Archive for the ‘Pronunciation’ Category

I took an extra year in Spanish in high school because I loved my teacher.

He was a former Army guy, ascerbic but witty, coach of the junior varsity boys’ basketball team and to correct my behavior would have me stand in a corner and contemplate the “transcendental dot of meditation” (though still requiring me to read my vocabulary assignment aloud like the rest of the class).

He also kept a container on his desk labeled “Potted Possum.” He loved perpetuating the naive belief among students that it was real.

In the end, I have to thank him, because he taught me valuable life lessons about how to deal with difficult people (meaning me) and helped test me out of foreign language in college (though I can’t say the same about having take remedial math).

In any case, I find today, almost two decades later, that his legacy continues.

I wish I could say that it meant I could speak fluent Spanish. I can’t, though I can generally make out basic written communication.

What I’m certainly left with is the ability to pronounce Spanish words.

When I read the name “Roberto” out loud, I say, “Roe-BARE-tow,” instead of “Ruh-bur-tow.”

I’m sure Roberto appreciates that.

But ancillary legacy is pronouncing English words – or in many cases, Americanized proper names for companies — as if they were Spanish words.

I just can’t help it in my mind when I read the sponsor name – an insurance company – given to the Seattle Mariners’ professional baseball stadium.

“Safeco Field.”

It’s “SAFE-coe.” And that’s the way I say it out loud.

But I doubt there will ever come a time when I don’t hear it in my head as “Sah-FAY-coe.”

Thanks, Coach McIntyre!


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I remember thinking some years back about one of my cousins back home and how she has such a deep Southern accent that she almost sounds British.

And when you think about it, it almost makes sense. At one time, not too long ago when you really think about it, everyone spoke that way here.

And with the isolation of the rural South, it’s logical to think that the Southern accent might not have Americanized like others have.

Which goes to show that the South, in some far, remote locales, can resemble its own country.

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So, Daylight Saving Time went into effect today — two weeks earlier than normal.

It really threw me for one. It was my turn to work weekend duty, which means you have to get to work at 6:30 a.m., something that’s nowhere near on my schedule.

It had to be the worst weekend other than Christmas to get.

When I woke up Sunday morning and the alarm clock read 5:55 a.m., I was only five hours removed from when we set the clocks ahead an hour. So, I actually woke up at 4:55 a.m.

This particular turn of events has me thinking of Daylight Saving Time more than usual.

And it makes me wonder: Why don’t we call it Daylight Savings Time?

That’s how we say it, anyway. “Savings” not “saving.”

Why not spell it like we say it? Because we have to be official?

Or maybe we should just get rid of it, at least on the weekends I have to work.

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Aye Eye, Captain

Being lazy, I always go for the easiest pronunciation of something, which is difficult when you find yourself saying words such as Bremsstrahlung, so I don’t understand why some people go for the long drawn out aye instead of plain old i (as in ‘Dan is a prick.’)

Aye-rack and ant-eye are examples, although, ant-eye gets a dinner-pass from teacher because whilst some people may have an Aunty Social, she probably isn’t.

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