English Misshaps

This topic contains 18 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Gab 5 years, 10 months ago.

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  • January 25, 2012 at 10:58 pm #23198


    Since it’s not really overthinking the English language, but I’m sure I’m not the only Overthinker to misuse a word on a consistent basis… How about making fun of ourselves a little bit here? I mean, we can’t always take ourselves so bloody seriously, right?

    So, for example, the mistake I just realized was saying “dapple” instead of “dabble.”

    I also am terrible at putting the correct emPHAsis on the right sylLAble when encountering new words. Example: I was reading an artilce aloud in high school about a hip method of decorating one’s room that is supposed to harness and channel positive energy and the like. I noticed some sniggers and such as I was reading, but I soldiered through. At the end, the teacher said, “Lovely job, dear, but it’s fuhng shwey, not fang shoo-ee.” Whoops?

    January 25, 2012 at 11:15 pm #23200

    Matthew Wrather OTI Staff

    Doesn’t that depend whether you speak mandarin or Cantonese?

    January 25, 2012 at 11:16 pm #23201



    January 26, 2012 at 12:31 am #23215

    I know hundreds and hundreds of words that I’ve never heard spoken aloud, and never bothered to look up in a pronunciation key. Many of them are geography words. Example: apparently there’s a street in NYC that’s pronounced How-ston, but it’s spelled the same as that city in Texas Hugh-ston. I think my first big OMG was when I lived in Portland, where I thought the city sat next to the Will-uh-met River, but it’s actually the Wull-am-it River.

    January 26, 2012 at 7:18 am #23222


    Leigh, I mispronounced that and most of the Native-anguage-derived location names in the Pacific Northwest the first time(s) I saw them. Yakima? Called it “Yak-EE-muh,” not, “YAK-ih-maw.”


    I was on the way to Seattle with three guys, in the backseat behind the driver. I asked how long until we reach _____, it being a town or something with another Native American word for a name. All the guys started laughing and the one beside me informed me of the correct pronunciation. I asked how I was supposed to know that, and the driver said, “Well, you’re Indian, right?” (Note: I’m Lakota Sioux.) The funniest part was the looks on the other two dude’s faces as they knew the driver was about to get totally schooled. ;)

    January 26, 2012 at 10:56 am #23225

    Oh Gab, why’d you go and let my justification of using Dapple instead of Dabble go? Way to admit to an error when you didn’t have to!

    On topic, I try my best to avoid any errors in pronunciation, but place/street names which seem to be a common thing in the thread so far, are terrible for being arbitrary and not actually something you should intuit.

    I live in Toronto, and we have ‘Yonge’ street. Which is pronounced exactly like ‘Young’ I used to live in Windsor, Ontario which is famous for having mostly French street names, and no French people at all. So “Ouliette” is “ooo-LET” “Grande Marias” is “Grand Mare-iss” and so on. I just don’t even try.

    Also, my 12th grade English Class read King Lear, and every single time someone pronounced Gloucester as “Glue-Chester” I died a little inside.

    January 26, 2012 at 9:53 pm #23249

    Stokes OTI Staff

    For most of my life, I thought rabid was pronounced “ray-bid.” And although I don’t say it that way any more, I still think it SHOULD be pronounced that way. The name of the disease is “rabies,” not “rabbies.”

    Also, I had to check two dictionaries before I would accept the fact that “ouster” has a meaning other than “one who ousts.”

    January 27, 2012 at 12:10 am #23252

    I had heard the word ‘row’ as Commonwealth slang for a fight, but I always pronounced it ‘rho’. Apparently, it’s pronounced ‘rao’.

    January 27, 2012 at 9:40 pm #23292


    Devonin, I guess I just couldn’t think of a clever way to say

    Wait… Leigh, are you serious? Because I’ve totally been pronouncing it “rho,” as well…

    January 27, 2012 at 10:55 pm #23296

    Having a row? Totally “rao”. (just to reaffirm.)

    I personally love the Ohio town of Versailles, or “Ver-sayls.”

    Growing up, I was convinced a dozen dozen was pronounced “grahss”, as there was no accompanying vowel to make it long.

    January 28, 2012 at 10:57 am #23304

    Among the many stupid things about Iowa (seriously, guys, I miss NJ!) are the counter-intuitive place names. They have this weird penchant for sharing names with other, well-known places, but pronouncing them completely differently, which makes ME sound like the stupid one. For example, there is a town called “Nevada” which, unlike the state, is pronounced “ne-VAY-duh” (instead of “ne-VAH-duh”). The one that REALLY gets me, though, is “Delhi” – pronounced “DEL-high”. Sigh.

    In fairness, I’ll expose both an idiosyncrasy of my own, and reveal the depth of my high school geekiness. When I was a teenager, my friends and I played a LOT of Magic: the Gathering (c’mon, it was 1994 – who didn’t?). When I say a LOT, well, I mean it… which gave my friends ample opportunity to mock me for the fact that I pronounce(d?) the green card used to make a basilisk a real bitch to deal with as “lurrrr” instead of “lyewr” or however the hell it’s “supposed” to be pronounced (“lure” is the word, btw).

    January 28, 2012 at 11:12 am #23306


    I bet Fenzel could help with that- I know the card, but I never pronounced it properly, either. :(

    There’s a town near where I’m in grad school named Delphi, and everyone says “Dell-fee.” I twitch every time. And what’s worse is because of that, whenever I make what I consider clever jokes about seeking an oracle there, they stare at me like I’m some total idiot.

    January 28, 2012 at 12:32 pm #23307

    Well, it’s not a matter of the card, really – it’s the same as the word, like “to lure someone into a trap.” I also got crap for saying “mehlk” instead of “mihlk” for milk, but it didn’t come up nearly as often in conversation…

    January 28, 2012 at 8:37 pm #23318

    To Genevieve: what do you mean 1994? I still play magic <_<

    To Gab: Even if it were pronounced DELL-phi, most of the people around you wouldn't get an Oracle joke.

    January 28, 2012 at 9:43 pm #23325

    I still play occasionally, as well… I’m just sayin’. In 1994, it was rather an OCD activity.

    January 28, 2012 at 9:56 pm #23326

    If you ever want to sell your collection, just let me know.

    January 30, 2012 at 11:53 am #23387

    Charlie X Well Actually

    We encouraged this in my little brother who had hearing problems when he was younger. I contributed a lot to his speech therapy, but threw a few errors into the mix. They stopped being just his problem when we adopted them as part of the family words. For instance “instructions” became “destructions”.
    My grandmother did the same with her dementia-addled mother, replacing words like “conservatory” with “conservative”. Even now we use conservative, generations later.

    That is all intentional misuse, though.

    In the south coast of England, there’s a lot of South London in our language. This means that “th” becomes “f”, the “g” gets dropped from the end of words. “Nothing” becomes “Nuffin” or worse, “Nuffink”. Some of the less literate people even spell it that way.

    February 2, 2012 at 5:54 pm #23471

    To add in some more horribly mispronouced city names, here in Indiana we have two french-inspired towns. The first is ver-SAILS (Versailles), and the second is Ter-ah Hoe-t (Terre Haute). Admittedly the second isn’t as bad as the first, but I cringe whenever I have to refer to Versailles.

    February 13, 2012 at 6:55 pm #23700


    Meggie, I attend grad school in Indiana. DEHL-fee? Meep!

    Another from around where I went to college: Touche. Pronounced “TOO-shee.”

    February 13, 2012 at 6:57 pm #23701


    Aw, crap, I already mentioned Delphi, didn’t I? Fail.

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