Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012
Words that May Hurt Your Image
I recently read an article highlighting 10 words that people commonly mispronounce that can make an individual appear less intelligent, professional and polished. There were some great words on that list, but I thought a few needed to be added, so I’m taking to the blog to share my thoughts to reinforce some, and introduce a few others.
I’d love to ask all followers of this blog to make it your new year’s resolution to pronounce the following words correctly in this new year, and every year forward.
Nuclear: NOO-clee-er Not Noo-cue-ler
I know a former president made this almost acceptable, but let’s face it, his own wife made fun of his mispronunciation at the White House Correspondent’s dinner. With weapons of mass destruction making headlines around the world, we all need to stay up to date on who has nuclear weapons and is willing to use them. If you’re going to engage in that conversation, please take great care in pronouncing the word correctly.
Ask: Assk not Ax
I have listened to people, friends, strangers and colleagues mispronounce this word for years. They all have college degrees, they all read the newspaper and hold professional jobs. So I have to believe that it is pure lack of attention to detail and a little bit of laziness to mispronounce this word. It’s one of the smallest words but most used word in the English language. We should all take a moment to pronounce it correctly.
Salmon: SA-mon not SAL-mon
There’s no L sound in this word. The L is silent, as it is in walk, talk, and chalk. The next time you find yourself craving the pink little fish and your favorite seafood restaurant, please fight the urge to add the L. Order your grilled, blackened, or breaded salmon with pride and confidence knowing that the server did not just walk into the kitchen and make fun of you to the crew, because you did not mispronounce the word. And yes, your restaurant server makes fun of you to the kitchen EVERY time you pronounce the L in salmon. Trust me, I worked in a restaurant for all four years of college!
Birthday: BIRTH-day not BIRF-day
There is no F sound in birthday. The “th” sound is what you find in with, this, wreath, teeth, and countless other words that these birthday offenders pronounce correctly. Again, this is a sign of lack of attention to detail for those who continue to put the F in the middle.
Similar: SIM-ill-er not SIM-U-lar
I’m not sure where the u sound came from, but it should go back there.
With: WITH not WIFF
Much like birthday, there is no F sound in with. When you add it, you’re broadcasting that you haven’t paid attention to any public speaker, news reporter, anchor, or politician. You must say the word no less than 100 times per day, so why not say it correctly?
Breakfast: BRECK-fast not Bref-fess
I had a relative who said Breffess instead of Breakfast all of the time. It’s the most important meal of the day, and often the most enjoyable, so let’s put a little effort into saying it correctly. As a child, it took me too long to figure out what that relative was talking about each time she asked me what I wanted for Breffess. I always responded with “whatever you’re having,” so I didn’t look like I was the one who didn’t understand.
Yes: Yes not Yeah
OK, this is just me repeating my father’s pet peeve. The answer to anything is always yes not yeah. Yes, is more refined, polite and respectful. Hey, and it’s shorter, so enjoy the economy of letters and put an “S” on it!
Any word ending with an R: “R” not “ah”
Bostonian accents aside, please remember to close your words. End with the intended sound, don’t give up halfway through. Whatever not whatevah. There not theyah. This, again, gives a more polished and professional sound, not to mention, your listener won’t have to strain to follow the conversation as they correct you in their mind as you speak.
Well that concludes my list of often mispronounced words that drive me nuts. If we all remember to close our words, say them as intended, and pay attention to detail, communication will be easier, more enjoyable and leave us all feeling more intelligent and prepared.
What words drive you crazy when mispronounced? Be sure to add them here!
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