marvellous mispronounciations

21 Aug

Usually my OCD-compliant logic determines that mispronounciations are an absolute taboo. However, there is a particular subset that holds such a quirky appeal to me that I would consider deliberately using them in preference to the ‘real’ words.

I guess it all began with a family favourite, conjured up by a younger sibling who was never allowed to forget their childhood tounge-twister:

  • skabhetti
  • … with blogonese sauce of course
  • ecletricity
  • def-int-ley
  • and many more…!

Maybe Cath has some interesting explanation / scientific reasoning to all this, but for me its just remarkably good fun! πŸ˜€

The closest I could get to an explanation was a word with sufficient similarity to the original to leave no confusion as to meaning… but absolute confusion as to pronounciation!Β  The “say it again” syndrome πŸ˜‰

*is OCD-rebellious πŸ˜› *


Posted by on Tuesday, August 21, 2007 in philosophy


Tags: ,

8 responses to “marvellous mispronounciations

  1. Grant

    Tuesday, August 21, 2007 at 7:22 pm

    “Blogonese sauce” – how very appropriate πŸ™‚

  2. quact

    Tuesday, August 21, 2007 at 9:43 pm

    Invernesians pronounce english words best, with our own exceptions of course πŸ˜€

  3. dinsan

    Wednesday, August 22, 2007 at 4:19 am

    cool πŸ™‚

  4. rach

    Wednesday, August 22, 2007 at 8:22 am

    G: πŸ˜‰

    Q: Why, thankyou for being so supportive πŸ˜›

  5. Peter Reynolds

    Wednesday, August 22, 2007 at 10:45 pm

    Can’t say I really understood this post. But can I submit “entelot”? You know, big animal with floppy ears and a trunk? This from my 21 month old daughter who can pronounce “helicopter” (and, frankly, little parrot that she is, most other words) perfectly. And maybe Cath can tell me why an emergency vehicle with a siren is a “woo(l)-awns” – this is one I’ve been completely unable to work out (we thought it was “bull horns”), unless (like “entelot”) it’s a pre-fluency attempt to pronounce “ambulance” that has somehow got stuck in her now otherwise much more fluent speech. She uses it when she wants to be shown the fire engines when we’re hurrying past the fire station round the corner. However when I asked her what her little blue wooden van that says Police on the side was she said “a police car” very precisely. I haven’t persuaded her to say ambulance (at least not since I started puzzling about this) so I don’t know how she would say that if she consented to attempt it.

  6. cath

    Thursday, August 23, 2007 at 11:22 am

    I suppose you could say that she’s omitting the first (unstressed) syllable of ambulance, then where adult speakers make contact with both lips for /b/ (ie a bilabial stop) she’s bringing her lips together but without making the complete contact (so it’s a labial approximant rather than a stop). (Also the sequence of bilabial nasal stop followed by bilabial oral stop (ie /mb/ is probably fairly complex – in terms of articulation it means raising then lowering your velum in rapid succession – so the labial approximant might be standing in for both those labial stops.) Overall i think it’s pretty close to the target really πŸ™‚

    Most of Rachel’s examples (ie the first three) involve exchanging the order of sounds within the words – that’s called metathesis, if you really want to know – other examples would be ‘wops’ for ‘wasp’, ‘aks’ for ‘axe’, ‘patrin’ for ‘pattern,’ which are all respectable dialect forms in various parts of the English-speaking world. The fourth one is just the deletion of one unstressed vowel, in a word which probably has a fairly variable realisation anyway.

    “Ta muchly,” of course, remains a monstrosity. πŸ™‚

    Btw my family’s baby word for ‘ambulance’ was something like ‘alley-mince’ πŸ™‚

  7. Peter Reynolds

    Thursday, August 23, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    I expect you are right that it really is “ambulance” that she’s trying to say – I expect that at some point in the past she heard
    am – bul -ance pronounced very precisely
    and thought
    an Bull Awns.

    The funny thing is that she then created this word or phrase in such a fixed way. I still can’t tell for sure whether the first part sounds like wool or bull.

    She has a very strong sense of hearing – a couple of weeks ago (still now to some extent) we were getting told constantly all day all about lorries, trains, hairplanes, (h)elicopters, bull-horns, motorcycles, somebody cutting grass – many of them correctly identified. Then there’s the cute way she says “want to see it” after some of her identifications; which in an enclosed pedestrianised square can be a bit unlikely, though occasionally she might see the overhead items from the above catalogue.

  8. cath

    Thursday, August 23, 2007 at 9:37 pm

    Hmm, just had another thought – there’s already an approximant in the adult version of ‘ambulance’ – after the /b/ – phonetically it’s something like [bju], like at the start of ‘beautiful’ – maybe that’s an additional incentive for her to give the approximant realisation [w] πŸ™‚

    More annoyingly, I just realised that ‘aks’ is obviously not a metathesised version of ‘axe’!! Not sure now whether I meant to say ‘aks’ for ‘ask’ or ‘ask’ for ‘axe’ … i tend not to think about metathesis too often as it can get quite painful.

    I do have another (unrelated) anecdote though – remember the Tsunami a couple of years ago – it was quite a rare word up till then, especially with that non-native /ts/ cluster at the start – anyway i dropped in to an Oxfam shop to make a donation to the emergency relief fund, not entirely sure if I was able to pronounce it right and hoping things wouldn’t get too embarrassing. “I was just wondering if I could make a donation to the fund, you know …” feebly trailing off. But thankfully there was no need to worry, the wifey behind the counter helped me out. “Oh yes, to the Satsumi fund,” she said πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚


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