Most annoying mispronunciation

Tiffany   Monday, December 06, 2004, 05:14 GMT
Billy Joe - "'tuh-ward'' for ''toward'' instead of the correct pronunciation ''toe-erd''. You're not going to a ward when you're going toward something. ''toward'' was not formed from ''to'' and ''ward'' put together.

I always pronounce it ''toe-erd'' never the incorrect spelling pronunciation ''tuh-ward''. "

You're not putting your toe to the "erd" either. And I say neither of the above. It's too-ward or tward (when I speak fast) for me. Your pronunciation sounds stranger than the one you are complaining about. Where are you from?
Brennus   Monday, December 06, 2004, 05:41 GMT

I essentially agree with Tiffany but I wouldn't say that Billy Joe is exactly wrong either. Too-ward is the standard English pronunciation. Tord or toe-erd sounds kind of country; something like what you might see in the comic strip "Gasoline Alley". Standard pronunciations are usually based on the pronunciations of urban upper middle class people.

However, many linguists believe that the "real" language is whatever people actually speak and that non-standard pronunciations are not necessarily incorrect as long as there are many people using them.
mjd   Monday, December 06, 2004, 10:26 GMT
On questions of correct and incorrect pronunciation, one always has potential to enter a kind of grey zone. Pronunciations of words can differ from the standard, but there comes a point when the divergence becomes too great. In other words, it then ceases to resemble the word itself--an entity that is defined or restricted by its spelling.

For example, "tuh-ward" or "toe-erd" (or whatever Billy Joe mentioned) are not so radically different from what is considered the "standard" of the word 'toward.' The degree of separation or divergence is "in bounds" so to speak. However, if one were to pronouce 'toward' as "fork," then that is clearly out of bounds. In Billy Joe's case, I don't think the pronunction he is criticizing is that far out of bounds to warrant correction.
mjd   Monday, December 06, 2004, 10:27 GMT
Toasté   Monday, December 06, 2004, 17:43 GMT
I used to be bothered by the pronunciation 'punkin' for the traditional Thanksgiving fruit/vegetable, rather than the pronunciation I had always assumed to be the correct one... pumpkin.

Later, through some research I had been doing in another area, I learned that 'punkin', was not only an acceptable variant, it was, in fact, the original pronunciation. In the 1800s some people even tried to stamp the new variation out.

Since then, punkin doesn't bother my any more.
Mxsmanic   Monday, December 06, 2004, 19:32 GMT
It's surprising to see how many people think that incorrect pronunciations are correct, and that correct pronunciations are incorrect.

Maybe everyone should spend more time looking at a dictionary.
Freeman   Monday, December 06, 2004, 23:39 GMT
''If you must pronounce it how it's spelt, then what about "feb-ryoo-airy" i.e. /febrju:e..ri(:)/?''

February, I pronounce ''February'' as ''Feb-ryoo-ary'' and I think your pronunciation is sloppy. Would anyone agree that February's pronunciation of ''February'' is sloppy? February says it's not.
Jim   Tuesday, December 07, 2004, 01:52 GMT
How does one decide which pronunciation is correct and which is incorect? Sure you can look at a dictionary but how do the dictionary writers decide?
Freeman   Tuesday, December 07, 2004, 02:08 GMT
Good point Jim. Also, don't you notice how all dictionaries tell people that ''karate'' should be pronounced [k..ra:ti:]. That's not the correct pronunciation. So, dictionaries are not always right.
Reggie   Tuesday, December 07, 2004, 02:15 GMT
That's what happens when your language is not phonetic, pronunciation tends to be vague.
Freeman   Tuesday, December 07, 2004, 02:16 GMT
Reggie, do you mean phonemic?
February   Tuesday, December 07, 2004, 02:19 GMT
''How does one decide which pronunciation is correct and which is incorect? Sure you can look at a dictionary but how do the dictionary writers decide?''

Jim, If someone were to pronounce your name as ''Jeem'' would you tell them that they were mispronouncing your name.
Adam   Tuesday, December 07, 2004, 02:40 GMT
When one person decides that a word is pronounced a certain way, that is just an arbitrary decision. I can just as easily tell you that my name is Jim and it's pronounced Jeem or Jime or Jem. If that is what everyone where I am from calls someone with my name doesn't that make that pronounciation right? Doesn't that same reasoning go for any word? Everyone pronounces differently depending on where they are from, that is just how it is.
Reggie   Tuesday, December 07, 2004, 02:52 GMT
In Castellano words are read like they're spelt with a only a couple of exceptions but the rules are generally pretty consistent
Erimir   Tuesday, December 07, 2004, 10:40 GMT
Lemme see here...

So, you people think that changing spelling without reflecting every dialect is a bad idea, BUT

You also think that people should pronounce these words according to the standard (which, just coincidentally, is usually your pronounciation). So, we should reduce dialectal variation, but we need to represent it too.


You know what would make it clear what the "standard" pronunciation of every word was?

You know what would make people think that they had to pronounce every letter in a word?

You know what would make people able to pronounce any unfamiliar word? So that they'd say /bor-zhwa/ instead of /bor-gois/ for "bourgeoise"?

Not that I'm advocating enforcing these pronunciations, but you'd think that if you were so bothered by "mispronunciations", you'd be more receptive to spelling reform, since spelling reform can easily be used to enforce standard pronunciations.

That's not what I'm suggesting, but the views of people on this board regarding spelling and pronunciation seem to be contradictory.

Anyway, harassment pronounced like "Harris-ment" bothers me, but not as much as my pronouncing it "ha-RASS-ment" likely bothers some of you.

What bothers me more than any other mispronunciation/bad grammar thing, is hypercorrection. And hypercorrection is caused by grammarian pedants who cause people to be self-conscious about these things, resulting in pronunciations like "ev-e-ree" and grammar like "Give it to John or myself".