Do you or someone you love suffer from Mispronunciationitis?

Okay, fine. I just made that word up.

But basically, I’m referring to someone who has trouble correctly pronouncing certain words.

For me, this person is my mother.

And you wonder why I gave up the hooch.

It’s been an issue her entire life, but I notice it getting worse as she ages.

When my brother and I were kids, she would try to get in on our “Ew, that’s gross!” banter, by interjecting “Yes, that’s gross-ling.” And when we would shudder at her lack of coolness, it would just spur her on. Kind of like when I say “totes” (for ‘totally’) around my 12 year old son, just to watch him flinch.

She also used to take us clothes shopping for special occasions at a Pittsburgh store called Kenny Kardon, which she pronounced “Kinney CarDAW(ng)” (rhymes with croissant). And she wasn’t trying to be funny like when we refer to Target as Tarjay. She truly thought it was pronounced all Frenchy-like. She does that. I have no idea how the store was really pronounced (it’s closed now), but knowing Pittsburghers like I do, my guess is a French accent isn’t correct.

We were visiting with my mom recently and decided to make a big spaghetti dinner. She only bought one box of spaghetti for 7 of us, but had a back up box of “pen-NAY” (penne) in the pantry. Pen-NAY? The hell? (Bless her tongue-tied heart.)

But the real clincher for me occurred when we were at a Japanese restaurant the other night. She had a hankering for some of those steamed soybeans in the shell, or edamame as they are universally known. The waiters and waitresses always pronounce this dish “EH-duh-mom-MAY,” but that has never stopped my mom from ordering “Eat a Mommy.”

And she’ll ask everyone else at the table if they would like some “Eat a Mommy” when it arrives, because she’s thoughtful and generous like that.

“Jim?” she’ll ask my husband, her favorite son-in-law, “Eat a Mommy?”

Under his breath {heh heh heh} “Yes please, Jan. That would be great! I love Eat a Mommy.”

Then Bucket Head has to get in on it. “Eat a Mommy?! No, EAT ME! Hey guys, EAT ME! WHO WANTS TO EAT ME?”

People at neighboring tables are rubber necking to see who is shouting “eat me.” I smile and wave. “He’s five,” I politely excuse on his behalf. I find myself doing this a lot lately.

But back to my mom, no matter how many times I try to correct her and teach her not to say “Eat a Mommy,” her mouth simply cannot perform this action. You should hear how she butchers “sashimi.” And for the love of God, never discuss Chincoteague Island, Virginia, within her earshot.

This prompted me to ask my Facebook friends if they have anyone in their life who is a chronic mispronouncer, and boy-oh-boy did they respond! Here are some of my favorite replies:

Barbara Jeanne: I have an older friend who is always going shopping at “Walmarks” not sure where the marks are on the wall… but thats where he goes…

Lerner: My step mother always call it Tommy Hif-flinger. And chipotle is chi-pol-Tay. Drives me nuts.

Megan: My grandma used to watch “That Ofra” every day on tv. Sigh.

Rubber Chicken Madness: My grandmother used to say “oblituary”

Abbie: Ohhhh….no one over fifty can say prostate…they say prostRate.

Jane: My mom never says Whoopi Goldberg’s name right. She always makes the Whoop part sound like someone’s having a party.

Ninja Mom: My mother, an educated, worldly woman, says, “FRA-hee-TAHS.” Woman, they are FRAH-GEE-TAHS. Stop embarrassing me at Taco Bell.

Oh thank God I’m not the only one.

(And yes, Ninja Mom is always that funny.)

I know I said I was going to keep my comments closed for the summer (which has been bittersweet), but this is too good to not open up for more discussion. So tell me, who in your life has Mispronunciationitis and what do they say that cracks you up (and/or makes you want to jam a chopstick into your eye)?

-Leslie

About The Bearded Iris

Leslie Marinelli is a writer, humorist, blogger, life hacker, and invisible vessel for grandchildren and PTA donations.
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228 Responses to Do you or someone you love suffer from Mispronunciationitis?

  1. Linda G says:

    /raises hand timidly/
    How do you pronounce penne? I use pen-nay or penny pasta interchangeably.

    • Ha! Thank you for being brave enough to chime in here, Linda! I *think* penne is pronounced PEN-nay. At least, that’s how I say it. My husband’s family is 100% Italian and they call all the shapes of pasta “macaroni.” It doesn’t matter if it’s rotini, shells, linguini, ziti, etc.; it’s just “macaroni.” Maybe that’s the answer. :)

      • Linda G says:

        Whew! I do say PEN-nay. I was trying to say pen-NAY in my head and couldn’t do it in conversation. How does she do it?!

        I agree, macaroni (or ‘roni, as my 2-year-old says it) is easier. I generally go with that or “pasta” so my kiddo always knows she’s going to like what’s coming.

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