Does tenterhooks being pronounced as tenderhooks drive you up the wall? When someone says somethink instead of something do you want to slap them?
Today we’re asking you to share examples of the mispronunciations which annoy you the most.
Plus, you can say whether you’re guilty of butchering certain words – and whether you’re bothered about it or not.
According to research from St Pancras International, four in five (82 per cent) of us admit to getting words and place names mixed up in conversation.
Most cite odd spelling as the reason for getting words wrong, while other excuses include certain words simply being difficult to say, silent letters being confusing and repeating what someone else has said.
Women struggle the most with one in five saying they have trouble getting their mouths around everyday words such as prescription and espresso.
Apparently, the top word for mispronunciation is Cambridgeshire city Ely – while Greenwich also features in the top 10.
When faced with a tongue-twister mid-conversation, 23 per cent of people admit asking the other person how to say it, with a further 17 per cent stopping and apologising for getting mixed up.
Nearly a third of people say they don’t care what people think and will say what they want, while nearly half admit to correcting someone’s pronunciation in conversation.
Dr David Lewis, a neuropsychologist and author, said: “There are four main reasons why people make little slips when pronouncing certain words.
“The first is because they believe that is how the word is pronounced, usually because that is how their family or friends say it. Second, certain words are genuinely difficult to pronounce, including ironically the word ‘mispronunciation’.
“Third, when a word is unfamiliar people try to work out how it should sound by following the spelling. Because our spelling is full of idiosyncrasies this can often lead them astray.
“Finally we often fail to engage our conscious brain when speaking aloud what we are reading. As a result we see what we expect to see rather than what is actually there. In the phrase ‘Paris in the the spring’, for example, many fail to notice the second ‘the’. It's the same with St Pancras. When seen for the first time the brain reads this as ‘pancreas’, the insulin producing gland, and that is how it is pronounced thereafter.
“Thinking before speaking and pausing before saying can save many embarrassing errors of pronunciation.”
The words people have the most trouble getting their mouths around are:
- Ely (59%) – (EE-lie as opposed to EE-lee)
- Keighley (40%) – (Keeth-lee as opposed to Key-lee)
- Sherbet (40%) – (SHER-bet as opposed to SHER-bert)
- Et cetera (34%) – (ET-cet-ra as opposed to EX-cet-tera)
- St Pancras (33%) – (Snt-PAN-kruhs as opposed to Snt-PAN-cree-us)
- Espresso (26%) – (ES-presso as opposed to EX-Presso)
- Bruschetta (25%) – (Broo-SHETT-a as opposed to Broo-SKETT-a)
- Often (24%) – (Off-ten as opposed to Off-en)
- Prescription (21%) – (Pre-scrip-shun as opposed to Purr-scrip-shun)
- Greenwich (16%) – (Gr-EH-nitch as opposed to Green-wich)
Do you get irritated by any words being said the wrong way? Which mispronunciation winds you up the most? Which words are you guilty of mispronouncing and just can’t get your tongue around? Does it bother you not being able to say certain words correctly? Add your comments below.
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