I got a pile of vocabulary merely from reading, and so I have been known to mispronounce a lot of words on occasion even though I use them correctly. This constantly amuses my beautiful wife, who grew up amongst people with greater spoken vocabularies than I did.
At any rate, I constantly mispronounce these:
- Bagel. You kids might not remember this, but before the, what, late 1980s or early 1990s, the bagel was not a dietary staple of people outside of New York City, so it wasn’t discussed widely in common argot in the Midwest. I read a lot of books set in New York City, so a lot of hardboiled detectives enjoyed this hardboiled bread. And I pronounce it with the word bag in the first syllable, which I understand is not the right way.
- Respite. It looks like spiting again, so I learned to pronounce it that way. I guess I had a lot of spite in my youth, but little rest.
- Subsequent. It’s from the same root as sequence, so it’s still not exactly clear to me why it is not pronounced the same way. I’m almost in favor of adding accent marks to English to support my personal pronunciation habits.
There are many more, but these are the ones that come to mind.
2 thoughts on “Words I Mispronounce”
Besides, “respite” looks just like “despite,” which further supports the Spite Again theory.
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