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A mispronunciation boondoggle:

What do you say when someone mispronounces a word – or worse – corrects your pronunciation of a word incorrectly!?  I brought out the dictionary, but I think I might have hurt my friend’s feelings a little.


When you say they corrected you incorrectly, did they slap the shit out of you and scream “Wrong!  Do it again!”?  Because while a lovely reference to tyrannical schoolmasters, it would indeed be incorrect.

One should never correct another grown up – oh, GOD, How many times do we have to cover this?? – unless, of course, it’s me doing the correcting.  Actually, that’s not even true, I only correct when asked.  You should tread a little more lightly.

So here’s the scene, someone is trying to serve you – I don’t know – quince paste.  They pronounce it /keense/.

“Have some manchego and KEENSE paste,” says your hostess.

“Why, thank you,” you reply.  “I’ve never heard it pronounced that way – I’ve always said /kwinse/.”

“Well, you’re wrong.  It’s KEENSE, like quinceañera.

“KWINSE, like rinse.  Otherwise it wouldn’t rhyme with “mince.”


“They dined on mince, and slices of quince, Which they ate with a runcible spoon.’  Edward Lear?  The Owl and the Pussycat?  Anything?  Oh, just google it.”


And that’s about all you can do.  Sure, get the dictionary if you must absolutely win, but it would be nicer for you to protest your own ignorance and suggest you find out together, once and for all – not who’s right, but just how to pronounce the word.

I suggest you have a story at the ready of another word you mispronounced in the past and why – surely you can some up with some convincing reason you thought Persephone must be some kind of homophone.

Then your friend gets to save face, you get to be a pedantic little shit, and the conversation can continue until someone asks what’s in the chai and you have to pronounce cardamom.


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