11 October 2014

Some Frequently Mispronounced English Words

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“I am English. I do not have an accent.” This is supposed to be a humorous swipe at Americans by Brits. Not that there is one standard way of speaking the Queen’s Language even in the isles where the language spawned.

Of course, we Filipinos do have our own way of speaking this adopted language, brought to these shores by our former colonial masters, the Americans.

Not all sounds in the complicated English language were present in the national language Filipino; although linguistic experts have since made adjustments to include these foreign sounds into our alphabet.

Still, we Filipinos do have our own way of speaking the language our own way with an accent all our own. If you look at the things this way, then there are really NO mispronunciations. We can just say it is the Filipino accent.

However, there are certain words that are mispronounced if we compare our pronunciation with that acceptable to both the Brits and the Americans. Here are a few of those.


CATEGORY

It is very Filipino to place the accent on the second syllable whereas native English speakers actually place the accent on the first.

Typical mispronuncitaion:



Correct pronunciation:



CENTENNIAL

This is an obscure little word that is not frequently used but often mispronounced. In the Philippines it came to prominence in 1998 because of the nation's centennial celebrations. Typical mispronunciation:



Correct pronunciation:



CEREMONY

From elementary students to professionals, this word is frequently mispronounced with accent on the second rather than the first syllable.

Typical mispronunciation:



Correct pronunciation:



COMFORTABLE

I was totally unaware that I was mispronouncing this word until an American visitor to the school where I used to work pointed it out to me. You cannot argue with a native speaker.

Typical mispronunciation:



Correct pronunciation:



IMPRUDENCE

This word is frequently slaughtered by policemen interviewed on national television and sometimes by news reporters themselves, who probably hear the word mispronounced by the cops and think the pronunciation is correct.

Typical mispronunciation:



Correct pronunciation:



INVENTORY

Not really a mainstream word because of its technical nature, but when used is also frequently mispronounced around these parts.

Typical mispronunciation:



Correct pronunciation:



LIAISON

This is one word that is almost universally mispronounced around these parts. My opinion is that most people are aware of the "i" preceding "a" but either miss or do not know how to deal with the "i" that comes after it.

Typical mispronunciation:



Correct pronunciation:



PENIS

The crown jewel of the males of the specie is, of course, among the most mispronounced of English words.

Typical mispronunciation:



Correct pronunciation:



TALENTED

I had a heated argument with a classmate in college who corrected me about the pronunciation of this word; and it turned out he was correct all the time. Not the first time I had to taste humble pie.

Typical mispronunciation:



Correct pronunciation:



TESTIMONY

Another word I frequently hear mispronounced in the evening news, frequently by those in the law enforcement profession as well as lawyers themselves.

Typical mispronunciation:



Correct pronunciation:



VACATE

This is a tricky one because I think most people are reluctant to believe that the first "a" is actually of the long "a" sound. The word's noun form, vacation, is mostly pronounced hereabouts as "vication" with the short "i" sound. The Brits will pronounce the word similarly; but Americans prefer the long "a" sound.

Typical mispronunciation:



Correct pronunciation:



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