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Suprisingly Common Mispronounced Words And How To Pronounce Them Correctly - Literature - Nairaland

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Suprisingly Common Mispronounced Words And How To Pronounce Them Correctly by joaquin64(m): 12:26am On Dec 21, 2013
I have been privileged enough to travel around the world, live in many different countries and study many different cultures. I have always been a stickler for perfect pronunciation of words most especially in English and within many of the other languages I have come to learn. This is why I watch a lot of movies, interviews etc and I particularly listen hard to improve my pronunciation skills. Many of us back home may think this of little importance till you begin to venture into the world out there and realize how undeveloped our English speaking skills are especially if you begin to travel a lot. Nigerian pidgin English is great, but in many ways has destroyed the way we should pronounce certain words. The earlier you start correcting them, the better for you.

I decided to spell out how it should be correctly pronounced using examples and sound-alike words and not the regular phonetic transcriptions you find in dictionaries to make for easier understanding. Stress too is of utmost importance in pronouncing words but I will not analyze much of it in my examples unless absolutely necessary. The examples I used are words that are mostly used in everyday English and also modern art, music, fashion, food, culture, etc. Without further ado, you may be surprised at some of the words because all your life you thought you pronounced it correctly until now...

Pronunciation: It is sad how many of us think it is "Pro-NOWN-see-ay shun". The correct thing is Pro-NUN-see-ay-shun.
Certificate: The "ate" is not pronounced the way you think. I know, lol, as Nigerians we make this mistake a lot. It is pronounced "certifi-KET. Yeah, in a way, Ibo people have the perfect accent for this word lol!
Candidate: The same applies for a candidate in an election. It is pronounced "Can-di-dit" not "date" At your own time check a dictionary also to learn where the proper stress falls. Stress is very very important! Learn.
Espresso: As in coffee is pronounced "ih-spres-oh"
Lettuce: It is pronounced as LET-iss not LAY-tews as we Nigerians usually do.
Epitome: Now this word right here is one of the most wrongly pronounced word in English. And i have seen many writers especially those that criticize politics, use this word a lot. Many say "Eh-pee-tome (tome as in dome)". Wrong! It is "ih-pi-te-mi" The stress is on "ih". Now you know!
Albeit: In English this means 'although' albeit mostly used in writing and not speaking. However, the correct pronunciation is "Awl-bee-it"
Affidavit: Ahhh, Nigerians lol. Don't lie you all know this word as "ah-fee-dah-veet" abi? Fail! It is "Ah-fee-Dei-vit". Yes, Dei as in david!
Lambaste: This word is popular with Nigerians when they want to talk about how a teacher or friend lambasted that guy the other day as in "insulted". Firstly it doesn't necessarily mean insult but it means to criticize someone harshly so in a way Nigerians use it right lol. But where we fail totally is how its pronounced. It is NOT "Lam-bahst" is it "Lam-BEISTe" the "BEI" as in "Bake or paste".
Mischievous: Popular word, popular pronunciation fail worldwide! It is NOT pronounced "MIS-chee-vee-us" as we almost every single Nigerian including myself does or did, but it is pronounced "mis-CHI-ves". As you can see, the stress is on the CHI not MIS like many nigerians do and it is a 3 syllable word not 4! Simple, mis-CHI-ves.
Alumnae: It is not "Ah-loo-mee-nai" as we usually say in Naija it is "A-lum-NEE".
Vehicle: Ehen, this word, I am sorry is there to stay forever in Naija vocab. It is cool in Nigeria to say "VEH-HEE-KOOL" but if you are out there or you are communicating with learned people, please stay away from that pronunciation. The correct thing is "VEE-ikl" Simple and straight. Only 2 syllables not 3! Learn.
Prescription: For those regular drug buyers, take note of both spelling and pronunciation, it is "PREE-scription" and not "PERR-scription".
Peremptory: The same goes for we students of politics and anything connected that uses this words constantly to describe war tactics (I must confess i am a major victim of this error), it is PER-emptory strike and not PRE-emptory.
Haute Couture: Nigerians wey una like fashion, learn this one because I see many celebrities on TV speak and I feel terribly sad for them because to you guys that are less aware, they may seem exposed and speak "funneh" (eg Tonto) but are pronouncing all their words wrong and their stresses are all over the place. Haute Couture is correctly pronounced like "Oht Koo-tewr" (the 'h' is silent) and not "Hot Kor-CHEW" lol. If I probably said this with my Ibo accent you would understand what i really meant and probably laugh hard.
Regardless: This is no pronunciation error but just want to point out (as i have seen many use here in their articles) there is absolutely no English word like "irregardless". None! It is regardless. End of story.
Anyway: Big error in Nigeria especially on whatsapp and bbm chats. There is NO word like "Anyways" in English, it is anyway. Simple. No adding any 's' to it. Lol. I know it is usually sweeter to use "anyways" in our daily chats but as a result of this many don't even know it is totally wrong. Learn now and don't go using it in formal letters or speeches.
Laud: It is never pronounced "lawud" or "loud" the correct pronunciation is "Lod".
Nuptial: Chics! You people that want to marry, I have heard many say "Noop-shal". Please! For the love of all things decent, it is pronounced "Nup-SHul". For those into phonetics, the "u" there represents the upside down e sound or the schwa sound.
Ennui: If you don't know what this word means, sorry. Take SAT, GMAT or GRE you will definitely get to know it. It is pronounced "ON-wee" and not "Eh-NU-wee".
Forte: Now the common pronunciation of this word is a big, big error around the world. There are two ways it is correctly pronounced. One is "FOR-TAY" (which is the common and most widely used) and the other is "FORT". Where we make a mistake is using the pronunciation "FORT-AY" to mean strength or highest skill at something which is wrong. "FOR-TAY" means loud while when we refer to a persons strength or skill at something we actually should pronounce the word as "FORT". However, nobody really cares anymore! If you told them they were wrong, trust me, you are the one that would end up looking terribly stupid even though you are definitely and 100% correct.

So, since I know many Nigerians travel to the UK a lot, the following series of words are for you JJC's going to the UK, it maybe best for you to pay attention to the next set of words before you go there and eff up loool. But don't worry, even many of the Nigerians that live there make these common errors themselves because they have decided to remain ignorant. Dont be like them, learn now!
Leicester Square: It is pronounced "Leh-ste(r)" not "Leh-Cheh-stah" as I have heard newbies (especially ibos, no offense I am ibo too looool) say.
Worcestershire:This one is tricky but easy too. Firstly know many UK names have the word "Shire" in its end, it is pronounced "Sheer" or "Shur" and never "Shaya" like you may be tempted to say as a Nigerian or even an American. So Worcestershire should be pronounced as "WOO-ste(r)-sheer". Don't ask me why its that way, just learn!
Holborn: It is pronounced "Hoe-bo(r)n" Please don't go say "hall-born", they may understand you but you would end up looking like that tourist you too would probably hate too!
Greenwich: Ahhh, now this should be a word you must be familiar with even if you have never been to the UK before. Remember GMT? Greenwich mean time? Cool. Now, it is pronounced "GREN-ich" please do not go there and say "GREEN-witch" oh! The 'w' is silent. You could also hear some over there say "GRIN-ich" which is ok too. As a personal rule, when 'w' is within a word and comes before a vowel, it is silent. It is what I have noticed.
Southwark: Pronounced "Suth-uck" not "Sawuth-Wak" as a Nigerian may be tempted to say. lol
Loughborough: Pronounced "Luff-Bra". Take am like that, don't ask why. Just say it as i write it and you will be perfectly correct.
Edinburgh: It is pronounced "Eh-din-BURRA" not "Eh-din-BORG" oh!
Plymouth: It is pronounced "Pli-Muth". the 'u' is like the uh in Sun or fun.
River Thames: The popular river in London is pronounced "Temz" no go say River "Thay-mus" oh. Keep it simple. Tehmz.
Tottenham: Many of us should know this especially those who watch football. Pronounced "Tott-nam" with the 'a' almost even silent. Dont go saying "Tott-en-HAM". You may be laughed at!
Warwick: It is pronounced "WHA-rik" not "WOR-wick". The "WHA" pronounced like the 'wha' in "what".
Ralph Fiennes: He is a popular british actor played Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter. His name is pronounced "rEIf fai-ns" not "RALF Fee-enns". The "rEI" as in "ray" and the "fai" as in "Fire".
Quay: This English word is pronounced "kEE" not "Kay" or "Ku-way". kEE!

Finally lets go into modern culture and popular words, brands etc we come across on TV.
Joaquin: This is my middle name, my nairaland user name too and a popular American actors name Joaquin Phoenix whose new movie (Titled 'Her') may soon be showing in your cinemas. Nigerians (especially Catholics) pronounce it as JOE-AH-KWEEN. Fail! It is pronounced "Woh-keen" (woh as in what)
Zooey Deschanel: Know her? From the popular TV show 'The New Girl'? Her name is not DES-CHA-NEL as i have heard a few Nigerians say. It is Zoe-E Day-Shanel. The 'Day' is pronounced like the french particle 'de'.
Jake Gyllenhaal: is pronounced GEE-len-hall (GEE as in a flock of geese) not Dji-len-hall.
Dr. Seuss: This would surprise many that know who Dr Seuss is (if you don't you may take some time and Google him, get exposed a little). We all pronounce his name as Dr. SEW-ss but in reality his name is German and the correct pronunciation is SOICE or ZOICE as in rejoice. i know right?!!
Chipotle: It is a popular Mexican chain restaurant for those who have been to the states and it is also means smoked chilli. It is pronounced CHI-POT-LAY.
Bvlgari: Nigerians again and designers. Get this one right now! Bulgari is "BUUl-gah-ri" (stress is on buul) and many Nigerians actually do get it right. To the ones that fail, please, it is not VOOL-gari or worse, VALL-gahri as you may have thought dropping the 'B' was appropriate since many foreign words have soundless letters. This time, sorry, the B is definitely not silent.
Versace: Lol, now this word right here has sent man Ibo village girls (sorry, lol, I am ibo too so no offense) to obodoyibo to embarrass our lot. I was in Italy a few months back and I really wanted to know the real pronunciation and I was told it is "VER-SAH-CHAY" or VER-SAH-CHEH" (eh as in egg). Actually there is almost a blend or similarity between Chay and Cheh. But the wrong pronunciation which Nigerians are fond of is "VEH-sah-chi". This is totally wrong. Please do not go out there and use it. Stick to "Ver-sah-chay" to be safe (as I have heard Donatella Versace pronounce it this way in her interviews)
Givenchy: It is pronounced Jhee-Von-Shee.
Louis Vuitton: is pronounced Loo-i Vwee-ton.
Ralph Laurent: is pronounced Ralf Lorr-uhn. The 't' is silent. Learn your french!
Mercedes Benz: This one is tricky because thanks to the Americans many car names have been messed up from their original form. They say "Meh-SAY-dis Behnz" but the correct pronunciation is "Mur-SEE-dus Bents". I have been to Germany a lot so I know I am not perfect in transcribing the exact pronunciation but I am not far from being right!
Hyundai: Lol, I blame my dad for this one but I learned fast enough much later because I like cars a lot. Nigerians grow up to call it "HAYON-Die". Fail. Know it now. It is "HYUN-Dei" (Dei as in date)
Volkswagen: Learn it now, it is pronounced "Folks-Vah-Gun" and not our regular "Volks-wah-Gin". No, no! Kill dem that pronounce it this way before they lay eggs and breed further!
Porsche: Again, thank you America. It is "Porh-sha" and not "posh" although it is quite acceptable to call it the latter in the states. Again, dem ibo girls from owerri that want chief to buy them posh car, tek not! Lol. Ok, sorry.
Chevrolet: Correct pronunciation is "Sheh-vrow-lay" not "Cheh-vroh-let".
Peugeot: Correctly pronounced as "Poo-jshoo".
Lancia: It is pronounced "Lan-cha" and not "Lan-see-Ah".

That is all I could come up with. Take note, open your dictionaries and learn a few things. Get exposed!

Enough is a word for the wise.

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Re: Suprisingly Common Mispronounced Words And How To Pronounce Them Correctly by Clemzy16(m): 1:00am On Dec 21, 2013
Frontpage material

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Re: Suprisingly Common Mispronounced Words And How To Pronounce Them Correctly by gaburiel(m): 1:03am On Dec 21, 2013
Carry oyinbo for head pass oyinbo man, as far as you understand what I am saying, and so?
Re: Suprisingly Common Mispronounced Words And How To Pronounce Them Correctly by 3Dimension: 8:25am On Dec 21, 2013
Hmmmm. This is very informative. Picks my jotter to write it down.


MOD FP please let the whole nairaland communist learn.

1 Like

Re: Suprisingly Common Mispronounced Words And How To Pronounce Them Correctly by treasuregr8(f): 1:43pm On Dec 21, 2013
nyc work bro..@ op

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Re: Suprisingly Common Mispronounced Words And How To Pronounce Them Correctly by Omexonomy: 1:58pm On Dec 21, 2013
@op what is the relationship of pronouncing english words correctly and national development and growth using india china and japan even nairaland as case study.
Re: Suprisingly Common Mispronounced Words And How To Pronounce Them Correctly by joaquin64(m): 2:17pm On Dec 21, 2013
Omexonomy: @op what is the relationship of pronouncing english words correctly and national development and growth using india china and japan even nairaland as case study.

Growth is a process that involves human and infrastructure. To grow, one needs to be educated. Education can either be formal or informal. etiquette and social skills, things taught at home, etc all contribute to personal growth. Learning languages too, not just your mother tongue alone, can also grant the necessary skills to individuals to communicate better in a world that is highly globalized. Learning languages involves not just passing across a message, but how effective that message can be transmitted from one person to another. When an individual is eloquent and confident enough to make presentations in public settings or meetings he can inspire his listeners or his business partners to take him seriously. The more you learn how to speak and pronounce perfectly in any language, not just English alone, the more you begin to understand the behavior and cultural values of the people you relate with. This can in turn make you a valuable choice amongst your fellow competitors or mates.

India, China, Japan and Nairaland have one thing in common, they speak very different languages. Between them alone almost well over 100 dialects. Bring them to a table and there will be lots of confusion. English is one thing that can unite them together, easily and more effectively. A diplomat, business man, or even a person in the midst of this eccentric group of cultures would surely stand out if he spoke eloquently with pristine pronunciation of his words. His words and messages would be less misconstrued if he was clear enough, taking time to place the correct stress or emphasis on his words. This would help him or her amidst other factors to become the right pick if in a business or political meeting. This in turn can lead to deals or treaties signed which eventually would play a role in contributing to National growth or development in his or her home country. Even if you had less than your counterpart in other areas, you could easily and more seemingly become a better pick if you pronounced "Affidavit" and "Mercedes Benz" properly. It is that little difference that showcases your level of exposure to not just the things you learned from reading books and school but to the whole world.

Little words, little things and a little exposure can make a big difference when you are out there. One day you may see for yourself. I hope I somewhat managed to answer your question.

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Re: Suprisingly Common Mispronounced Words And How To Pronounce Them Correctly by joaquin64(m): 3:31am On Dec 24, 2013
Get this to FP!
Re: Suprisingly Common Mispronounced Words And How To Pronounce Them Correctly by Flygeriansteve: 10:47am On Dec 24, 2013
This should be on the fp

1 Like

Re: Suprisingly Common Mispronounced Words And How To Pronounce Them Correctly by larmu(m): 12:08pm On Dec 24, 2013
Na wa oh!
Pls take dis to FP

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Re: Suprisingly Common Mispronounced Words And How To Pronounce Them Correctly by joaquin64(m): 4:34pm On Dec 24, 2013
tell mod!
Re: Suprisingly Common Mispronounced Words And How To Pronounce Them Correctly by DiscodeeFUTA(m): 4:47pm On Dec 24, 2013
@OP get tym gan oo
Re: Suprisingly Common Mispronounced Words And How To Pronounce Them Correctly by Geestarry(f): 8:19pm On Dec 24, 2013
@op... In the 8th edition of the Oxford Advanced learners Dictionary, the word "Anyways" is used in NAmE but its informal

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Re: Suprisingly Common Mispronounced Words And How To Pronounce Them Correctly by kavey10(m): 11:43pm On Dec 24, 2013
My eye just dey pain me. Abegi, make I save the page jor. If you see my mouth ehn... like say I wan kiss. Man suffer no be small.

Great work OP. Looking back, I know say I don mess up.
Re: Suprisingly Common Mispronounced Words And How To Pronounce Them Correctly by Chuksemi(m): 12:05am On Sep 21, 2014
seun, mukina2, mynd44. This thread is too informative to lie waste. Chelseabmw, farano
Re: Suprisingly Common Mispronounced Words And How To Pronounce Them Correctly by PilotOz(m): 5:27pm On Feb 06, 2016
wow!! Thanks OP. I just learned the right pronunciation for these words in preparation for 2016 Jamb's Use of English.

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