I’ll admit to being a little retentive about the way that words are pronounced. And I have some new additions to my ever-expanding list after punching around the radio dial awhile yesterday afternoon.
My oft mentioned pet peeve is the dropping of the “f” in the word “of”. We, as in the radio community, sound like a bunch of Irish wannabes with our o’ this and o’ that. Pity the poor f, placed in the word ever so carefully only to be overlooked.
I heard some gems yesterday afternoon including the mispronunciation of NASA, the space agency. It so often comes out sounding the same as Nassau, the tropical getaway destination. Nah-saw. NASA is an acronym and its syllables are shorter and its “s” sound is quicker. There is no “aw”. It bugs me.
Another one is recycling. Do you see a vowel between the second c and the l? I don’t. So why then is the word so often pronounced, re-cy-cull-ing? I swear that bicycling was eventually shortened to biking by a fed up grammar-meister who couldn’t stand hearing bi-si-cull-ing one more time!
English may be a difficult language but are the words themselves so hard? We don’t have to overpronounce them (again, heard often on radio) but we should at least take a stab at getting them right. Sheesh. You don’t have to be an engineer from Nassau to know that!
And while we’re on the subject of words, how in the world am I supposed to coach my young clients into using the language semi-properly when a deliberate misuse of English is the centrepiece of some ad campaigns? One fresh talent I’m working with recently said “funner” as in, “the second game was funner”. “That’s not a word”, I tell him. Then I saw where he got it, from a TV ad that used it in the voice-over AND put it in huge letters on the screen! There was subtle irony in the presentation that was lost on my young friend who saw only that it was being highlighted in a major media campaign and took it into his vocabulary via osmosis. Now it’s up to me to find a way to convince him that by using it in everyday speech he sounds like an illiterate alien who’s trying to assimilate undetected into our society.