interfere with the process, so that's how "goin' to" and "want to" became "gonna" and "wanna" on this side of the Atlantic. We flap that first D in candidate, which puts it on the path to elision.
    That's a new one for me.
    I have a suspicion that that metathesis is caused by literacy. We never spell out et cetera. (Which by the way is two words, not one, which you don't know because you've probably never seen it spelled out, which proves my point. It's Latin for "and the rest.") We always abbreviate it as etc. Since it usually falls at the end of a sentence, that period looks like normal punctuation, making etc look suspiciously like a word. But it can't be spelled ETC because that would be impossible to pronounce, so our brains helpfully resequence the letters into something sensible: ECT. This is all going on unconsciously, but the result is that people think ect is the abbreviation and therefore the phrase must be ect cetera. That T between the two C's is a tongue-twister so it becomes silent, and presto, the word eccetera was born.
    Not being a gamer I had to look that up. Three times, because Googling "Scalectrix" took me directly to the hits for "Scalextric." Apparently it's so common that Google adjusts for it.

    The reason of course is that we have lots of words--especially product names--in English that end in the truncated suffix -lectric, and many of them can be made plural -lectrics. There are almost none that end in -lextric. And for good reason: it's very difficult to pronounce. Your mouth just naturally resorts the letters so it rhymes with "electric."
    That's just one of a whole book full of words that have different standard pronunciations in British and American dialect. No big deal.

    Brits put the accent on the second syllable, so having a long I in the third syllable would be awkward. Since British English is spoken faster than American English, they reduce a lot more vowels to a schwa (IPA ə) than we do, and they even elide many of them completely. We both pronounce "laboratory" in four syllables instead of five, but they put the accent on the second syllable instead of the first, so they elide the second A instead of the first O. We say LAB-rə-taw-ry; they say lə-BAW-rə-tree.

    My favorite British pronuciation is "extraordinary." We actually pronounce all six syllables. They elide four of the vowels and one of the consonants, and create the unique consonant cluster DNR, in order to condense it into two: STRAWD-nry.
    Yes. Shwa is a Hebrew vowel, three dots running in a downward pointing diagonal. (The Hebrew "alphabet" is really an abjad, with only consonants, but they put diacritical marks under the letters for vowel sounds for students and in the liturgy.) So linguists borrowed the Hebrew word as the name for that sound. The IPA symbol is an upside-down lower-case E, ə. It's a lax, neutral vowel. In most languages it occurs in unaccented syllables, the result of an unstressed vowel collapsing. But there are exceptions such as Korean, in which all morphemes are monosyllables as in Chinese, and the schwa can be stressed. It's transliterated as EU when Romanizing Korean.

    Schwa is merely the German spelling but of course they pronounce the W as a V. So do the Israelis, actually; Modern Israeli Hebrew has lost the W sound.
    You're assimilating our pronunciation of some words. I'm really waiting for you guys to learn to say tequila right!
     
  13. Oli Heute der Enteteich... Registered Senior Member

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    AFAIK that pronunciation is more of an "upper class" thing - the typical monocled fop with a Purdey and hounds.
    I hear Extrordnee far more often, or maybe strordnee.

    I'm not even going there...
    A meal in a Mexican restaurant over here is little but "What do "fa djeeters" taste like?" and "Are those "Djala peenoes" really hot?"

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  14. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    I never mispronounce pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconosis.
     
  15. Anti-Flag Pun intended Registered Senior Member

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    I don't know, aks me another question.

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  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    But you can't spell it. You left out the penultimate I.

    Apparently this word was coined deliberately to set a record. Amazingly, its creator has been rewarded by its appearance in several dictionaries. I'm sure it happened because a few newspapers picked it up on a slow day. Sort of like Bakersfield Travelodge--whoops I meant Paris Hilton--becoming famous just because she's famous.

    The condition this word allegedly defines already has an extremely spellable and pronounceable name: silicosis. The inventor didn't even do his homework!

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  17. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    :roflmao:
    :roflmao:
    :roflmao:
     
  18. stereologist Escapee from Dr Moreau Registered Senior Member

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    There is a claim that someone said, "I live in Ohio."
    The other person responded, "In my part of the country they pronounce it Iowa."
     
  19. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    yep, that would be me.

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  20. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    I hate when people mispronounce Illinois (Illinoiz), suite (they think they bought a bedroom suit), chaise lounge (chase lounge)
     
  21. jnc1110 Registered Senior Member

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    My remedial biology professor used to pronounce electricity as "elect-riz-ity". I always wanted to call her out on it but I just figured, tomato, "tomoto", same difference. Just like "care-a-mel" and "carmel". Has anyone ever head someone pronouse electricity that way before?
     
  22. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I hate it when people misspell it AND mispronounce it. It's spelled chaise longue (although the wrong spelling is noted in the dictionary, just like "ain't"). It's French for "long chair" and is pronounced "shayz long." It has an interesting history that reveals the fact that even French is not immune to the forces of frivolous change. The word is actually chaire, from which we get our own word. In the 19th century Paris was the cultural center of Europe. Immigrants, students and tourists came from all over. The gargled northern French R is an unusual phoneme; their ancestors, the Franks, were a German tribe and that's the way R is pronounced in most of the Germanic languages except ours. (The southern French were Gauls, a Celtic tribe, and they tend to flap or roll their R like the other the Romance languages.) Foreigners have a terrible time mastering the French R so the Parisians became accustomed to hearing it mangled. At one point it became fashionable to imitate the pronunciation of the "sophisticated" foreigners, so Je vais a Paris pour une chaire became Je vais a Pazis pouze une chaize. The fad quickly passed, except for the chaire longue, which had become extremely popular among the tourists at their hotels. So that one phrase retains the mangled R, and is now spelled with an S.
    No, but S --> Z is a common evolution in English phonetics. Look at "scissors." Even a double S has softened into a Z.

    In general it's not worth the trouble to criticize the pronunciation of adult native speakers. They'll all tell you that's the way everybody says it "back home." Like apricot/aypricot and roof/rufe. Many people don't even hear the difference consciously.

    I've used this example several times: How many of you hear the difference between the T in stop and the T in top? Hang a piece of toilet paper in front of your mouth. There's a little puff of air (aspiration) after the T in top. In Chinese that's phonemic; in English it's not. A Chinese will hear the difference clearly.
     
  23. Arachnakid Linguist-In-Training Registered Senior Member

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    Oh gods, that pisses me off to no end.

    There are plenty of others, like "epitome" (pronounced "eh-PIT-uh-me" not "EH-pih-tohm"). I sometimes wonder if people in my class just can't read or something, the way they screw things up. So many people just don't care if they say it right or not.
     

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