During the course of researching multiple pronunciations of common words (tomayto vs tomahto) I discovered a slightly different category: words we (or many of us) often mispronounce. In other words, while tomayto/tomahto may be optional, depending on where you live, some pronunciations are just plain wrong.
I’m as guilty as the next person on some of these, so I thought I’d reproduce them here.
Arctic NOT artic. There’s a “c” in the middle as well as at the end.
Diphtheria. Most of us say “dip-theria” and it’s now so widespread it’s considered acceptable. But the original pronunciation was difftheria.
Espresso NOT expresso.
February NOT Febyuary
Forte NOT fortay. Interesting, this. In music it’s “fortay,” from the Italian. But in the sense of a strength (e.g., “math is my strong suit”), it’s “fort,” from the French, where the “e” is silent. Apparently, the two meanings are so widespread both are considered acceptable. This is just as well: I’ve been wrong all my life and I’m not in the mood to change now.
Jewelry NOT jew-lery. Say Jewel. Now add “ry”.
Mischievous NOT mischievous or mischievi–ous. There’s only one “i”.
Nu-clear NOT nu-cul-ar
Supposedly NOT supposably.
Wimbledon NOT Wimbleton. This mispronunciation seems to be less prevalent among North Americans than it used to be, thank goodness. There’s no T in Wimbledon!
It beats me how immigrants manage to master the English language. I’ve been at it all my life and I still can’t spell concensus. Concencus. Whatever.