Sunday, September 21, 2008

43. More Mispronunciation Madness - Part III

Hello, again! I hope you're all well, happy, and eager for another grammar lesson.

Do you cringe when you hear certain words mispronounced? Has anyone ever corrected your own pronunciation of a word? While it's certainly true that some words are pronounced one way in one part of our country and another way in another part of our country, many of these regional speech differences are perfectly okay. Some, however, are just downright wrong and that's what we will be focusing on today.

So... let me start with one that makes me nearly have a duck fit, and this one is heard right here in Columbus County...CAROLINA.

I heard one of my college professors say once that the word CAROLINA is among the most beautiful sounds in the English language, and you can believe that I agree with him. Unfortunately, though, some of our natives pronounce it like this:

"I'm from North or South KA-LIN-A."

Woe am I!!! Agony! When such a beautiful word is pronounced this way, we're not showing the proper homage to our home state! CAROLINA has four syllables (sounds) and we need to pronounce every one of them:


You will do this from now on, won't you? Thank you very much.

Another frequently mispronounced word is TERMITE.

These dreaded little visitors to our homes are sometimes called...

"TEAR (rhymes with bear) mites"

Just remember that the "tear" part of the word rhymes with "sir" and you'll be in good company.

Here's another one that drives me a little crazy...however, this pronunciation is certainly not limited to North Carolina. Actually, we probably pronounce it correctly more than lot of other people, especially non-Southerners, but since we constantly hear it on TV and tend to gradually pick up speech we hear there, I had to mention this one...HALLOWEEN.

Have you noticed lots of folks on TV pronounce HALLOWEEN as HOLLOWEEN?
As a long-time lover of the fun of Halloween, I have to pounce on this one like a rabbit in a lettuce patch! All we have to do is just notice that there's an A following the H, not an O!! Come on, y'all. This one should be super simple to correct.

Now for our final pronunciation problem for today...AMERICA.

Most of you very likely do not have trouble with this word, but, again, since it is heard so many times incorrectly on TV, I'm going to ask that you be extra careful about not pronouncing it as...AMURICA. No doubt, we need to get this one right!
There's not U in AMERICA-- just an E following the M. How easy is that?

Well, time's flying and we'd better finish up. I hope you've learned something today and that you'll pronounce these words correctly! Please feel free to send me any other incorrect pronunciations you've heard (as well as other ideas for lessons) and I'll be glad to focus on them. Have a great week and carpe diem. Peace and happiness to all! GG


Jeff said...

I really do enjoy reading your blog. I may not always comment, but that doesn't mean I do not appreciate the work you put in every week. I heard this poem on NPR today and thought you would enjoy it.


Windows is Shutting Down

by Clive James

Windows is shutting down, and grammar are
On their last leg. So what am we to do?
A letter of complaint go just so far,
Proving the only one in step are you.

Better, perhaps, to simply let it goes.
A sentence have to be screwed pretty bad
Before they gets to where you doesnt knows
The meaning what it must be meant to had.

The meteor have hit. Extinction spread,
But evolution do not stop for that.
A mutant languages rise from the dead
And all them rules is suddenly old hat.

Too bad for we, us what has had so long
The best seat from the only game in town.
But there it am, and whom can say its wrong?
Those are the break. Windows is shutting down.

"Windows Is Shutting Down" by Clive James from Opal Sunset: Selected poems, 1958–2008. © W.W. Norton & Company, 2008.

Grammar Guide said...

Hey, Jeff. Thanks so much for writing and for the hilarious poem! I love it!! Mercy me...We are up against an elephant, I think, but it's good to know there are those who care. Peace and happiness to you. GG