Words that native English speakers mispronounce
December 30, 2007 6:25 AM Subscribe
I'm a native speaker of English but I pronounce some words incorrectly. What other words am I pronouncing wrong?
posted by pravit to Writing & Language (147 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
Some time ago at a gathering of friends, I mentioned "tire iron" and was greeted with hysterical laughter. You see, I pronounce the word "iron" as "eye-run", and everyone thought it was funny because apparently "tire iron" is supposed to rhyme and the correct pronunciation of "iron" is "eye-urn." I had never heard of this before, but I checked dictionaries and it really is the right pronunciation for both British and American English, alas.
There have been a number of similar incidents with the words "heifer", "heir", and "cache", which I pronounce(d) "high-fer", "hair", and "cay-sh", respectively. There are probably some other words I have a habit of pronouncing incorrectly that I can't recall now.
I consider myself a reasonably educated person, so the only explanation is that I picked up some peculiarities from my parents, who are non-native speakers of English. It seems most of my pronunciation errors are a result of pronouncing words as they are written (as a kid I read a lot and didn't talk much). My English is otherwise completely standard midwestern American.
So, I guess what I'm looking for is a list of words often pronounced wrong by native English speakers or just some anecdotes from other people with the same problem. Thanks!