Wednesday, October 5, 2016

You're Saying it Wrong!

When I saw the book You're Saying it Wrong!, subtitled, "A pronunciation guilde to the 150 most commonly mispronounced words and their tangled histories of misue," I knew it was meant for me.

I am going to memorize this book. I am one of those people who learned my vocabulary from reading, not from hearing the words spoken by the people around me, and consquently I don't know how to pronounce words I understand when I read.

Take chiaroscuro (kee-ahr-uh-SKYOOR-oh, according to You're Saying it Wrong!) I knew it referred to the effect of light and shadow in art, as seen in Rembrandt's The Night Watch. I had no idea how to say it.

I was particularly needed the page "How to Sound Well Read", because although I've read these writers I didn't know how to say J. K. Coetzee (j.m. koot-See-uh), Ta-Nehisi Coates (tah-nuh-HAH-see cotes), and Jonathan Lethem (JON-uh-thun LEETH-em).

But at least I know "How to Sound Like a Season Holder to the Symphony," perhaps because I HAVE BEEN a season ticket holder, and because radio announces know how to pronounce Antonin Dvorak (AHN-to-neen DVOR-zhahk) and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (PYAW-ter ihl-YICH chuh-KOFF-skee). 'Rayf" Vaughn Williams was in my pocket--but in "How to Sound Like You 're From Acorss the Pond" I learned that Ranulph is... 'ralph'.

I can now order at the Greek diner with confidence since I know gyro is 'YEE-roh'. Nor will I avoid ordering wine after learning how to say "reece-ling" and "PEE-noh nwar".

There has been a disagreement in America on pronouncing Iran (ee-RAHN) and Iran (ee-Rahk), and Dubai (du-BYE).

Included in the book are sayings that are often misspoken, like 'on tenterhooks', meaning a state of anxious suspense, which many people mistakenly call 'on tenderhooks'.

The authors, siblings Ross and Kathryn Petras, are both 'word nuts' and 'grammer pedants' who have appeared in newspapers, television news, radio shows, and magazines.

I need to get back to my memorization. I have to learn to say my virtual friend's name, Siobhan (shih-VAWN) in case we ever meet in real life.

I received a free book from the publisher through Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

You're Saying it Wrong
Ross Petras and Kathryn Petras
Ten Speed Press
ISBN 13 9780399578083