Incorrect pronunciations you have (or have had) to unlearn

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Re: Incorrect pronunciations you have (or have had) to unlea

Post by Jonlang »

linguoboy wrote:
KathTheDragon wrote:
linguoboy wrote:
Raphael wrote:I used to think that "bow", as in "bow down", is pronounced something like "boh".

For ages, I thought that English people had /roːz/, not /rauz/. I still have to correct my mental pronunciation sometimes.

For what word? "Row" as in "argument"?

Is there another kind of "row" you people can "have"?


In Welsh English (I don't know how far outside of the Valleys this goes) to "have a row" means you'll be told off - as in a child being told off by a parent i.e. "He gave is son a row for misbehaving".
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Re: Incorrect pronunciations you have (or have had) to unlea

Post by Sumelic »

linguoboy wrote:chitin (just heard a friend get this wrong recently)

Which part--the "ch"? Apparently, it's somewhat common for people to use /tʃ/ in "lichen", which seems wrong to me. But we all use /tʃ/ in "cherub(im)", so nobody has a totally solid basis for arguing against the use of /tʃ/ in such words.

Recently, I was trying to figure out the etymology of "Coriolis" because the usual, standard pronunciation with stress on the penult seemed suspicious to me. My research seems to have confirmed my suspicions: it is from the French scientist Gaspard-Gustave de Coriolis [kɔʁjɔlis], whose name seems to come from the ablative-case form of the Latin city-name Cŏrĭŏlī. Since the penult "o" in Latin was short, the stress in Latin would have been on the antepenult. The French pronunciation sounds, to an English-speaker's ear, as if it has the stress on the last syllable. So I can't see any good justification for stressing the penult syllable in English: it just seems to be a spelling-pronunciation, which I dislike. (Spelling-pronunciations with penult stress exist also for gladiolus, alveolus and areola, but at least Latin-based pronunciations with stress on the antepenult are attested for these words.) Despite my annoyance, I'm not daring enough to start using /korjoˈlis/ or /koˈraɪəlɪs/ against the tide of /koriˈolɪs/, so I guess this isn't so much an "incorrect pronunciation I have to unlearn" as an "annoying pronunciation that I have to reconcile myself with".

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Re: Incorrect pronunciations you have (or have had) to unlea

Post by Zaarin »

It's also a phenomenal roleplaying game. :p
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Re: Incorrect pronunciations you have (or have had) to unlea

Post by linguoboy »

Sumelic wrote:
linguoboy wrote:chitin (just heard a friend get this wrong recently)

Which part--the "ch"? Apparently, it's somewhat common for people to use /tʃ/ in "lichen", which seems wrong to me. But we all use /tʃ/ in "cherub(im)", so nobody has a totally solid basis for arguing against the use of /tʃ/ in such words.

/ˈʧɪtɪn/

IIRC, I knew enough not to pronounce the <ch> as an affricate, but I have a longstanding tendency to pronounce long vowels short in Latinate borrowings.

Lichen I know I said /ˈlɪʧn̩/ until I looked up the word because I was curious about its etymology (which I have since forgotten completely).

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Re: Incorrect pronunciations you have (or have had) to unlea

Post by Soap »

linguoboy wrote:
Sumelic wrote:
linguoboy wrote:chitin (just heard a friend get this wrong recently)

Which part--the "ch"? Apparently, it's somewhat common for people to use /tʃ/ in "lichen", which seems wrong to me. But we all use /tʃ/ in "cherub(im)", so nobody has a totally solid basis for arguing against the use of /tʃ/ in such words.

/ˈʧɪtɪn/

IIRC, I knew enough not to pronounce the <ch> as an affricate, but I have a longstanding tendency to pronounce long vowels short in Latinate borrowings.

Lichen I know I said /ˈlɪʧn̩/ until I looked up the word because I was curious about its etymology (which I have since forgotten completely).
I say /laɪ.ʧən/. I think I picked it up from a teacher and just now found this thread and realized it was wrong.

I've heard people go the other way with "lich", making it a homophone of "lick". I think theyre assuming that it's an imported word, perhaps because it doesnt have a "t" before the "ch".
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Re: Incorrect pronunciations you have (or have had) to unlea

Post by linguoboy »

Soap wrote:I've heard people go the other way with "lich", making it a homophone of "lick". I think theyre assuming that it's an imported word, perhaps because it doesnt have a "t" before the "ch".

Same. It could also be because so much associated vocabulary is borrowed.

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Re: Incorrect pronunciations you have (or have had) to unlea

Post by Zaarin »

Soap wrote:
linguoboy wrote:
Sumelic wrote:
linguoboy wrote:chitin (just heard a friend get this wrong recently)

Which part--the "ch"? Apparently, it's somewhat common for people to use /tʃ/ in "lichen", which seems wrong to me. But we all use /tʃ/ in "cherub(im)", so nobody has a totally solid basis for arguing against the use of /tʃ/ in such words.

/ˈʧɪtɪn/

IIRC, I knew enough not to pronounce the <ch> as an affricate, but I have a longstanding tendency to pronounce long vowels short in Latinate borrowings.

Lichen I know I said /ˈlɪʧn̩/ until I looked up the word because I was curious about its etymology (which I have since forgotten completely).
I say /laɪ.ʧən/. I think I picked it up from a teacher and just now found this thread and realized it was wrong.

I've heard people go the other way with "lich", making it a homophone of "lick". I think theyre assuming that it's an imported word, perhaps because it doesnt have a "t" before the "ch".

That got me wondering if lich might be etymologically related to laik (see Éowyn's epithet for the Lord of the Nazgûl: dwimmerlaik), but it appears to come from a term meaning "play," not "revenant" (i.e., suggesting that the Captain of the Nine is a plaything of necromancy).
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Re: Incorrect pronunciations you have (or have had) to unlea

Post by finlay »

oh god i had to look that word up (chitin) when I was reading a book because i'd never seen it before and i still ended up pronouncing it wrong...

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Re: Incorrect pronunciations you have (or have had) to unlea

Post by jal »

linguoboy wrote:Lichen I know I said /ˈlɪʧn̩/ until I looked up the word because I was curious about its etymology (which I have since forgotten completely).

etymonline wrote:from Latin lichen, from Greek leichen "tree-moss, lichen," originally "what eats around itself," probably from leichein "to lick" (from PIE root *leigh- "to lick").


I'm currently reading a book about dinosaurs. It's so full of scientific terms I probably "pronounce" every other word wrong.


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Re: Incorrect pronunciations you have (or have had) to unlea

Post by linguoboy »

finlay wrote:oh god i had to look that word up (chitin) when I was reading a book because i'd never seen it before and i still ended up pronouncing it wrong...

They even got it wrong on Doctor Who back in the day. Barry Letts got a fan letter that read, "The reason I'm writin' is how to say 'chitin'."

Most recent word I got wrong was apoptosis. I assumed antepenultimate stress by analogy with words like apocalypse, apostrophe, and apocryphal when the correct models are medical terms like thrombosis and acidosis.

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Re: Incorrect pronunciations you have (or have had) to unlea

Post by Sumelic »

linguoboy wrote:IIRC, I knew enough not to pronounce the <ch> as an affricate, but I have a longstanding tendency to pronounce long vowels short in Latinate borrowings.


linguoboy wrote:
finlay wrote:oh god i had to look that word up (chitin) when I was reading a book because i'd never seen it before and i still ended up pronouncing it wrong...

They even got it wrong on Doctor Who back in the day. Barry Letts got a fan letter that read, "The reason I'm writin' is how to say 'chitin'."

As far as I know, there isn't even any particularly strong reason for the standard pronunciation of chitin having /aɪ/ instead of /ɪ/; that's just how it is. The pronunciation of the first vowel letter in trochees with a ...VCV... spelling pattern is pretty unpredictable; for example, the word syrinx for whatever reason standardly has /ɪ/, even though the similar meninx standardly has the "long vowel" /iː/. Other words with /ɪ/ in this context include bigot, Britain, Briton, rigo(u)r (although rigor in the medical sense is sometimes pronounced with /aɪ/), spigot, syrup and vicar; also, words pronounced with another "short" vowel before -in specifically do exist, such as genin, resin, rosin.

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Re: Incorrect pronunciations you have (or have had) to unlea

Post by Vijay »

Sumelic wrote:As far as I know, there isn't even any particularly strong reason for the standard pronunciation of chitin having /aɪ/ instead of /ɪ/; that's just how it is.

I want there to be some chitin in ginkgo.

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Re: Incorrect pronunciations you have (or have had) to unlea

Post by linguoboy »

So I just learned that Konkani is pronounced [kõkɳi] in the language itself. All this time I've been saying /kahn'kaniy/.

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Re: Incorrect pronunciations you have (or have had) to unlea

Post by Vijay »

It's just like Romani. :)

I only know it's [kõkɳi] because one of my neighbors speaks it. When I was growing up, she and my mom hung out a lot, so of course, her kids hung out with me a lot. They were among the very few kids that did, and I soon ended up going to school with them.
Last edited by Vijay on Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Incorrect pronunciations you have (or have had) to unlea

Post by Pole, the »

linguoboy wrote:So I just learned that Konkani is pronounced [kõkɳi] in the language itself. All this time I've been saying /kahn'kaniy/.

So, Cockney? :P
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Re: Incorrect pronunciations you have (or have had) to unlea

Post by Vijay »

No, no! The nasalized vowel is phonemic! Like in Polish!

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Re: Incorrect pronunciations you have (or have had) to unlea

Post by ˈd̪ʲɛ.gɔ kɾuˑl̪ »

Vijay wrote:No, no! The nasalized vowel is phonemic! Like in Polish!

For many people, including me, it doesn't have any. I think French is a better example.
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Re: Incorrect pronunciations you have (or have had) to unlea

Post by Pole, the »

Ah.

So…

CONKney, then!

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Re: Incorrect pronunciations you have (or have had) to unlea

Post by linguoboy »

Also the vowel in Cockney is considerably lower and more fronted than [o] IMD.

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Re: Incorrect pronunciations you have (or have had) to unlea

Post by Vijay »

Pole, the wrote:CONKney, then!

That's pretty much how I pronounce it, except with a retroflex nasal in the second syllable.

Now I'm curious as to how y'all pronounce the names of other Indian languages. Or do I not want to know? :P (RRR-doo! Canada! Cnawda! TeLOOgoo! Mrothy! My-zo!)

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Re: Incorrect pronunciations you have (or have had) to unlea

Post by linguoboy »

I guess I've been stressing Awadhi all wrong, too.

Spanish, you have so much to answer for.

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Re: Incorrect pronunciations you have (or have had) to unlea

Post by Pole, the »

RRR-doo!

I was quite confused until I realized for Anglophones «ur» is /ɜr/ and for Americans /ɜr/ is [ɹ̩].

Anyway, for most names, I mind-pronounce them “as written” in Polish, potentially with some adjustments, so [bɛnˈɡali], [ˈurdu], [ˈtamil], [ˈxindi], [punˈdʒabi], [ɡudʒaˈrati], [maˈratθi], [ˈsindði].
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Re: Incorrect pronunciations you have (or have had) to unlea

Post by Vijay »

linguoboy wrote:I guess I've been stressing Awadhi all wrong, too.

Spanish, you have so much to answer for.

Awadhi sounds like the Malayalam word for 'day off', except of course that in Malayalam, very few people actually pronounce it with a breathy voiced stop. :P (They probably wouldn't pronounce Awadhi with one, either).

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Re: Incorrect pronunciations you have (or have had) to unlea

Post by Io »

linguoboy wrote:Most recent word I got wrong was apoptosis. I assumed antepenultimate stress by analogy with words like apocalypse, apostrophe, and apocryphal when the correct models are medical terms like thrombosis and acidosis.

When I first read the word I assumed penultimate but then I realised antepenultimate is perfectly plausible too and that's how it is indeed in Greek. I know you're basing it on Latin but when I see a Greek word I just interpret it through Greek and btw there's something really unintuitive about Greek stress I almost always get it wrong with unknown words, especially toponyms, if the stress isn't marked. No wonder so many people going on holidays to Greece keep mispronouncing the places they've been to multiple times.

Eye-bee-tha anyone?

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Re: Incorrect pronunciations you have (or have had) to unlea

Post by Sumelic »

Io wrote:
linguoboy wrote:Most recent word I got wrong was apoptosis. I assumed antepenultimate stress by analogy with words like apocalypse, apostrophe, and apocryphal when the correct models are medical terms like thrombosis and acidosis.

When I first read the word I assumed penultimate but then I realised antepenultimate is perfectly plausible too and that's how it is indeed in Greek. I know you're basing it on Latin but when I see a Greek word I just interpret it through Greek and btw there's something really unintuitive about Greek stress I almost always get it wrong with unknown words, especially toponyms, if the stress isn't marked.

The topic of stress for -osis words just came up in the "How do You Pronounce X" thread. Almost all of these words do appear to follow Latin in using penult stress (which follows from the Latin stress rule and the original length of the "o"), but there is one word that is an exception (for most people), metamorphosis. More generally, while polysyllabic -sis words seem to follow the Latin stress rule based on the Greek quantity by default, there are many other puzzling exceptions like "myiasis", which the OED says is "Brit. /ˈmʌɪ(ɪ)əsɪs/, /mʌɪɪˈeɪsɪs/" with the suffix "< Latin -ăsis, Greek -σις [sic!]", and other -asis words in general, which for some reason always seem to be pronounced as if the "a" were short in Latin, even when they come from words with a long alpha in Greek. I still haven't figured out what pronunciation I want to use for "myiasis", although I'm leaning most towards /ˈmaɪ.əsɪs/ as my understanding is that the "yi" represents a Greek diphthong rather than separate vowels in hiatus.

One thing that annoys me is when people pronounce apoptosis as "apotosis" because the word ptosis is pronounced "tosis". It's not like we pronounce helicopter as "helicoter", even though "pterodactyl" is "terodactyl". But I guess I don't have much of a leg to stand on because, on the other hand, I don't pronounce the p in "antipsychotic" or "biopsychology". Debate about the pronunciation of apoptosis is recorded in its OED entry, which indicates that the "p"-less pronunciation is actually the original one, although I find the supposed pedagogical advantage that motivated the choice of this pronunciation unconvincing:

OED wrote:1972 J. F. R. Kerr et al. in Brit. Jrnl. Cancer 26 241 (note) We are most grateful to Professor James Cormack of the Department of Greek, University of Aberdeen, for suggesting this term. The word ‘apoptosis’ (ἁπόπτωσισ) [sic [this 'sic' is from the OED, not from me]] is used in Greek to describe the ‘dropping off’ or ‘falling off’ of petals from flowers, or leaves from trees. To show the derivation clearly, we proposed that the stress should be on the penultimate syllable, the second half of the word being pronounced like ‘ptosis’ (with the ‘p’ silent), which comes from the same root ‘to fall’, and is already used to describe drooping of the upper eyelid.

On the pronunciation compare also:
1994 Nature 28 Sept. 98/2 The ‘p’ in ptosis is silent, and on that basis students are commonly exhorted to pronounce apoptosis as apo'tosis... The silent ‘p’, however, appears neither correct nor attractive in words in which the Greek-derived ‘pt’ occurs in the middle of a composite word.

Kerr et al.'s argument seems to me to be based on the same kind of rejection of any kind of allomorphy that causes some people to insist that "KIL-ometer" must be preferable to "ki-LOM-eter", because the stress goes on the same part of the prefix as in "KIL-ogram". While I don't particularly object to KIL-ometer, ki-LOM-eter follows the same pattern as psy-CHOL-logy (vs. PSY-chopath) and many other words, so I think it's kind of misguided to denounce it as an illogical or corrupt, or to insist that it is an undesirable pronunciation. I didn't even know the word "ptosis" or its Greek etymon when I first encountered the word apoptosis, so hearing the p-less pronunciation wouldn't have made the derivation any clearer for me at all.
Last edited by Sumelic on Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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