Simple English ~ Nicola Prentis

Thoughts on ELT, English and whatever else comes into my head

Pronounciation – This evil must stop!

Mispronouncers, I denounce you!

Especially if you’re teachers of English, going into class, irony of ironies, teaching pronounciation. Not only should you renounce your teaching certificate, you should possibly be held in the stocks for a few hours and publicly trounced. I, for one, wouldn’t have an ounce of sympathy for you.

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I’ve recently been in some examiner training courses where teaching professionals who are training to sit in judgement on Non Native Speakers’ English can’t even get it right.

I corrected both culprits. I know I didn’t win myself any friends there but I’m considering myself a martyr to the cause. I was tense all afternoon in case another incident occurred.

Usually there’s nothing I like more than being right. It’s quite likely why I ended up teaching (and not solely because I had no idea what to do with a degree in Philosophy and I wanted to travel) and it’s certainly why at Junior School I was already correcting the grammar of other parents as they were chatting to my mum at the gates.

But the pleasure even of this is sullied by the suspicion that these people are so convinced they’re right, that they won’t even have the good grace to stop once informed. Someone, once tried to tell me “but it’s like enounciation”.

Well…that’s true, but only insofar as they’re both WRONG.

So, if you are likely to encounter withdrawal, I’d like to announce that this text is full of words you can bounce around with abandon.

But please, leave pronunciation as our dictionaries intend it – with an unadorned ‘u’ at its centre, no extra frills or flounces required. It’s perfect as it is.

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15 comments on “Pronounciation – This evil must stop!

  1. Is your beef about the explicit teaching of pronunciation?

    • Nicola
      February 26, 2013

      No, it’s that people mispronounce the word pronunciation, saying it to sound like the verb pronounce which is unequivocally wrong.

  2. Ebefl
    February 28, 2013

    Really though? Isn’t it just a variation? I hear a lot of folks say it,

    • Tyson Seburn
      March 2, 2013

      Where’s your evidence, anecdotal aside? 🙂

      • Nicola
        March 2, 2013

        Not that I need it for something so obvious! I don’t know how easy it would be to prove that water was wet. But if you google it mispelled, google corrects you and takes you to entries for it correctly spelled. If you deselect that and insist it takes you to pronounciation, it still takes you to dictionary websites for the correct entry, suggesting that the incorrect version has, thankfully, not made it into dictionaries based on common usage. There is this but I don’t know how official it is, fairly well known site: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=pronounciation

      • Tyson Seburn
        March 6, 2013

        I’m not sure you’re replying to me, but I was replying to EBEFL, as he is evidence-based EFL after all. 😉

      • Nicola
        March 6, 2013

        Aha, yes. And he kept quiet.Although he’s got a post about language usage that might be a partial answer. Not one I’m convinced by in this case though. I know, I know that pronunciation has changed since Shakespeare’s day to ours…I know it’s not immutable. Sigh.

  3. Nicola
    February 28, 2013

    Absolutely not! It’s not a variation, it’s not in any dictionary. In fact, if you google it, google kindly corrects it for you and finds you the entries spelled/spelt correctly. I accept there are variations in English eg dreamed/dreamt but this really is just a horrifically common error. Go back to all those people you heard and correct them. They won’t like it but you’ll be doing them a great kindness.:)

  4. Tyson Seburn
    March 2, 2013

    It’s awful. It bugs me to no end. Also, I have a coworker who insists on calling IELTS ILETS. Sigh.

    • Nicola
      March 2, 2013

      How can you stand that? I’d have to keep referring to the exam using the full name that the letters stand for and then saying brackets IELTS every time they said it.

      • Tyson Seburn
        March 6, 2013

        At first, I didn’t want to point out her error in front of everyone and spotlight her losing face beyond the fact that everyone groans silently when she says it.

      • Nicola
        March 6, 2013

        Coward! You have a chance to help someone here, I would be grateful if I were her. If she dropped her books, you’d help her right? Well this is a much longer term kind of help. 🙂

  5. Alexandra Ivanoff
    March 5, 2013

    The idiots in American keep saying “ree-la-tur” for “realtor.” Triple UGH.

    • Nicola
      March 5, 2013

      Oh no! You’re not shirking the correctional duties that superior command of your native tongue brings with it I hope? I have you to credit for fixing my less/fewer ignorance for which I’m eternally grateful!

  6. Alexandra Ivanoff
    March 5, 2013

    Of course I meant to type “America.” Ugh to me.

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This entry was posted on February 25, 2013 by in Thoughts and tagged , .
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