What’s your pet mispronunciation?
I once had a school teacher who said hippo–crissy for hypocrisy, and polly-gammy for polygamy. I thought it was pretty funny.
While hippo-crissy and polly-gammy are fairly extreme examples, most of us are less-than-perfect when it comes to speech. We swap letters, we slur, we substitute.
I was recently looking through this post on The Most Often Mispronounced Words in English, and here are the ones I see frequently:
- supposably for supposedly
- sam-wich or sangwich for sandwich
- irregardless for regardless
- flustrated or fustrated for frustrated
- flounder for founder
- anyways/towards/forwards for anyway/toward/forward
- aksed for asked
- ex cetera for et cetera
- sherbert for sherbet
- ex-pecially for especially
- mis-chee-vious for mischievous
- ex-cape for escape
- ar-tic for arctic
- nu-cu-lar for nuclear
- obeast for obese.
Some of these examples are misuses of words, rather than mispronunciations, as in irregardless for regardless and flounder for founder.
Now, don’t go thinking I’m on my high horse. A degree in English is not a free ticket to perfect speech. There are plenty of words I misuse and mispronounce, and I’m ashamed to say my biggest offenders are:
- cloze for clothes
- Feb-u-ary for February
- min-a-ture for miniature
- san-wich for sandwich
- comf-ter-bul for comfortable
While I spell these words correctly and know how to pronounce them properly, my problem mostly stems from slurring words.
I’m generally told I speak very well, but I can’t help but be self-conscious about these peccadilloes.
For the most part, our pet mispronunciations have been perpetuated since childhood. Eventually, one of three things will happen:
(1) Someone will point out our mistakes and we’ll correct them, or (2) someone will point out our mistakes and we won’t bother to correct them, or (3) no one will point out our mistakes and we’ll continue to make them.
Which words do you misuse or mispronounce? Do they bother you, or are you able to shrug them off?
Are there words you once used incorrectly, but you’ve now reformed your ways?
Which mispronunciations are your biggest pet peeves?