Saturday, May 12, 2012


Can I just, pick a bone here for a minute?
You’ll probably think it’s no big deal.  But, trust me, if you were Parisian and heard something like this, you’d turn up your nose and mutter, “Vous n’avez pas intelligence” which roughly translated means, “what a dope”.  You probably figured that out already.
Ok, enough warning.  Here we go.
It’s Vwah-lah.  Not wah-lah. 
There’s a V in it, for crying out loud, and it’s not supposed to be silent.  If I hear one more news anchor say 'Wahlah' and chuckle at her deluded sense of wit, I’m gonna eat my English/French dictionary.
And that’s not the only word commonly massacred for lunch by Americans.  Here’s a short menu:
Let’s start with dessert.  Maybe a little sugar will help the rest go down easier.  The opposite of ice cream is not sher-bert.  It’s sher-bet.  See?  There’s only one ‘r’ in it—admittedly harder to say, but so satisfying to know you did it right.
It’s not noo-Q-ler.  It’s noo-clee-er.  For Pete’s sake, leaders of the free world who hold our future in their hands can’t even figure out where the “l” goes!  Stop listening to them, I beg of you! Let’s try this again: nuclear is pronounced noo-clee-er.  Rhymes with . . . well, nothing actually.  Just . . . make a note of it. Maybe the secret service could do something for a change and drop some hints to the big guy.
Nor is it al-u-min-i-um.  If you’re gonna throw in extra ‘i’s like that, I’m gonna start charging for them.  I know the Brits say it that way—heck, they even spell it that way (like that’s an excuse.)  But here in the colonies we’re frugal.  One ‘i’ is enough.  All together now:  ah-loo-men-um, accent on the loo.
And while we’re at it, Herb, there’s no ‘h’ sound in your vegetable counterpart.  In this case, the ‘h’ is silent.  The French will like us better if you’d figure that one out, too.
This may seem like much ado about nothing, but listen—there’s a whole new generation of Americans coming up through the ranks and we have to get our collective act together for their sakes! And I admit—there are a couple of words I can’t quite get my brain around.  For example, is it ‘Jag-warr ‘or ‘Jag-U-Arr’?  I always thought it was Jag-wire. I got laughed out of the zoo with that one.
This afternoon I helped my four-year-old granddaughter compose her first phone text. It was a favor I owed her—after all, she taught me how to play Angry Birds. We were sounding out words, making progress, until we got to ‘aunt’.   Here in the west we say ‘ant’.  Back east they say ‘awnt’. Allie decided not to make waves and settled on ‘Ant Aunt Lynette’. Future diplomat, that one.
I realize all of this will be a surprise to some of you, so I really regret any feathers you feel have been ruffled.  Not enough to actually apologize, but still, I regret having to address this issue at all. I learned to read the old fashioned way—phonetically—as should everyone. So if you have any questions, feel free to ask me—just don’t acks me. 
Are we all on the same page now?  Good.  Class dismissed.

p.s.  Lying face first on the ground is described as ‘praw-straight’. Notice the ‘r’ in straight.  Anything else is just embarrassing and I will point and laugh if you trip over that one.
Word to the wise.


  1. You left out Siobhan's favorite: LIBERRY.

    1. Yeah. I was trying to keep it short and sweet. Or at least, short. But as long as we're here, let's give it a go. All together now: lie-brare-ee, not lie-bare-ee. Remember that leftover, unnecessary 'r' from 'sherbet'? Well, here's where it belongs! See? A place for everything and everything in its place. (p.s. Thanks for the cute photo, Liz!)

  2. And how about picture/pitcher?

    1. Right! Diction, diction, diction! I feel so validated knowing I'm not the only one cringing at every slur on the English language (or American language - depends on who you're talking to!) Thanks for your comment!

  3. I knew I loved you Eula! So many of these are pet peeves of mine. And along with library, can people please stop butchering February.

    1. Mrs. H!! So nice to hear from you!! I'm curious - are you surrounded by people who pronounce the first 'r' in February? I bet they pretend there's no 'r' in Colonel, too, which technically there isn't, but which, as all Americans know, still needs to be used when addressing this military rank. Kind of an invisible non-silent 'r'. Never mind. R's are nothing but trouble.