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USE GOOD PRONUNCIATION. It's Your Doody!

Posted: 2005-07-26, 0:13
by SpaceFlight
Here's Mr. Knowalot's opinions about correct pronunciation,

Source- http://www.knowalot.com/mrk-doody.html

by Mr. Knowalot

Quote-''In my role as Mr. Knowalot, I hear a lot of pronunciation every day. When I listen to the radio, people are talking and therefore are pronouncing. When I watch TV, and listen to what the actors and announcers are saying, there's pronunciation there. Even in everyday conversation, whether Mr. Knowalot is involved or happens to overhear others talking, I hear people pronouncing words. There's pronunciation going on all over the place!''

And ... much of it is wrong.

''Such as the female announcer I heard the other day who said "to air is human." Of course the copy probably read "to err is human," but she did not know that the word "err" is pronounced "ur" -- it rhymes with her. "To ur is human...." Unfortunately, I'm not divine and so cannot forgive such a blunder. Not without some serious explaining.''

''Before Mr. Knowalot continues, let me say that I am NOT talking about accents here, or regionalisms. In fact, I think those are quite interesting. When Mr. Knowalot first came to the east coast about 16 years ago, I heard all kinds of new pronunciations. Such as the people in Boston who swallow their r's: "Get in the cah." (I think the r is there somewhere, it just doesn't get a lot of emphasis.)''

''Also, I guess we need to rule out the mispronunciations that are just a matter of preference. For instance, news announcers tell us that it's time for the nooz, or that the police did their doody, or that it's going to be a wite Christmas. Although I'd rather hear the "nyooz," and that the police were doing their "dyooty," and that we're going to have a "hwite" Christmas, I really don't have a case. These particular pronunciations seem boorish and uneducated to me, but I cannot say they are wrong. Well, yes I can. One should really not do his doody except in the appropriate porcelain facility.''

''When I talk about mispronunciation, mostly, is when words, no matter what the dialect, are authentically botched and corrupted. Am I strange in that it actually causes me pain to hear words mispronounced? Much of the time these botched pronunciations are by professionals, people who should know better. For a while there was a commercial running with a cartoon character who spoke of his for-TAY. The word he meant to say, forte, is pronounced FORT, like a place where soldiers hole up, not for-TAY, which is an Italian word meaning loud.''

''What's worse is when Mr. Knowalot pronounces a word accurately and people correct me. For instance, I hesitate to use the word forte, because invariably people look at me askance. Maybe they'll repeat it softly, "for-TAY," as if to gently guide me. If they are polite, they hold their "wisdom" within themselves, believing that I am an ignoramus because I have mispronounced a common ordinary word heard around the fort every day.''

''Instead of ignoring these people, I should do to them what a pedantic but influential professor of mine did about 25 years ago, while I was a student in junior college. Back then I was not Mr. Knowalot -- I was, or thought I was, Mr. Know-It-ALL. One day this professor was having a discussion with a woman and he used the word precedence, pronouncing it pri-SEED-ence. Since I happened to be nearby, waiting for his class to begin, and I was the helpful type, I said: "You mean PREH-sid-ence?" ''

''To his credit, the professor did not turn on me and pull out my tongue. He simply gave me a condescending glare and said, "Pri-SEED-ence is the correct pronunciation. Look it up." ''

'' "No, I believe you," I said, not wanting to look it up. Besides, I believed him. He was pedantic but always correct. I went into class and took my seat.''

''"Don't take my word for it." Immediately he returned to his office, delaying class, which happened to be Intermediate German, and brought back a huge Oxford English dictionary. He plopped it in front of me and found the word. Pointing to it, he pronounced for my edification: "Pri-SEED-ence."''

"I believed you, I said," I said, believing him, but now thinking he had some kind of complex.

''Another problem with word pronunciation is that it is difficult to find an authoritative dictionary. My pedantic German teacher used the Oxford English dictionary, clearly the best, but expensive. Webster's seems to reflect public usage, so if you look up the word "precedence" it will have pri-SEED-ence as the first pronunciation, but will also have PREH-sid-ence. And even though there might be a tilde (~) in front of the second pronunciation, most people don't know that the tilde means the pronunciation is not preferred, so in their minds the dictionary backs them up.''

''Nevertheless, a dictionary should be consulted when you want to find out how a word is pronounced. Here are a few words, including the above, that may prove interesting:''

''WORD: OFTEN SAID: SHOULD BE: MORE INFO:
APPLICABLE uh-PLIK-uh-bull ---- AP-li-kuh-bull
FORTE for-TAY --- FORT
PRECEDENCE PREH-sid-ence ---- pri-SEED-ence
CALM, PSALM, PALM calm, salm, palm --- cahm, sahm, pahm --- The L is silent.
AVAILABLE uh-VAIL-yable --- uh-VAIL-able --- Say it wrong a few times and it starts to sound right.
MISCHIEVOUS mis-CHIEV-ee-ous ---- MIS-chi-vus
DELUGE DEH-looj --- DEL-yooj
DUTY doody or dootee ---- DYOO-tee
ERR air --- ur
ERA AIR-uh --- EER-uh
YE (as in Ye Olde Forte) ye -- the --- The Y is actually an old Anglo-Saxon character, which was pronounced TH.
SHOPPE SHOP-ee --- shop --- This spelling is a throwback to old English anyway and should be avoided except for effect.
HEINOUS HIGH-nis, HEE-nis (and a variety of other corruptions) --- HAY-nis ---- The first syllable rhymes with say, play, and tray.
HEIGHT heighth --- height ----- No TH on the end.
HUMAN YOO-man ----- HYOO-man
NUCLEAR NOO-kyuh-lur ---- NYOO-klee-ur or NOO-klee-ur
KILN kiln --- kil --- The N is silent.
OFTEN AHF-ten --- AHF-en --- The T is silent.
PIANIST PEE-uh-nist --- pee-AN-ist --- PEE-uh-nist is the put-on, snobby way to say it.
USURP OO-surp ---- yoo-ZURP
VICE-VERSA vice-versa ------- VY-suh VUR-suh ---- Each word has two syllables.

''For more examples, see "There Is No Zoo in Zoology," by Charles Harrington Elster, published by Collier Books MacMillan Publishing.''

''As much as it pains me to say it, this is an uphill battle, and one that probably won't be won. After all, over the past dozen centuries the proper pronunciation of many English words has changed. Just think ... in the year 2525, if someone says kum-POOT-er instead of kum-PYOOT-er, you probably won't even bat an eyelash.''

What do you think about what Mr. Knowalot has to say?

Re: USE GOOD PRONUNCIATION. It's Your Doody!

Posted: 2005-07-26, 0:49
by MikeL
SpaceFlight wrote:What do you think about what Mr. Knowalot has to say?


Not a lot. I assume Mr Knowalot is an American. His preference for certain pronunciations that are typically British, such as the yod in "duty" or "deluge" strikes me as rather quaint.

Nevertheless I find myself secretly sympathising with Mr Knowalot in some areas. It's hard not to think of "mischievious" as a bit of an abomination...
On the other hand I might just have a personal grudge against that word, having spelled it thus in a test in my first year of high school, resulting in a dismal mark of 49/50 and ruining my chances of first place that year...

And the pronunciation of "era" which he mentions causes problems in non-rhotacising dialects by making it identical with "error".

Posted: 2005-07-26, 0:55
by Stan
I think he is correct in some instances.

It does annoy me when people pronounce the word "nuclear" as "noo-kyoo-lur" instead of the universally accepted and correct "noo-klee-ur" which is more in line with the spelling anyway.

However, I don't think "forte" should be pronounced "fort", "for-tay" sounds much better, and you can avoid ambiguity. For example, "I can see that's not your forte (pronounced fort)" to which you might think "What? I have a fort?"

If I ever decide to use the word "ye" I'm not going to pronounce it like "the". Sorry, no.

And, no, the t in "often" is definitely not silent for me.

I pronounce "duty" as "doo-tee". I pronounce "era" as "air-uh".

So I will say there are a few things in which I agree, but for the most part he needs to understand that languages change. Not all of us speak Queen's English, you know.

Re: USE GOOD PRONUNCIATION. It's Your Doody!

Posted: 2005-07-26, 1:25
by Travis B.
MikeL wrote:
SpaceFlight wrote:What do you think about what Mr. Knowalot has to say?


Not a lot. I assume Mr Knowalot is an American. His preference for certain pronunciations that are typically British, such as the yod in "duty" or "deluge" strikes me as rather quaint.


Well, actually, I speak a primarily yod-dropping NAE dialect, and yet for some reason the /j/ in "deluge" is specifically preserved here under all circumstances, like that in the word "cellular", which also preserves it, even though it has been completely lost in words like "lute", "flute", and so on here.

Another one of Mr. Knowalot's lists.

Posted: 2005-07-26, 2:08
by SpaceFlight
Here's another one of Mr. Knowalot's lists that I found:

''WORD: SHOULD BE: SHOULD NOT BE:
Quote-''AGAIN - uh-GEN ---- uh-GAYN
BECAUSE - bi-KAWS ---- bi-KAWSS, bi-KUZ
CAMERA - cam-er-a ---- cam-ra ---- The word has three syllables.
CAUGHT - kawt ---- kaht
CORE - kohr ---- kawr
CURRY - KUHR-ee ---- KUR-ee ---- ''curry'' rhymes with ''hurry'', not
''furry''.
DIAMOND - die-uh-mund ---- die-mund
DICTIONARY - dic-shun-erry ---- dic-shun-airy
DOG - dawg ---- dahg
DUE - dyoo ---- doo
ENVELOPE - ON-vuh-lope ---- EN-vuh-lope
EXIT - EG-zit ---- EK-sit
FAIRY - FAIR-ee ---- FEHR-ee
FEBRUARY - feb-ryoo-erry ---- feb-yoo-erry ---- Both r's are pronounced.
FERRY - FEHR-ee ---- FAIR-ee
FOREST - FAHR-ist ---- FAWR-ist
FROG - frawg ---- frahg
HOARSE - hohrse ---- hawrse ---- It has an ''oh'' sound in it. It
shouldn't sound like ''horse''.
Horrible - HAR-ible ---- HAWR-ible
MERRY - MEHR-ee ---- MAIR-ee
LUTE - lyoot ---- loot
MIRROR - MIHR-er ---- MEER-er
MOOR - moohr ---- more
NEW - nyoo ---- noo
OR - awr ---- ahr
OAR - ohr ---- awr
POOR - poohr ---- pore ---- It has an ''ooh'' sound in it. It shouldn't sound
like ''pore''.
RESUME - ri-ZYOOM ---- ri-ZOOM
RUDE - ryood ---- rood
RULE - ryool ---- rool
SERIOUS - SEER-ee-us ---- SIHR-ee-us
SUIT - syoot ---- soot
SUPER - syooper ---- sooper
THOUGHT - thawt ---- thaht
TUBE - tyoob ---- toob
TUNE - tyoon ---- toon
WHEN - hwen ---- wen
WHILE - hwile ---- wile''

What do you think about what he has to say here?

Posted: 2005-07-26, 2:27
by Stan
I think he's being a complete idiot.

die-uh-mund? dyoo? lyoot? nyoo? ryool? ryood? hwen?

What an asshole. I'm not going to pronounce those invisible y's. No thank you.

Posted: 2005-07-26, 2:46
by SpaceFlight
I think he's being a complete idiot.


I agree 100%. I'm not going to change my pronunciation just because Mr. Knowalot wants me to. I'm not going to start pronouncing, for example, ''kiln'' like ''kill'' just because Mr. Knowalot wants me too.

Posted: 2005-07-26, 4:24
by Kirk
Thankfully, uninformed prescriptivists such as this have little to no sway over how people talk in their day to day language. Some of his ideas are idiotic and completely idiolectcentric.

Posted: 2005-07-26, 6:44
by MikeL
"kiln" as "kill"?? I don't know where he got this from (might be in some dictionaries, not going to bother to look), but in all my long years I have never come across this pronunciation. Even if it were prescribed at one time, what's the point in dredging it up? It detracts from intelligibility and adds nothing except an elitist, smug self-satisfaction.

Posted: 2005-07-26, 10:15
by Zoroa
I'm not going to pronounce those invisible y's


If I got it right, I think he says you should not pronounce them.

Zoroa

Posted: 2005-07-26, 10:38
by Felix the Cassowary
Zoroa wrote:
I'm not going to pronounce those invisible y's


If I got it right, I think he says you should not pronounce them.


Actually, I think he randomly changes. He seems to say you should say lyoot, not loot, but that you should say noo, not nyoo.

The first list seemed to be a reasonable list of complaints according to what he said he was going to complain about. The second list was totally unreasonable and (a) is totally wrong ('dog' is neither pronounced dawg nor dahg, it's pronounced dog :) ) (b) is unreasonable by his standards. He *said* he wasn't going to complain about doo for jew. I mean dyoo. Or wile for while. But then he did.

But in any case, I don't think he's writing to make friends, and I'm sure he thinks anyone who disagrees with him is a tool.

(I do, however, have a pet hate about Americans who misspell 'due' as 'do' or vice versa. It makes it *very* hard for me to read, because I pronounce one as jew and the other as doo, so I have to read it, discover what they wrote doesn't make sense, and decypher what they meant to write, and then read it again. Spelling's a different matter from talking, particularly in international forums like the Web.)

Posted: 2005-07-26, 10:55
by Zoroa
But the 1st word of the column is "often said" and the 2nd is "should be said". So if it works for the 2nd list too, you should not pronounce any "y" for words like due, etc.
But English is a random language. Some clusters are not always pronounced the same way...

Zoroa ;)

Posted: 2005-07-26, 11:17
by Kirk
Save yourselves the effort, which Mr. Doesntknowshit's comments don't merit.

Posted: 2005-07-26, 11:37
by Felix the Cassowary
Zoroa wrote:But the 1st word of the column is "often said" and the 2nd is "should be said". So if it works for the 2nd list too, you should not pronounce any "y" for words like due, etc.
But English is a random language. Some clusters are not always pronounced the same way...


Yeah, but his second list has no headers, and notice:

CAMERA - cam-er-a ---- cam-ra ---- The word has three syllables.

which seems to say the middle column is should be said, and the last is shouldn't be (he explicitly says it has three syllables).

Posted: 2005-07-26, 13:14
by SpaceFlight
Yeah, but his second list has no headers, and notice:

CAMERA - cam-er-a ---- cam-ra ---- The word has three syllables.

which seems to say the middle column is should be said, and the last is shouldn't be (he explicitly says it has three syllables).


I've added the header's from his second list.

Posted: 2005-07-26, 13:40
by senatortombstone
YE (as in Ye Olde Forte) ye -- the --- The Y is actually an old Anglo-Saxon character, which was pronounced TH.


I believe he is referring to the "thorn" character(sorry, I do not know the ALT code for it).

Somehow the Letter "Y" got confused with the "Thorn" character and that is why we sometimes see "Ye olde shoppe."

Posted: 2005-07-26, 14:10
by Felix the Cassowary
Mägog wrote:
YE (as in Ye Olde Forte) ye -- the --- The Y is actually an old Anglo-Saxon character, which was pronounced TH.


I believe he is referring to the "thorn" character(sorry, I do not know the ALT code for it).

Somehow the Letter "Y" got confused with the "Thorn" character and that is why we sometimes see "Ye olde shoppe."


Handwriting of various periods in England when thorns were used used a glyph that was almost identical for þ and y. In short order, the two glyphs were totally conflated and people did things like writing something that looked like «mþkþll» for «mykyll» as well as the opposite. But not in the systematically. See also section 3.1.6 of Sorting the letter ÞORN.

(I don't know the Alt code for ‘þ’ either, but I have a nifty keyboard layout that lets me type in special characters like this by typing (not holding down) «Compose», «t», «h» or «Compose» «'» «<» (for ‘).)

Posted: 2005-07-26, 14:16
by Felix the Cassowary
Hmm, I tried to fix the error in that post, but it tells me it was edited more than 14 days ago, and I need to see an admin about it. Which is clearly wrong. But if an admin feels like getting rid of the 'in the' before 'systematically', feel free. Otherwise, everyone else, just ignore the unnecessary 'in the'.

Where should one do their doody?

Posted: 2005-07-27, 4:06
by SpaceFlight
What do you all think about this particular argument of Mr. Doesn'tknowathing's (who calls himself Mr. Knowalot).

Quote-''One should really not do his doody except in the appropriate porcelain facility.''

Posted: 2005-07-29, 23:27
by pierrick18
He says he not talking about accents, yeah right. What a quack. *Looks up err ("AIR" in my book) in a dictionary.* Edit: What a stupid word, I hate "err." It looks weird, maybe because I've only seen it twice in my life and never bothered to look it up before now. I hate you Dr. Dosen'tknowcrap.