Sunday, November 11, 2007

Some words I just can't ever say right

With the luxury of a blog, I am shielded from showcasing one of my most embarassing attributes: My lack of eloquence.

Not only do I trip over words as I speak, but I suffer from a mild lisp and momentary lapses of honest-to-goodness anomia. In fact, often the word that comes out of my mouth is either completely opposite to what I intend on saying or it is something that is abstractly related. For instance, just a few moments ago, I asked T if he could hand me the blanket sitting on the couch. Except that I said "Pillow?" He of course handed me the blanket and went "a-noooo-meeeee-ahhhhh!"

Part of it may have to do with the fact that I speak a pidgin language with my mother. She's not a native speaker of English so much of the vocabulary I share with her is simplified or broken down to abstract parts. My favorite example is the word for nipples. "Nipples" in our pidgin language is "booby dots."

As you can imagine my various speech anomalies gives my husband, the linguist, hours and hours of joy as he analyzes what I say. In addition to the above, there are several words that I can't seem to say right no matter how many times I am corrected and they are the following....

Gewustraminer: next to Riesling, it's my favorite wine.

Correct pronunciation: ge-wurst-tra-meee-ner
Cindy pronunciation: ge-wusrt-tra-ga-meee-ner

Phlegm: we all know what that is. The unfortunate things is that I somehow internalized way back when that the written word was something different from what you would normally call a loogie.

Correct pronunciation: flem
Cindy pronunciation: fel-gium

Mausoleum: otherwise known as a big fancy tomb. I was not corrected on how to say this word until I was 25!

Correct pronunciation: mau-so-le-um
Cindy pronunciation: ma-laaaah-zeeee-um

pusillanimous it means cowardly

Correct pronunciation: pyoo-suh-lan-uh-muh-sss
Cindy pronunciation: pyooo-suh-mah-lan-ih-mus

There a few more, but I can't quite remember them off the top of my head. Anyway, I often wonder with how much I butcher my own native language...what calamities do I cause when I speak a foreign language? As I get older I've learned some of the words I use when communicating in Mandarin or Taiwanese are just flat out wrong or don't exist, but because my family knows what I'm talking about and my tone conveys plenty of meaning, so I never get corrected.

I suppose this is how new words are created.

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Blogger dasMobius said...

Sometimes my English is wierd too. For some reason, it is common for me to change my sentence midway through the sentence, resulting in subject-verb disagreement or something. I think it's because I try too hard to be clear. I notice that when I write, I spend a lot of time editing what I've just written.

Sunday, November 11, 2007  
Blogger cchang said...

yeah, you're writing is very good.
I dunno. I've never noticed your speech to be strange.

Monday, November 12, 2007  
Blogger sarah said...

funny that you insert extra syllables into long words. there are several words i can never pronounce correctly, perseverance...i put the emphasis on the wrong syllable. i never can remember how to say it, so i avoid it altogether.

and the word rural? that one rarely slides off my tongue easily. it seems the only way to pronounce it is with a texas accent, so it sounds something like rual. which sounds wrong to me.

you're not alone.

Thursday, November 15, 2007  
Blogger heavy metal mom said...

haha mir.
Ah lahk ta look in tha mir.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007  
Blogger cchang said...

Heee. I think I do that too...Mirrrr.
ANother one is "Sup-pus-tah"
for "Supposed to."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007  

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