Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The One With the Pronunciation

Sometimes I wonder about regional dialect and pronunciation.

This exchange just took place between D and myself:

Setting: D is working on a business card for a client.

D: I don't understand why people put "phone" next to a number.
Me: What do you mean?
D: Right here. Before the phone number on the card, they want the word "phone." I don't get that.
Me: I think it's to differentiate from 'fax.'
D: Well, the fact is, it's a phone number.

I had to think about this for a second or two, because that comment made no sense to me. And then I figured it out.

Me: No. Fax. Like fax number. Not facts. Not like 'facts of life.'

But even as I said it, I realized that the two words sounded EXACTLY the same coming out of my mouth.

There's another word that I do that to, but I can't remember it right offhand. I also pronounce "photographer" like "phatographer."

I wonder where we learn to pronounce things. I was born up North, but have lived in North Carolina since I was 4. However, I call the oblong things you put on top of ice cream "jimmies" instead of calling them "sprinkles." As a result, D has taken to calling them that, too. But that's a Northernism. Also, if I have an item (let's say a cake) that I want to transport to another locale, I say I'm going to "bring the cake to Mom's." This makes D a little crazy, because the correct phrasing would be "I'm going to take the cake to Mom's." But he also told me that saying you're going to "bring" something somewhere is found primarily in Northern dialect, which I find interesting.

So, if you're trying to get a feel for what I sound like when I actually talk, just imagine "facts" and "fax" sounding like exactly the same word.

What about you? What words or phrases do YOU mispronounce? Do you, too, refuse to change them?


  1. "Tournament" - It's apparently pronounced like "tornament," but I pronounce it "turnament" because the right way sounds stupid. I refuse to change it.

  2. C. C. von WerklaägNovember 4, 2010 at 2:39 AM

    In Iceland, we spell the name of the country 'Island,' but we pronounce it like "EEs-LAND."

    When I first learned English, it drove me crazy to remember that the word 'island' was pronounced like "eye-land."