Da (muckefuck) wrote in linguaphiles,
Da
muckefuck
linguaphiles

When your eyes are bigger than your mouth (and that's no hyperbowl!)

In a comment on the previous post, member dieastra said of learning a language through reading:
The only downside is that I sometimes pronounce words the wrong way, as I did make up some pronouncations in my head.
We've all done that, whether in our native language or one we learned later. Let's all take a moment to laugh at our younger more ignorant selves.
Tags: learning languages, pronunciation
Subscribe
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 102 comments
Previous
← Ctrl ← Alt
Next
Ctrl → Alt →

muckefuck

February 24 2014, 17:48:52 UTC 4 years ago Edited:  February 24 2014, 17:49:29 UTC

I'll start us off with one from way back: When I first read up about Egypt, I pronounced the name of the country with a hard g. (I don't recall having done this, but it's a story my parents love to tell. Apparently for a while there I had them absolutely baffled.)
I recall the day I realized, with shock, that the written form "hors d'oeuvres" and the oral form "ordurves" belonged together.
I had a similar moment where it dawned on me that the Illinois town of /ˈsoːʒeː/ I heard mentioned in traffic reports and the place called "Sauget" on our street map were one and the same.

thefish30

4 years ago

There is a town here in NJ called Metuchen. For most of my life I had no idea how to pronounce it. I was absolutely sure it was supposed to be "META-chin" but I wasn't sure how to make my mouth make those sounds, and I'd never heard anyone say that before. Then one day I realized that this town called "meh-TUCH-in" that I kept hearing about was the same place. To be fair to myself, it's a Native American word so I didn't really have any way of knowing. But still. It was embarrassing.
I know that town! There's a fairly significant publisher there called "Scarecrow Press", so I've been seeing the name for years but never knew how to say it aloud. (It doesn't help that there's a British publisher named "Methuen" and I've gotten the two names confused before.) Thanks for this!

spamsink

4 years ago

I used to pronounce "elite" as "ee-light" because, well, didn't know any better.

I still have difficulties with Neil Gaiman's last name, too.

(My mother never heard anyone pronounce "chasm" until she was in college, and so she pronounced it with a soft ch. She discovered it was a hard ch in her English professor's office hours. She still looked mortified when she told me this story over thirty years later.)
In the video game Skyrim, half the NPCs pronounce "archmage" with a soft "ch" and half with a hard "ch". Drives me nuts.

biascut

4 years ago

Pain helps me remember asking my sister, when I was around eight years old or so, why "epitomy" (ɪˈpɪt.ə.mi) and "epitome" (ˈɛp.ɪ.tōm) were both necessary since they had the same meaning. Thinking that I was teasing her in some way, she cuffed across the back of my head and said, "Pretending to be stupid isn't cute at your age."

I still want to mispronounce it in my thoughts sometimes, but then I remember the shock of being hit (pretty hard, too!), and my mind shies away.


She is not quite two years older than me.
Native English but "courtesy" tricked me by not being spelled more like curtesy, so it was years before I grew out of reading it as court + esy.
Non-native English speaker... I did the 'epitome' (ˈɛp.ɪ.tōm) one mentioned above in front of a senior colleague who, thankfully, promptly corrected me (both language teachers, so we were really professional about it. I hope). Another one was 'spinach' as 'spy-nack', this time a good friend corrected me (after laughing herself silly).

What baffles me all the time (when reading) is the pronounciation of the written '-ea-': 'jeans' vs 'jealous', 'means' vs 'meadow', etc. I have to remember this by individual case (is there even a rule for this?).

Also, the position of word stress in Latin/Ancient Greek loanwords.
As for jeans, I remember when I just started to read my first books at a young age and stumbled about this foreign word and asked my mother, what "je-ans" were. Read it in German, just like the letters are. My mother enlightened me then about it, this was the first time I encountered a word that was pronounced differently than spelled.
Growing up in the US, I thought "awry" was pronounced ['ari] instead of [ə'rai] until I was 14 or so.
I'm British - I thought "awry" was pronounced ['ɔ:rɪ] well into adulthood.

maju01

4 years ago

scfrankles

4 years ago

whswhs

February 24 2014, 19:32:10 UTC 4 years ago Edited:  February 24 2014, 19:34:52 UTC

The word "clitoris" was an eye word for me; it was many years after it became part of my vocabulary that I learned that the accent was on the first syllable, rather than the second. There's a subcategory of this phenomenon: words you don't know how to pronounce because the subjects aren't considered appropriate for conversation.

On a different track, for many years, I pronounced the word "forte"—as in "correct pronunciation isn't my forte"—as "fortay," as most people I encounter do. It was only a year or two ago that I happened to spot it in the dictionary and learned that it comes not from the Italian, but from the French, and "fortay" is a hypercorrection—the standard pronunciation is "fort."
I can't recall ever hearing anyone I know give forte a monosyllabic pronunciation. At this point, /ˈfɔrteː/ is so well established than anything else would sound affected. Plus it has the advantage of not being homophonous with any other English word.

whswhs

4 years ago

lilacsigil

4 years ago

come_to_think

4 years ago

whswhs

4 years ago

houseboatonstyx

4 years ago

fencer_x

4 years ago

demarafis

4 years ago

whswhs

4 years ago

muckefuck

4 years ago

dieastra

4 years ago

muckefuck

4 years ago

When I was younger, I thought the word "turquoise" was turk-voise. I have no idea where I got that from! And I wanted to pronounce "iron" and "women" the way they're spelled.
What do you mean by "the way they're spelled"? For "women", I assume that means */ˈwoːmɛn/, but I'm not sure how else someone would interpret "iron".

lignota

4 years ago

dorsetgirl

4 years ago

dieastra

4 years ago

Persephone (per-seh-fone) and Hermione (her-mi-own) were two of mine, though I am familiar with many of the pronunciations mentioned! Also au revoir was not spelt that way in my head until many years of French lessons later.

muckefuck

February 24 2014, 20:01:13 UTC 4 years ago Edited:  February 24 2014, 20:10:56 UTC

Growing up, I think we all thought voilà was spelled "wah-lah". In fact, I'll bet you can find that written somewhere in our juvenilia.

[Proofreading this made me realise that all this time I've been pronouncing juvenilia as if it were spelled juvenalia, i.e. with stressed /eː/ rather than with /ɪ/.]

squishykat

4 years ago

dorsetgirl

4 years ago

squishykat

4 years ago

I may have said this before...but my embarrassing moment came when I was trying to show off my knowledge of the French idiom and I said;
"C'est pas la bite qui fait le moine" for "C'est pas l'habit qui fait le moine."
(not the dick that makes the monk/not the habit that makes the monk)
Awkward.
Still laughing.

tinimaus

4 years ago

I'm a native English speaker. I thought "albeit" was pronounced ['ælbeɪt] for an embarrassingly long time. As a child I understood it and could use it correctly but the fact it was made up of "all, be and it" just went over my head.
*is taking notes*
I confess, I just learnt something ;) LOL

Great post muckefuck!

I don't remember the exact word, but one time I said something so wrong that my friend (from Prague) could not understand me at all and I actually had to write it down before she got what I meant. Heh.

rirakkumiru

4 years ago

laudre

4 years ago

scfrankles

4 years ago

kleios_kiss

4 years ago

I thought prix (as in Grand Prix) was pronounced "pricks" ... yep, gave my family a good laugh with that one.
When I had just started to learn English I had a penpal in Gloucester. I had never heard the pronunciation of that town, so I imagined it to sound like Clou-chester, until my Enish teacher corrected me ;-)
Oh yes, those English cities and places are a nightmare! Leicester Square...
At least I sort of knew about this already back in Eastern Germany, as we used to have that Worcester Sauce and someone had told me how to pronounce it correctly.

iddewes

4 years ago

Previous
← Ctrl ← Alt
Next
Ctrl → Alt →