Whether you're giving a presentation or just trying to sound smart at cocktail parties, problems with pronunciation can rear their ugly...
Whether you’re giving a presentation or just trying to sound smart at cocktail parties, problems with pronunciation can rear their ugly heads.
To the rescue comes R.W. Jackson’s “You Say Tomato: An Amusing and Irreverent Guide to the Most Often Mispronounced Words in the English Language” (Thunder’s Mouth, 249 pp., $21). And a quick flip through it shows me I’ve been mangling certain words all my life.
For instance acumen. According to Jackson, it’s uh-KYOO-mun, not AK-you-mun.
Then there’s diphthong, which Jackson says should be DIF-thawng (“The popular but incorrect DIP-thong should in no way be associated with the formal footwear of Southern California”).
Most Read Stories
- Friends honor artist’s last wishes with water ballet in a Seattle kiddie pool WATCH
- Experts answer your burning questions about the 2017 solar eclipse
- Seattle Mayor Ed Murray calls for removal of Confederate monument, Lenin statue
- Sorrow at the Space Needle: Dinner at one of Seattle’s most expensive restaurants VIEW
- Pilots, check your bearings: Boeing Field catches up with Earth’s magnetic field
Never tell a friend you’re going to KO-pun-hah-gen, or even KO-pun-hay-gun. The capital of Denmark, Jackson insists, is ko-pun-HAY-gun.
And think anal when you say banal.
Hold on, there. Webster’s Dictionary gives be-NAL as a perfectly legitimate pronunciation alternative. And I don’t say, CAY-n’l when I’m walking in Amsterdam, do I?
Call me a prig.
Just don’t call me BAY-n’l.
Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times book critic