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Thursday, May 23, 2013
How do you pronounce that?Posted Friday, July 13, 2012, at 3:46 PM
Pronunciation is a strange thing, starting with its spelling. Why do you "proNOUNce" a word but the act is "proNUNciation"?
Of course, pronunciation initially depends on where you grew up, but it can also change over time as you learn what is interestingly called "Standard English" ("standard"? Whose standard would that be?)
We probably all have pronunciation stories. I have two that stand out for me: one when I was about 8, another at 12. I have some as an adult, too, but we won't get into those.
At 8, I was staying at my grandmother's and had just met a neighbor girl visiting for the summer. She had an accent, but I didn't think much about it, at 8. We played happily for awhile until she said the word, "Agg."
It took me a minute to figure out what she was saying, and then the light came on.
"Oh, egg!" I said. "You mean egg!" I elaborated, pronouning it "aig" (I'm not sure how to even spell our American pronunciation of this!).
"No, agg," she countered, and we spent awhile going back and forth. I was so sure she was wrong. She turned out to be from Scotland.
At 12, in junior high, I was an avid reader and a whiz bang speller, so my teacher convinced me to enter the school spelling bee.
How humiliating when I was the first to have to sit down. I know I could have won that bee.
But it was not to be!
What got me this time was also a case of accent. Growing up in Boston, I had a Bostonian accent (no, you don't hear it now because I'm one of those people who pick up accents wherever I live. I don't have much of an Ozarks accent, though.)
The spelling bee reader was a Bostonian, but the judges were not.
The word was "formerly." She pronounced it "formally," and that's what I spelled. By the way, in Bostonian, the "r" is not pronounced in a lot of words, hence the famous, "Pahk ya cah in Hahvid Yahd," and "r's" are added to some words, like "Gimme me a cheese pizzer!"
"No, she said, "formally, as in 'before.'"
At that point I was so rattled, all I could hear was "formally," and that's what I kept spelling, forgetting all about the other form of the word. They made me sit down.
I could have spelled "formerly" easily. Oh, well.
So, since covering Holiday Island, I've heard "Holidee Island," "Hullidee Island," "Hauliday Island" besides the regular "Holiday Island."
How do you pronounce it?
The HI Road
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