I can still clearly remember watching an old episode of Friends when I was much younger, which featured a scene in which Chandler explained that he had dumped a girlfriend because she pronounced supposedly as supposably. I immediately had a moment of panic until I reassured myself that I had been pronouncing the word correctly. I had doubted myself for a second because supposably actually sounds quite natural, and I could easily imagine pronouncing it that way without really thinking about it.

Continue reading

Aluminum or Aluminium?

Continuing the themes of the last two days, pronunciation and names, I want to shift focus slightly from issues with pronunciation in a second language, to those native English speakers have with their own tongue. If you search for something like “most annoying mispronunciations,” you’ll find plenty of people venting their frustration. Sometimes, it’s understandable. As I’ve mentioned before, we seem to have an inbuilt resistance to anyone using language differently from us, regardless of which one of us, if either is correct. Other times though, it says more about the person complaining. Here are some of the more common complaints: Continue reading