Monday, May 24, 2010

How to you say it?

I've spent a lot of time doing nothing with my mother this month as she heals from knee replacement surgery. We found ourselves wanting to make a list of common words that we've heard pronounced differently. We realize that we've spent most of our lives in our home state, and it has some language quirks we're aware of. Beyond those, listening to other people and watching television has made us notice discrepancies. I haven't looked these up in the dictionary yet, we are more interested in the daily speech of regular people. I'm going to try to make the pronunciation differences clear. Which comes closer to your own speech?

Orange ore-enj or are-enj?
Strength straygth or strehnth?
Aunt ant or auhnt?
Illegal ill-eagle or ee-legal?

I know there are more, but these are the ones that come to mind. I'm avoiding all the obvious area words (creek, barn, horse etc.). If more words come to mind (mine or Mom's), I'll expand my post.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I've been thinking about the way people speak, and the euphemisms we use. I read somewhere that when we are very hurt or upset, a swear word or two can make us feel better. Admittedly, a mashed finger, stubbed toe, or bumped head (like raising up under an open cabinet door) has caused me to use a *%&@#% word or two, and it did seem to help more than "shucks."

Words like "darn" and "dang" are so common that I'll bet people don't even consider them euphemisms for damn (although my dictionary does).

Two of the latest euphemisms seem to be "freakin," "frickin," "friggin," or "flippin." No, it's not the same as the naughtier word, but the intent feels similar, and I guess that's what bothers me. It's like when you see something written that says "effing." We know what it means.

I remember vividly when I saw that particular word written in public for the first time--it was startling (and I was in high school). Nowadays I would likely be extremely uncomfortable walking through a high school hallway. I don't like the way the original word has become so common, but I don't like the euphemisms much either. It's like the difference between a slap on the cheek and a punch in the jaw--the purpose is to make the same impression, it's just a matter of degrees.