October 16, 2007

Do you speak American?

If you've ever wondered whether you're pronouncing words correctly, here's the place to check: "The Big Book Of Beastly Mispronunciations: The Complete Opinionated Guide For The Careful Speaker," by Charles Harrington Elster.

Look here for a sneak preview of 100 words covered in the book

Nuclear (not NOO-kyuh-lur) . . . check!

Realtor (not REE-luh-tur) . . . check!

Balsamic . . . uh, what?

If "balsamic" (as in vinegar) is a shortened version of the Italian "aceto balsamico," and "balsamico" is pronounced "bawl - SAHM - i - ko," then why is "balsamic" suddenly pronounced "bawl - SAM (as in "ham") - ik" when it crosses the Atlantic?

Anyway, it's a fun list to go through, and I wouldn't get too bent out of shape about issues that might be more about geography and regional pronunciation than about proper English.

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4 comments. Please add yours! :

Anonymous said...

Aye reeley theenk the english langwidge is the hardest in the wurld to masster. Aye wood hayt to be a foriner and have to werk thru ower pronunciation foybulls. grate post.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Toeknee, yer fuhnee.

Anonymous said...

I have no room to criticize. I was 13 before I would allow anyone to convince me Arkansas was pronounced any way other than it was spelled.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

That's okay when you're 13. Not so much when you're all grown up!

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