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Pacific is an Ocean

March 13, 2012

What is it with mispronounced words? I suppose we all do it from time to time, but I like to think it’s because we’ve run across a new word or a difficult word, not an everyday word we’ve heard a million times in our lifetimes. Is there an excuse for mispronouncing a common word we’ve heard a million times in our lifetimes? I’m a fairly tolerant person, but I don’t know if there is.

The world could be ending, but if there’s weather happening in Minnesota then that’s what people are going to be talking about and it just so happens there’s weather happening in Minnesota right now and so I had this conversation with a guy – who will remain anonymous for personal protection – this morning.

GUY: It’s going to be in the 70’s this week.
ME: Yeah, I heard (Can’t you see I’m reading?)
GUY: That is so strange for this early in March.
ME: I know, it’s crazy (When someone is reading that generally means they don’t want to be interrupted. And I don’t want to talk about the weather.)
GUY: Well, it’s good for me because I can start my part-time job sooner.
ME: (I am so uninterested in your part-time job) What’s your part-time job?
GUY: I maintain the beach for my association.
ME: Mmmm… (Forget the weather; I don’t want to talk to you.)
GUY: It pays $15 an hour and that comes in handy.
ME: Pays for gas for the boat, huh?
GUY: I wish.
ME: (What do I say now? I wish you would leave so I can go back to reading comes to mind, but I can’t say that. But really, do leave now. Just stand up and leave because you sort of smell like wet hay.)
GUY: Do you have any vacation plans for this summer?
ME: (Huh? It’s only March!) No, I’ll probably just take afternoons off here and there. (I know you don’t want to say it, but go ahead, you have to)  – – – (I said you have to!) How about you?
GUY: Nothing pacific yet, but I’ll probably…

My mind screeches to a halt and all I can hear is “Nothing pacific”. Tell me you really didn’t say “pacific”. You’re an adult in his mid-50’s and you’ve never heard the word “specific” before? You’ve never said the word, “specific” before?

Goofy mispronunciations don’t really bother me, but they they’re bizarre and I don’t know how people say them. Like Pacific for Specific. Flustrated for Frustrated. Valentime’s for Valentine’s. Bobbed Wire for Barbed Wire. Take for Granite for Take for Granted. The list goes on and you’re welcome to add more if you have them.

I like to purposely mispronounce words. For example, if I’m at the grocery store with someone I might purposely mispronounce mustard as “myoústard”, or I might pronounce Schweppes Ginger Ale as “Schwepp-es” or margarine as “mar-jér-in”. I do that because I like to see if other people notice and react. They usually never do because this is Minnesota and we’re polite here.

Anyway, there’s something, I don’t know what it is, about mispronounced common words that’s just sort of strange and disturbing and better left unsaid.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. Fordy permalink
    March 13, 2012 9:49 am


    I love how you tell a story.

    Your posts are a welcome excape; everybody I aks agrees. I’d look for a collection of your posts at the libary!.


    • Michael Fishman permalink
      March 15, 2012 6:45 am

      Now wouldn’t that be a good idea (about the library)! Thanks for stopping by D.A., it’s always a special surprise when I see you’ve left me a comment!


  2. March 13, 2012 1:32 pm

    One time I got really sick on my birfday and I had to go to the hospital in the bam-bulance. The nurse ax me all kinda questions, but I told her that I just fell out. I don’t know why. Later, I was watching “Say yes to the Dress” on TV, and the girl said she loved the dress because of all the sequin-ations. But I couldn’t know extatly what she pacifically was talking about. Once on American Idol, Diana Ross was giving the kids advice, and she told one girl that her mod-gerlation was a little off.


    • Michael Fishman permalink
      March 15, 2012 6:44 am

      Ma’am, are you trying to make me lose my mind and make my ears start bleeding LOL! 🙂


  3. CELT permalink
    March 13, 2012 2:01 pm

    My mom could never pronounce “ambulance” (She always blamed it on her dentures but I don’t know about that…) – It always came out “amBLIance”. My hubby always confuses “thong” and “tong” for sometimes amusing results. I remember as a teen being laughed at by my boyfriend for saying I am “used of” instead of “used to” (a lesson I never forgot and I never make that mistake again). I think we all have these little idiosyncratic speech/word mistakes that usually are developed as kids and they just “stick”. There’s usually no point in even correcting people because even if it is done in a nice, well-meaning way, sometimes they swear up and down their way is the right way and it’s usually not worth trying to prove otherwise. Personally I have become anal about spelling, grammar, and punctuation AFTER finishing school. It must be the frustrated writer in me 😉 But, having said that, I still depend on spellcheck and a dictionary when I am unsure, LOL. And, even THEN, I STILL make typos!


    • Michael Fishman permalink
      March 15, 2012 6:41 am

      I agree, there’s no point in correcting people on mispronunciations. I suppose some of them could also be regional or because of accents. Like I know here when people are ill and don’t go into work they “call in sick” to work and in other parts of the country people “call out sick” to work. It sounds strange to me to call out sick, but then “soda” also sounds strange to my “pop” ears!


      • March 16, 2012 12:12 am

        Both “soda” and “pop” sound strange to my ears. Around here we call it a “Soft Drink”. (One assumes as opposed to a “hard drink” which would probably involve alcohol.)


  4. March 13, 2012 4:29 pm

    Kinchen, the room where you prepare food
    left go, when let go is meant
    yous, instead of all of you or all y’all
    Batree, instead of battery
    draws, instead of drawers
    worf, instead of worth

    There are many more…flustrated is a bad one…it frustrates me and then I get all flustered.

    This list is really endless, I like made up words that people use, but just not knowing they are saying it wrong is like nails on a chalkboard.


    • Michael Fishman permalink
      March 15, 2012 6:32 am

      The list is endless, you’re right! I think “Batree” would drive me crazy!


  5. March 14, 2012 9:10 pm

    My big pet peeve is I Seen. “I seen him at the store the other day” or, even worse, I SEEN-T it happen on TV!” You SAW you SAW things happen and you SAW him at the store. I’m not a grammar nazi by any stretch, but that one makes me cringe.


  6. March 16, 2012 1:16 pm

    Holy crapanoly, I really am you–with boobs.

    “Expecially” bugs me, as does, “supposebly.” I know a woman who says “dethawed,” which makes me a little batty. I’m always tempted to look at her with the pinched face of a dour third teacher, suggest “thawed” or “defrosted,” and then mention that while dethawed isn’t a word, if it were, it would translate to “frozen,” the exact opposite of what she means to say.

    I would have had a hard time not responding to “Nothing pacific…” with, “You don’t like the west coast?”


    • Michael Fishman permalink
      March 18, 2012 7:07 am

      “Supposebly” is another one I hear from someone I know and it drives me crazy, too. I like “dethaw” but it makes me think of Tweety Bird. “I taught I dethaw a puddy cat.”


  7. March 17, 2012 11:22 am

    Here is my contribution:
    “unbernella” – umbrella
    “comunfotable” in place of uncomfortable – “constipate” – concentrate: I often do these two on purpose to see if there is a reaction.
    I don’t like hearing ” I don’t know nothing” or “nuffink”. The double negative drives me crazy.
    I was brought up to say “different from” and “similar to” but now “different to” is acceptable, but not “similar from”.
    This has been a fun post although I understand everyones frustrations here.


    • Michael Fishman permalink
      March 18, 2012 7:03 am

      I think I might try ‘constipate’ at some point instead of ‘concentrate’ to see what kind of reaction I get!


  8. janesinfinitewisdom permalink
    March 17, 2012 7:25 pm

    I sometimes say asparagus like Bugs Bunny – a-spar-A-gus (emphasis on the 3rd syllable). Mostly because I think it’s a hoot.

    The one word that truly grates for me though is “warsh” for wash. It makes me absolutely nutty and I do not need any help with the nuts.


    • Michael Fishman permalink
      March 18, 2012 7:01 am

      I like that one for asparagus and am adding it to my repetoire now. Warsh makes no sense to me. I can understand saying the ‘t’ in often because at least it’s there, but where is the ‘r’ in wash?!


  9. March 19, 2012 11:51 am

    nuclear mispronounced nuke-u-lar.
    what are you STUPID??????


    • Michael Fishman permalink
      March 21, 2012 10:30 am

      There’s a good presidential punch line to that question!


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