Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Words I Can't Decide How to Pronounce
Pecan — Is it me, or does "pe-CAN" sound low rent and "pe-CAHN" sound like low-rent trying to sound high-rent?
Apricot — I wouldn’t care if I didn’t have an apricot tree in my backyard and if I did not, every year, have a friend ask if she can come over to pick “APE-ricots.”
Err — Traditionalists say it rhymes with “spur.” But no one knows that, so everyone pronounces it “air.” That’s why the dictionary allows both. Still, I’m not comfortable saying it either way.
Niche — The preferred pronunciation rhymes with “itch.” But, sorry, Webster’s, I like “neesh.” So I wish you’d stop making me feel bad about it.
Caribbean — This one is only a problem when it follows “Pirates of.” In every other usage, it’s cuh-RIB-be-an, but when Disney’s involved, it’s care-ib-BEE-an.
Forte — I once read a rather obnoxious installment of the obnoxious comic strip “Mallard Fillmore” in which the author demanded it’s pronounced “fort.” And my Webster’s agrees. But, come on. If you say, “Accounting is not my fort,” it’s almost guaranteed you’ll elicit the quip, “And English is not your garrison.” Seems to me that "for-tay" is the new "forte."
Casagrande — Yeah, I know. I’m working on it.