I confess: I am a word snob. It sets my teeth on edge when I hear people using words incorrectly. But just between you and I**, it’s even more irritating to me to hear words mispronounced. It’s not that I’m never guilty myself. My husband gleefully reminds me on a regular basis of the seventh-grade English class in which I said “TREE-cherous” (for treacherous) and of the Bat Mitzvah party, same year—the year I met my husband—during which I loudly proclaimed, “I love Janis JOE-plin.” I will never live that one down.
Still, hypocritical or not, when I hear news reporters and politicians talking about things “nucular,” it makes me want to go nuclear. Ditto for “misCHEEvious.” Where is that final i that they’re enunciating? And please, don’t get me started on the second month of the year. So many people have ignored the fourth letter of the word—FebRuary—that the folks at Webster’s have capitulated. Not only is it now acceptable to say “FebYOUary,” it’s actually the first pronunciation listed in their dictionary. It’s enough to make me want to run screaming for the hills.
I know that English is a living language, changing according to common usage. The more people there are who pronounce a word wrong, the more likely it is that, before long, they will actually be pronouncing it correctly. So I’m going to stick with the written word, releasing words into the atmosphere for people to pronounce any way they like—and out of my hearing.
**KIDDING! It’s between you and me. But don’t get me started on bad grammar.