- schism: ignore the "ch" in this word; it is pronounced "sism."
- eschew: unlike schism, pronounce the "ch" firmly in this word; ess-chew.
- long-lived: most people say this with a short "i" sound, like the verb, "to live." It should be a long "i." Think of it as "long-lifed," with the "f" changed to a "v." This makes sense when you think about other words that you might add "long-" in front of: long-legged, long-winded, long-eared. They are all nouns.
- coitus: there is no "oy" sound in this word. It is co-itus, literally "going together."
- dour: pronounced like "door"; it does not rhyme with "sour," despite appearances.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Five words that you are probably mispronouncing
When I was in graduate school, I served as a teaching assistant for the lowest-ranking professor in the history department. He had never published anything, so his salary was unbelievably small -- under $30,000 in 1991. I heard him pronounce a few words strangely during his lectures, and I mistakenly jumped from his lowly position in the department to the belief that he must be wrong. I had to eat humble pie when I looked those words up in the dictionary and found out that he was right, contrary to almost everyone else I have heard say those words. Here they are, along with some others that I have been surprised to learn: