A Pronunciation Pronouncement
A friend of mine texted me about a recent moment of “Wheel of Fortune pig Latin,” in which a contestant failed to solve the puzzle because she mispronounced one of the words:
I was supposed to find it humorous, but it stirred up one of my deepest editor fears: mispronunciation.
Like most editors, a significant portion of my vocabulary was developed through reading—not listening. Yes, I look up unfamiliar words, using the dictionary pronunciation guide or clicking the handy speaker icon to hear the audio pronunciation in an online dictionary. I do general pronunciation homework, too, both reading (e.g., “50 Incorrect Pronunciations That You Should Avoid”) and listening (e.g., Pronunciation Book). But what if a pictureskay still slips through my net of pronunciation preparation?
Mis-pro-nown-see-ay-shun! The horror! The humiliation! The ... entirely unremarkable occurrence in the life of one who deals with a goodly number of printed words day in and day out. That’s right, editors, I’m setting aside the anxiety of an occasional mispronunciation and encouraging you to do the same. Do your homework. Do your best. But don’t be afraid to speak up and speak out. You know what the words mean and how to use them. A mispronunciation or two is not a sign of a seriously impaired vocabulary or poor editing skills.*
Sometimes, mispronunciation can even be inexplicably hilarious:
* Just this week, I was complimented on my pronunciation of gnocchi and corrected on Frangelico. Neither unduly impressed nor mortified, I enjoyed the lovely meal and feel certain I could edit the cannoli out of that menu anytime I'm called on to do so. Or, more accurately, keep the cannoli and edit out the canolli.
Image courtesy of yugenro.