*steps up to the podium*
Hello. My name is Mouse. And I’m a pronunciation Nazi.
*pauses as the audience intones “Hi, Mouse.”*
I’ll be honest, I’m also a grammar Nazi, to an extent. I’m not as bad as some people, in that I don’t point out each and every mistake as I see it, because some mistakes can be poetic in their wrongness. One of the joys of being a writer, the flexibility one can have with grammar, or lack thereof.
However, nothing drives me more insane than people who choose not to speak words correctly.
Here are some examples:
~ ‘Ekspecially’ instead of ‘especially.’ Okay, I can see little kids getting away with this one, but not grown adults. I grit my teeth every time I hear this from adults. Grow up! ‘Escape’ suffers this as well, with people saying ‘ekscape’ instead.
~ Also, only little kids can get away with calling it ‘libarry’ as opposed to ‘library.’ Seriously, adults?!?
~ ‘Ax’ instead of ‘ask.’ “Do you mind if I ax you a question?” Uh, yes, actually. You say ‘ax,’ I think murder. Therefore, I decline to entertain your question, thank you.
~ ‘Bidness’ instead of ‘business.’ What the?!? Who came up with that in the first place?!? It just sounds so bad!
~ As does ‘obble-gation’ instead of ‘obligation.’ Who the heck?!? Someone shoot me!
~ This doesn’t necessarily have to do with speaking, per se, but the word ‘thingies.’ Oh, the images that word conjures! For several years I worked in a law office, and actually saw the word ‘thingies’ in a couple of legal documents. Brilliant.
~ People mispronouncing state names drive me up the wall. Like the state of Missouri. It’s ‘Missurry,’ not ‘Missura’! If they wanted it pronounced ‘Missura,’ they would have spelled it with an ‘a’ at the end.
And it isn’t ‘Ar-kansas.’ It’s ‘Ar-can-saw.’
And it’s not ‘I-oh-way,’ it’s ‘I-oh-wha’.
And once again, little kids can get away with calling Connecticut ‘Connect-ticket,’ not grown adults.
And the ‘s’ in Illinois is silent – it is not pronounced.
Louisiana is the exception. I’ve heard it pronounced both ‘Lou-easy-anna’ and ‘Lou-zi-anna.’ I guess it just depends on where you’re from.
~ Mom and I used to watch a show on HGTV called “The Unsellables” with Sophie Allsopp. And she used to say ‘orientate.’ AAAAUGH! It’s ‘orient’! Not ‘orientate’! And you’re a TV host! You should know better!
And Genevieve Gorder used to mispronounce a word all the time, but I don’t remember what that word was. Mom said to chalk it up to the fact that Genevieve was from Minnesota, but once again that’s no excuse for a TV host.
~ My biggest linguistic pet peeve?
Our local news anchors get this wrong all the frikin’ time! And it opens up a whole can of worms, let me tell you!
The rule is, most words that start with a vowel will and should have an ‘an’ in front of it. “An open door,” “an awesome time,” “an equal opportunity employer,” “an interesting observation,” et cetera.
The letter ‘h’ is not a vowel. “A hopeful heart,” “a hard winter,” “a hot summer’s day.” However, there are some instances in which you would put an ‘an’ before an ‘h’ word. You wouldn’t say ‘Give me a honest opinion.’ You say it as ‘Give me an honest opinion.’
‘History’ and ‘historic’ are ‘h’ words that do not need an ‘an’ in front of them. So it should be ‘a historic,’ not ‘an historic.’
The vowel ‘u’ is also different in that way. Some ‘u’ words have an ‘an’ in front of them, and some words don’t. You don’t say ‘an unique,’ you say ‘a unique.’ You don’t say ‘a ultimatum,’ you say ‘an ultimatum.’ You see the difference?
*SIGH* People. Seriously. I’m not trying to talk down to anyone, nor am I trying to insult anyone’s intelligence. But please think before you speak, in more ways than one.
*steps down from podium*