Conversations with My Kids: Mispronounced Words

The following is a conversation between my 13-year-old son (KJ), 8-year-old daughter (CJ), and me :

KJ: Momma, I just discovered I’ve been spelling and pronouncing “environment” wrong for years.

I had to laugh because it was said as if he’d spent decades on the planet.

MJ: How have you been spelling it?

KJ: E-N-V-I-O-R-N-M-E-N-T

MJ: So you’ve been pronouncing it like, IN-VI-ERN-MENT?

KJ: Yeah.

MJ: Makes you sound like a hick.

KJ [chuckles]: I know, but a lot of people pronounce it that way.

MJ: Do I?

KJ: No, but I didn’t really notice I did until I saw the word on one of my homework assignments.

CJ: I’ve been pronouncing a word wrong.

MJ: You have?

CJ: Yeah, I’ve been saying FEB-YOU-AIR-EE. I didn’t know there was an “R” in there. It’s FEB-ROO-AIR-EE! Everybody says FEB-YOU-AIR-EE.

This got me thinking about words that are commonly mispronounced. I thought of  few, but searched on Google for a list. Here are a few I’ve heard or were surprising to me. I have to admit, I was guilty of a few mispronunciations. Click here for the full list.

Incorrect –> Correct 

  • affidavid –> affidavit   Damn. Right of the bat, I’m guilty. I know how it’s spelled, but I think I do this. I can get lazy with the “t” and not say it clearly. Curse you, southern dialect!

Gasp

  • Old Timer’s –> Alzheimer’s  Well, I guess Old Timer’s do get Alzheimer’s.
  • aks –> ask

aks

  • bidness –> business  This one is like nails on a chalkboard.
  • blessing in the skies –> blessing in disguise   I was surprised people mispronounce this one. Maybe they are just waiting for a holy vision to appear?
  • cannidate –> candidate  Maybe it’s a cross between a cannibal and a candidate? It might not be too far-fetched.
  • card shark –> cardsharp  I learned something. I’ve never seen it pronounced or written as “cardsharp.” Guilty, again.
  • carpool tunnel syndrome –> carpal tunnel syndrome   It was probably derived from parents sitting too long in the carpool lane.
  • chester drawers –> chest of drawers  Who has Chester’s drawers?
  • doggy dog world –> dog eat dog world

doggy dog world

  • expecially –> especially  Said by those who are extra special. 
  • Febyuary –> February  Hey, my daughter’s only eight. Cut her some slack. 
  • irregardless –> regardless

Irregardless

  • jewlery –> jewelry This one gets me too.
  • Laura Norder –> law and order  SMH
  • libary–> library  I’m going to go out on a limb and say this person doesn’t visit one.
  • mawv –> mauve [mowv] Learned something else, but it just doesn’t sound right. Guilty, yet again.
  • mute –> moot  Nails on a chalkboard.
  • neanderthal < –> neandertal  Either is acceptable, but Germans pronounce it with a “t” sound. Add German accent if you prefer the “t” version.

Neanderthal

  • nucular –> nuclear  Always makes me think of him.

Bush

  • persnickety –> pernickety (pronounced with a silent “s”)  I’m guilty of pronouncing the “s,” but in my defense, Merriam Webster’s Dictionary shows the incorrect pronunciation.
  • prolly –> probably I’ve seen this one typed like this way too many times. Texting is going to destroy our language.
  • for all intensive purposes –> for all intents and purposes
  • pacifically –> specifically
  • supposably –> supposedly  And I just thought they were just congested.
  • take for granite –> take for granted

granite

  • zuology –> zoology   Never thought about this until now. Is it Zulander or Zoolander?

zoolanderWhat are some words that you often hear mispronounced? Are you guilty of mispronouncing any words?

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12 thoughts on “Conversations with My Kids: Mispronounced Words”

  1. I’ll admit I say Probably as Prolly, but it’s not because I don’t know Probably is correct… I just like to say Prolly. It rolls off the tongue. I pretend it’s an abbreviation. I can’t blame it on texting, because I’ve never owned a cell phone 🙂

    1. It’s funny. Now that I’ve grown used to it, I can’t imagine how I’d function without my cell phone, but I managed just fine before I had one. I’m often teased by friends and family that they can never get in contact with me, though (I don’t keep it “attached to my hip” like some). Technology…it’s a blessing and a curse.

      1. haha I just never saw the need for one. I’m either always home, or with the people who would call me… and if I want to be alone, all I have to do is leave XD, I kind of like the ability to get “lost” for a few hours.

  2. I can suddenly think of a slew of Afrikaans (my native tongue) examples, but none in English. One would think as a former English teacher I’d have an impressive collection… There’s always adversary vs adversary, brought to us by James Bond in The Hunt for Red October. Ever since I’m not sure how to pronounce it myself 😉

    Strictly speaking “irregardless” shouldn’t be on this list any more as Merriam-Webster has declared it is now officially a word. Means the same as “regardless”, if that makes any sense. I’m glad to see Google Chrome still flags it as a spelling mistake.

    1. Interesting. I didn’t realize MW recognized “irregardless” as a word. Still, I don’t think I could use it, and I’m glad to see that MW says to use “regardless” instead. Thanks for commenting 🙂

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