Are you someone who bristles with high dudgeon when you hear someone say ‘Ant-artica’ when referring to the frozen continent to the south? Or who insists on ordering a ‘cup-a-chino’ when you go for a coffee? Know any blokes having problems with their ‘prostrate’?
It can be awfully embarrassing to discover that you have been pronouncing a word incorrectly your entire life but the reality is that, despite our best efforts, most of us mispronounce a word or two from time to time.
Here’s a list we have gathered together of commonly mispronounced words. Some of them are so commonly mispronounced that alternative spellings and pronunciations are being included in online reference tools!
It’s a big list so this is just the first half. Look for the second instalment in next week’s news.
Let’s start with the north and south poles:
Arctic – NOT ‘Artic’ (There’s a ‘c’ in there, and it is pronounced ‘Ark-tic’)
Antarctic – NOT ‘Ant-art-ic’ (see above… it’s ‘Ant-ark-tic’)
affidavit – NOT ‘affidavid’ (Even if your lawyer’s name happens to be David!)
cardsharp – NOT ‘card shark’ – even if your Blackjack partner is a ruthless predator
ostensibly – NOT ‘ostensively’ – it is a ‘b’, not a ‘v’ (meaning is similar to ‘apparently’)
percolate – NOT ‘per-cu-late. Coffee does it and so do ideas (they drip down)
mischievous (pronounced miss-chuh-vus) – NOT ‘mischievious’ (mis-cheev-ee-us).
asterisk (pronounced ‘ast-er-risk’) – NOT ‘asterix’ (as-ter-rix). Astérix is the heroic character of a popular French comic book series.
espresso (pronounced ess-presso in English) – NOT ‘ex-presso’. It refers to coffee brewed by forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans; eg. espresso machine.)
cappuccino (pronounced kap-oo-CHEE-no) – NOT ‘cuppa-chino’, or worse, ‘cup-of-chino’!)… since we are talking about coffee. It may be served in a cup but the name comes from the colour of the habits of Capuchin friars (brown and white). Cappuccinos are made using an ‘espresso machine’ (see above)!
et cetera – (Pronounced ‘et-set-er-ah’, NOT ‘ex-cetera’. It is Latin and it means, ‘and the rest’, ‘and other things’ or ‘and so on’ . Abbreviated to ‘etc’.
prostate (pronounced pross-tate) – NOT ‘prostrate’ (pross-trait). There is no ‘r’ when we’re talking about a gland found close to a bloke’s family jewels. Add in the ‘r’ and you have the act of lying flat out on the ground)
specific – NOT Pacific! This one drives us crazy! Same goes for ‘pacifically’ – the word is ‘specifically’ (pronounced ‘spunless you are referring to a calm, serene way of moving.
pronunciation (pro-nun-see-ay- shun) – NOT ‘pronounciation’ (pro-nownce-ee-ay-shun)
Apparently the word, ‘pronunciation’ is among the most commonly mispronounced words. That’s kind of fitting, isn’t it?
You live and you learn. Look out for part two next week!