Counterintuitive pronunciations


Arkansas’. It’s common to make the possessive of nouns ending in s this way. Since the final s in a Arkansas is silent, it’s more of a question.



Phonemic & phonetic: one long e, one short e.


Sometimes, the truth is just more boring.


How about “denominational?” Sometimes I hear people pronouncing it as “national.”


I thought “indict” and “indite” were two different words until my mid-20s.

I thought “San Jose” (which I imagined was pronounced “San Joe’s”) was a different place from the city pronounced “San Hosay” until I was about 10. I saw the road signs for the former and heard people talking about the latter but never made the connection.

I remember struggling over how to pronounce “Rio Grande” during a reading session in class, not realizing that both “Rio Grand” and “Rio Grahn-day” are acceptable.

My mother told me she once thought the word “misled” was pronounced “mizzled”.


Best not forget draught/draft.



Just watching an interview with Ridley Scott, and the lady, who, granted, had a slight Euro accent, referred to something being a “PAIR-a-dig-em” shift…


I feel vindicated


Where I come from quay is pronounced “kay”. I once mistaught the pronunciation of the word “pronounciation” in a class… yikes.


American Headway used to do that at the start of every pronunciation section. They’ve fixed it now, but fuck me did it wind me up.

“Unit 4, pronounciation” “Unit 5, pronounciation”…


Huh. Today I discovered that “just deserts” is actually correct, rather than the incorrect (but still common, and probably so common now that it’s basically right, to not beg the question) “just desserts.” I had no idea there was the noun “deserts” from the verb “deserve”.

So that’s a counterintuitive pronunciation. Pity the poor student who sees the phrase “just deserts” and is expected to say it the right way. I believe I’ve even corrected students who actually wrote it properly. Oops.

I also did a quick search of forumosa, and we’ve used “just desserts” (51 results) significantly more than we’ve used “just deserts” (six results, one of which is “if a spouse just deserts their partner”, and doesn’t count).

Sigh. And for a second or two I actually presumed to think “Goddamn, I’ve caught the New Yorker in an error?!”



If tomb is toom
And womb is woom
Shouldn’t bomb be boom

Also more indicative of its effects.