Author Topic: Just for fun...difficult words  (Read 619 times)

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mrkitty

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Just for fun...difficult words
« on: March 03, 2014, 01:00:45 PM »
Back when we lived in the SF Bay Area, my sister came to stay with a few days. We've always had a difficult relationship, but there were periods off and on when we were relatively close. While I can admit she does have her good points, one thing that always irritated me was that she often (ok, most of the time) put on airs that she was so sophisticated - constantly "correcting" me, explaining things to me like I'm an idiot, condescending, fat shaming...the works.

Well, when she came out for that visit, DH and I took her to one of DH's favorite restaurants (which, sadly, has since closed) in SF. It wasn't a super-fancy place, but it wasn't a chain restaurant - it was just delicious.

While we were looking at the menus, S saw a little sign on the table advertising aperitifs. She decided she would get one.

The waiter came over to take our orders.

"Oh, I think I'll have an aper-teef*," S said. *Spelled phonetically the way she pronounced it.

"Ok," he said, waiting for her to tell him her order.

After a few beats, he finally asked her which one she wanted.

"I said, an aper-teef!" S said.

"Yes," the waiter answered. "Which one would you like?"

S picked up the little tent sign on the table, held it up close to the waiter, and repeatedly tapped the line about aperitifs being $4.50 each.

"Can you read? It says aperitif and I want one! What is so hard about this for you?" S asked.

"Ma'am, there are many different kinds. Do you want a Bloody Mary? An Old Fashioned? A Martini..."

"No. I told you, I want an aper-teef!"

DH explained that an aperitif (pronounced ah-pear-eh-teef) is basically a pre-dinner cocktail.

She ended up not ordering an aperitif. So much for being so sophisticated.

I had to stifle a chuckle, because it was mildly vindicating for me, having been on the receiving end of one too many of her unwelcome explanations. However, I have to admit, until DH explained it, I had no idea what an aperitif was, or how to pronounce it. I guess I don't come from a very sophisticated background, nor have I been to that many restaurants where "aperitifs" were on the menu. Oh, well. At least I know what it is now, anyway.

But that got me thinking. What words/phrases are you unfamiliar with, and what words, if any, do you have trouble pronouncing?

For me, I have difficulty with the word "libertarian". I don't know why, but whenever I say it, I always pronounce it as though I'm going to say "librarian" with a long "i" sound. Just a verbal tick, I guess.

What are yours? I'm sure I can think of more words/phrases that I don't know, like "aperitif".

Heh.  ;D

« Last Edit: March 03, 2014, 01:03:00 PM by mrkitty »
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emwithme

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Re: Just for fun...difficult words
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2014, 05:15:37 PM »
One from my mum: Small, cut up bits of veggies to dip into various things: Crud-ites (rather than "croo-di-tays")

One from an ex:

We were in a restaurant, on an early date.  We were discussing whether we were going to have dessert or not.  He said "ooh, I like the sound of this "merrin-goo" (meringue). 

I now regularly eat crud-ites and merrin-goo. 
« Last Edit: March 03, 2014, 05:18:08 PM by emwithme »

Deetee

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Re: Just for fun...difficult words
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2014, 06:09:16 PM »
Two things

For a while I ordered draught beer but pronounced it drawt, rather than draft. I thought they were two different words, but it's just different spelling.

Also, there is a Gallo wine that is Californian so pronounced Gallo. I'd just come back from a Spanish speaking region so insisted I wanted Gayo.

In all cases, I got my drinks eventually.

Editeer

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Re: Just for fun...difficult words
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2014, 06:22:47 PM »
This is more of a mishearing than a difficulty, but it was a long time before I realized that hors d'oeuvres were the same thing that my mother was referring to when she said (what sounded to me like) "auderbs." I can hear her voice saying it now.

I was an adult before I realized that eh-PI-toe-mee and EH-pi-toam were the same word. (epitome)

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Just for fun...difficult words
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2014, 06:33:17 PM »
The OP reminded me of a time we went out to dinner with my FOO for a birthday (not mine, might have been my dad's?), eating at Olive Garden.  My mother had been studying Italian so when she asked me what I was going to order, she told me the right way to pronounce it and approved of my pronunciation just in time for the waiter to come around.

I ordered the item as my mother instructed me to pronounce it and got a blank look from the waiter so I pronounced it the way I originally thought it would be pronounced and the guy nodded and wrote it down. 

Someone told me since there's a comedian who does a routine about his father (I think) pronouncing fagioli as is proper in Italian (fazool) and he said something like "Dad you're in a chain Italian restaurant in the Midwest, say fageeolee like the rest of us!"
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Just for fun...difficult words
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2014, 06:53:05 PM »
Hyperbole.  First time I said that word out loud to someone else, I pronounced it hyper-bowl rather than hi-per-bo-lee.

This thread reminds me of a joke I heard once:

Guy is at a restaurant for lunch.  His attractive waitress comes over to take his order.  He says, 'I'd like a quicky.'  She laughs and says, 'Very funny.  What would you like to order?'  He says, 'I'd like a quicky.'  She hauls off and slaps him across the face and stomps off.

Guy is very bewildered.  Until the guy at the next table leans over and says, 'It's pronounced key-shh (quiche).'
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
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Piratelvr1121

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Re: Just for fun...difficult words
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2014, 07:13:09 PM »
LOL! DH will like that one, I think. :)

I remember when I was a child we were walking down a historic street in the town I was raised in.  There were plenty of antique stores and as we passed one I asked my grandmother "What's an Antie-cue?" She laughed so hard she spit out her gum and had to catch her breath before she could answer with the proper pronunciation.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

Dawse

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Re: Just for fun...difficult words
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2014, 05:57:08 AM »
I'm afraid I once mercilessly mocked my boyfriend for pronouncing retinue 're-teen', after I'd figured out what he was trying to say.

He got his revenge though, after I pronounced Epiphone (the guitar make) as eh-pi-fo-nee instead of eh-pi-fone. I still have to remind myself about that every time though, it just looks like it should have four syllables and not three!
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Giraffe, Esq

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Re: Just for fun...difficult words
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2014, 12:50:01 PM »
I had a friend who thought the words "segway" (said aloud) and "seg-oo" (segue, written) were two different words that were synonyms. 

I have tons of examples where I messed up words -- I read voraciously as a child and so my vocabulary was full of words I'd only ever seen.  I'd use them in the correct context, for their proper meaning, and get odd looks as people tried to decipher what that word was...  Of course, I can't think of any right now!

Oh, and my aunt is from Belgium, so her native language is French.  At Christmas, my favorite thing she said was "diss-ih-fire-ing" (deciphering).  I'm going to adopt it as my official pronunciation now.  :)

bridalviolet

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Re: Just for fun...difficult words
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2014, 01:10:27 PM »
I was very young, but I will never forget the time I had to stand up in class and read a paragraph about the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock. I pronounced it "ply-mouth," like the words "ply" and "mouth." Made sense to me at the time, but of course the teacher corrected me.  I never see the word Plymouth without saying "Ply-mouth" to myself!

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Just for fun...difficult words
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2014, 01:23:32 PM »
My town has a street that I just don't know how to pronounce and it seems everyone does it differently. Actually there are two roads.

One: Burnham. I've heard some say "Burn-em" and some "Burnhams". 
Two: Wesel.  Now, our town has a sister city in Germany by this name so in that city's honor, one of our streets has the same name. And I know in German a "W" is pronounced like a V.  So I think it probably should be Vesel but most seem to say Wesel.  When in Rome, I guess!
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

Paper Roses

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Re: Just for fun...difficult words
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2014, 05:05:12 AM »
My mother once asked me to read a newspaper article out loud to her because she didn't have her glasses close by.  I was 12, I think.  So I was reading, and going along when I read about the "Ep-is-COPE-al" church. 

I think she laughed for a full minute before she could stop long enough to teach me the proper pronunciation of "Episcopal"
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Layla Miller

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Re: Just for fun...difficult words
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2014, 08:27:45 AM »
I remember in high school we were taking turns reading passages from Romeo and Juliet out loud.  One of my classmates reached the word "lamentable," paused for a moment, and pronounced it "lamb-en-TAble."  It was definitely not a sign of low intelligence, though--she ended up being our class valedictorian, so I never hold mispronunciations against anyone.  :)
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Thipu1

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Re: Just for fun...difficult words
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2014, 10:18:53 AM »
I once made a real howler.  Mr. Thipu and I were using a book to take a walking tour of an historic neighborhood.  The architecture in the area was largely Greek Revival and the guide book went into great detail about things like entablatures, pediments and friezes.  I figured that 'anti-puh-GEE-un' spikes were just a term with which I was unfamiliar.

Then I looked up at the building.  Yup, the feature was really 'anti-pigeon' spikes.