Friday, September 24, 2010

correct, yet still bothersome, spelling and pronunciation

It grates on me every time I see "forego" used in place of "forgo" (to do without). "Forego" is actually a legitimate alternative spelling ("Let's forego the appetizer"), but it still doesn't feel right to me. I prefer to see "forego" used in the sense of "precede," e.g., "the foregoing remarks."

Another one: "kerfluffle" instead of the more common "kerfuffle." This reads like a misspelling that proliferated until it entered the ranks of "received" English. I suspect that many writers of "kerfluffle" have misread "kerfuffle," and have only inadvertently arrived at the alternative spelling, unaware of the more common way to write the word.

On the pronunciation front: just about every word Paula Deen says sounds like a mispronunciation to my mid-Atlantic ears, even though I know her accent is perfectly legitimate. (Linguistics is one of those fields in which it's OK to say, "How could millions of people be wrong?") Her "Hey, y'all!" often sounds, to me, like a countrified "Hell!" She begins every broadcast with an invocation of the infernal-- an impression reinforced by her obvious love of butter-- the ultimate "drag me to hell" ingredient.

I'm trying to think of more examples of legitimate pronunciations that sound like mistaken pronunciation, but nothing's coming to me right now, aside from US English renderings of foreign words: "eye rack" for Iraq (a topic unto itself), or just about any Korean surname butchered by a non-Korean speaker. "How do you do, Mr. Daaawwwng??"

What are your spelling and pronunciation peeves?



Justin said...


Kevin Kim said...

I love it. But is "NEWKYULER" actually considered correct pronunciation? Or is it in the same phonetic backwater as "Here comes the CALVARY!"?

Perhaps I opened the door to "NEWKYULER" when I talked about Paula Deen.


Justin said...

I think your mention of "eye rack" spurred memories of dubya.