Learned a new word a while back from “My Level of Awareness” – lagniappe. I’d seen it before in writing, and had loosely translated it (using context clues) correctly as meaning – “a little something extra.” But I’d never sent the pronunciation before. I had it all wrong – I had it as lang-YAP, when it is actually LAN-yop.
Similarly, I heard ouvre pronounced for the first time on NPR. My pronunciation – ooo-vruh. Theirs – well – MUCH more French – like “uhoov” with some gargling at the end.
This has happened to me many times throughout my life (don’t ask me about omnipotent). I am an avid and speedy reader – as in I still managed to read at least a novel a week in the first month after pregnancy, and am back up to a novel every 1-2 days now that WCB is more self-entertaining. I encounter words in my reading on a regular basis that I have never heard – some of these so often that they have entered my spoken vocabulary – with whatever pronunciation I had worked out at first hurried glance. You can imagine the hilarity and embarrassment when someone who KNOWS the word hears me say it, well, all wrong.
I know I have a rich vocabulary. WCB’s dads do too. They also have had this pronunciation issue – Daddy N especially since he likes to read books with lots of foreign words. We already use our advanced vocabulary around WCB – all the time. It probably behooves us to take a moment and check our pronunciation of difficult, strange or suspect words. As good parents, we don’t want to perpetuate this issue with WCB, now do we?
So – I vow to make a note and look up the pronunciation of at least one suspect word a week.
In my spare time.
Really. I mean it.
(WCB – you are doomed to repeat the vocabulary mistakes of your parents…sigh.)