Mispronouncing Words: A Bookworm Story

As a kid, one of the super fun things about reading a lot was learning new words. I’d see a word I hadn’t seen before and either would understand it from context, ask my parents about it, or look in the dictionary. I would finish the book with a great story and a few new words. Which was great. Most of the time.

See, the issue would arise when trying to implement these new words into conversations. As a young reader, I was used to most words being phonetic, imagine my surprise and embarrassment when attempting to talk about a mirage, only to have my family laugh at me for the gross mispronunciation. How was I supposed to know what the word sounded like when spoken? This was before the days of kindles, where you could highlight a word, have the dictionary pop up, and then click that little microphone thing to hear how it’s pronounced.

(Shawn is my spirit animal when it comes to mispronouncing words.)

Names were an even bigger issue, especially in the books where the names used were not totally common. Am I even pronouncing Hermione correctly today? Who knows. When reading Percy Jackson did I butcher the name of every single Greek god in existence? Yes. Completely. Even more embarrassing are the common names that I mispronounced (Thalia and Eli).

2018-08-15

^^me

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^^book character

But, it’s not all bad. In some extremely rare cases I happen to come out on top, and end being the only one pronouncing a word correctly (chasm). I think that’s it. That’s probably the only time I’ve ever won a pronunciation battle (battle sounds cooler than argument).

I’m sure that I’m not the only one who has faced this predicament. Words are weird, and as readers we tend to focus more on the story than on the exact pronunciation of a written word (at least I do), so I petition that no reader anywhere should be ridiculed for mispronouncing a word ever again! People should be impressed that that we know big words! Do not belittle us for not saying them correctly!

* This is the part where the crowd uproariously cheers, supporting my touching and emotional speech *

Let’s hear from you. Have you ever badly misspronounced a word? If so, which one?

10 thoughts on “Mispronouncing Words: A Bookworm Story

  1. This is making me think, like, A LOT. I am reading most of my books in English, but English is not my first language and, if everything sounds perfect in my head, I am certain that I would be misprononuncing some words I have learned in books once I share them for real when I have the occasion to do so. That always terrifies me hahaha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s insane, I can barely pronounce words that I read and English is my first language 😂. The few times that I tried to read in French I didn’t even bother trying to sound out the words in my head, since I knew it would be totally wrong. But then when I had to double check what a word meant my mom would have to take the book from me because I was mutilating the prononciation so much.

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  2. Hermione is a rude name tbh. I was reading the book to my daughter and I KNOW I pronounce it wrong, and I always have and sometimes habits are hard to break, and her teacher corrected her and I am like… you know what, in kindergarten maybe you just be happy that she’s reading and don’t shame her mom. So YES YES I agree with this so much! Like no one needs to be snarky about it! Love this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Honestly, I was convinced that J.K Rowling had made up the name and that the prononciation was made up for the movies as well since it’s spelled very differently than how it’s said, but recently I was listening to an audio tour at a museum and one of the women it spoke about was named Hermione!! I was shocked. Also it confirmed that I was saying it wrong. But if you don’t want a name to be pronounced wrong, then don’t spell it so confusingly 😂.

      Like

  3. I often correct my kids’ pronunciation for just this reason — they read a lot and have a great vocabulary, but a lot of times they haven’t actually heard those words pronounced! Even I hear a word in an audiobook now and again where I’ll say, “Wait, that’s how you pronounce that?” And I’m 44!!

    Liked by 1 person

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