Posted by: episystechpubs | March 12, 2014

Editor’s Corner: The Chune of a Wild Nadder

I was just about to get started down the winding path of number rules, when I was distracted by an article on pronunciation errors. Yes, we’ve discussed specific examples of mispronunciation before, but this is more general and provides some terminology for your reading pleasure. The following information is from an article by David Shariatmadari, called 8 Pronunciation Errors That Made the English Language What It Is Today.

Words that used to begin with "n"

Adder, apron, and umpire all used to start with an "n". Constructions like "A nadder" or "Mine napron" were so common the first letter was assumed to be part of the preceding word. Linguists call this kind of thing reanalysis or rebracketing.

When sounds swap around

Wasp used to be waps; bird used to be brid and horse used to be hros. Remember this the next time you hear someone complaining about aks for ask or nucular for nuclear, or even perscription. It’s called metathesis, and it’s a very common, perfectly natural process. [KC – I plead completely guilty of saying and spelling “prescription” wrong until my husband teased me mercilessly. Don’t ask me to say “library” fast, either.]


Your grandmother might not like the way you pronounce tune. She might place a delicate "y" sound before the vowel, saying tyune where you would say chune. The same goes for other words like tutor or duke. But this process, called affrication, is happening, like it or not. Within a single generation it has pretty much become standard English. [KC
– The “delicate ‘y’ sound” is something I might call “the annoying ‘y’ sound,” but I guess I’m more blunt with my pronunciation of these words. You might hear that same pronunciation from some people when they use it in the words
Tuesday and due.]

Enjoy the remainder of the day!

Kara Church

Senior Technical Editor

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

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