I was at book club the other day. I said the word “Plantagenet” as I was describing a book I was reading for another book club.

Apparently, I mispronounced the word…

The look of horror and anger from a member of the book club…I’m surprised she didn’t call for twenty lashes at sundown…

I read somewhere that you shouldn’t get angry at someone who mispronounces a word because it means that they learned that word from reading…and we should never mock those who are reading things that they previously knew little about…

I am grateful that I didn’t slap the woman for trying to make me look foolish…

FYI- after five minutes of research I found that my way of pronouncing it was acceptable as well

Mindfulness prompts:


Enjoy the Ordinary

My Work is loving the world Mary Oliver

One of the wonderful things about being alive is that it’s never too late Phyllis A. Whitney

76 thoughts on “Gratitude Saturday Plus: 2/26/22

  1. My husband is from Ghana and I am from Barbados we both get looked at crazy when we say words incorrectly. What I realize to we are not really pronouncing the words wrong, it is just our accents! Always a good laugh in my house! Recent word McAfee the computer virus protection. I told him he was pronouncing it Mccafe, like McDonald’s MCcafe!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m a Canadian living in a British ex-pat community in Spain. Apparently, I mispronounce many words and am reminded of it continually, with much disdain. I once remarked that that is how we pronounce it in North America. One very British woman said, “but you are in England now.” I replied, “Well no, actually I´m not. I’m in Spain!” Unreal. Tomato – tomaato

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I mention that I was reading Matrix for my other book club, and after I swore it was science fiction I explained who Marie is by saying she was the illegitimate child of the Plantagenet line…I used the French pronunciation with “ay” sound at the end

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think that’s kind of ridiculous. What do you accomplish by getting mad at someone that says a word incorrectly other than getting that person upset too.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ahem…sometimes pronunciations are a direct product of where one was raised in this country. Cases in point: 1-toilet (terlit), 2-wash (warsh), 3-route (root) and the classic 4-tomato(e) HA!
    Anyway, I like the assertion that often mispronunciation of certain words is due to having read the word…Even though I look up words I encounter in my readings that I am uncertain of their meanings, I neglect following through with the pronunciation guidelines given with dictionary definitions.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Meh… My mother tongue is not English. I speak other languages with passable ‘get by’ ability and if mispronunciation earns lashes at sundown well then I’d be dead and buried by now. Sheesh.

    Also, how many times a day do we, in these multicultural societies we inhabit, come across people who mispronounce words simply because they have a different background in language? bleh.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good on you! Best be fearless when using a foreign language. “Wrong” pronunciation is part of cross cultural communication –and culture includes the school you went to and your parents’ socioeconomic group. In other words yes! To tomato tomato!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I was scolded and made fun of years ago for saying words such as treasure or measure (the ea part) using a long a sound: may-sure / tray-sure. It stuck with me and whenever I use those words now I still will hesitate to make sure I (correctly by others standards) say meh-sure / treh-sure. I will also admit that there are pronunciations that trigger me, but I just wince silently and move on.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love the point you make about not making fun of people’s pronunciation because they learned it by reading.

    This reminds me of a story a dear friend told me of when he was 16 and in class and the teacher said the word “hubris.” My friend spoke up and said, “I think it’s pronounced HU-bree and given the meaning of the word and that he was correcting the teacher, it earned a lot of laughter.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. That woman should be ashamed for having such poor manners. John and I watched a British TV series on the Plantagenets years ago, so I heard it with a British accent. I mispronounced brooch, amaryllis, and rendezvous when I was young. I had a good reading vocabulary!!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. My daughter had to go through years of speech therapy to speak. She is also an avid reader and has several words that she has pronounced wrong because she learned it reading. I would not have been happy had people laughed at her for mispronunciation.

    Also – during the Jeopardy college shoes the host corrected pronunciation twice and both times we looked it up and she was wrong once and the other time it can be pronounced both ways. The hazards of being a corrector

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I get that when I mispronounce an elementary students name. I imagine they must learn this from parents, youtube, etc. How do you know how to pronounce Ta’keiya….or Janxieux? I told them my name had 2 syllables-last name and then laughed and told them but I used the English American version without the accent instead of the French. Sometimes I tell them the only person to correct should be the student themselves and not 5 people yelling the correction. Yikes!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. This gets my blood boiling. This woman (notice I did not say “lady”) needs to read an etiquette book–or just one on kindness would do. It’s sad what “shaming” can do. I still remember vividly being shamed by a teacher in our daily 15 minute vocabulary class in high school for mispronouncing “poinsettia.” I pronounced it the way my mother pronounced it, and I could spell it correctly. When I went home, I looked it up and…SURPRISE! There are two ways to pronounce it. I did not share this with that very authoritarian woman. Don’t let your nemesis discourage your participation. She may feel insecure because you are able to contribute so much to your group.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I like your take that we mispronounce words we have only read, not heard. This happens to me when I travel to research. How would YOU pronounce “Winneshiek” and “Asotin” and “Latah”? I promise you, I got all of them wrong. Fortunately, people set me straight kindly. Dissing people for mispronunciation is just rude.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I hadn’t even heard of the word and had to google it to see what it meant – let alone how to pronounce it! I have a friend who does that, corrects people’s pronunciation, including sales clerks and it’s embarrassing and annoying. She has an English lit degree and used to do editing on the side, so I think she must be trying to show people how smart she is, as I can think of no other reason to do that? She’s corrected me a few times with obscure words and I finally said one day, Hey, I have a science degree – I spent my undergrad years in labs – cut me some slack. I routinely pronounce Newfoundland incorrectly as that’s the way we were taught in school back in the sixties.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I mispronounce new words all the time, I don’t mind if people tell me nicely, but if they try to make me look the fool, I ask them to pronounce Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Yes I can before you ask, buy it did take me about three years to get it right all the way through.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I have never understood the need to make someone feel badly, about anything. I’m so sorry this happened to you! If you know someone well, and they mispronounce a word, then you can gently correct them. If it’s a good friend and the mispronounciation is funny, you can laugh (as my high school English class did when we were reading a play out loud in class and I pronounced bifocals in a very creative way). But in every other situation, just ignore it, for crying out loud!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I quite enjoyed this little story and the highlight you took away from it! Because my mother is from Iran, I do not say my “A’s” the American way. After years of getting looks or questions from people who do not know what I mean when I say “tomato” or like words, I am able to make it into a fun interaction and laugh. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. You made me laugh 😅 “I am grateful that I didn’t slap the woman”, but in all seriousness, it’s not nice to get angry at someone for a mistake done unintentionally, and as you wrote, if you mispronounce it, it means you learned it by reading.

    Liked by 1 person

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