political candidate keeps saying "WARshington" in his radio ads, instead of
"Washington." It makes him sound stupid, since he's pronouncing an extra letter
in a word that's obviously not there.
he's not stupid. His speech is reflecting the erroneous reading and writing
instruction that has become so common in our schools over the last several
decades. That instruction ignores the power of our sense of sound, and seeks to
teach students how to read and write in silent mode, using their sense of sight
and that's about it.
they don't "hear" the letters individually, they are more prone to reverse
their order, leave letters out, and put letters in that shouldn't be there.
Result: pronunciation errors.
same thing goes when a person says "nu-cu-lar" for "nuclear," "aks" for "ask"
or "ree-la-tor" for "realtor." The technical term from linguistics is metathesis, or transposing sounds. It
wreaks havocs with everything from your spelling, to your ability to persuade
others in meetings and speeches, to other people's opinion of your intellectual
does mispronunciation come from? A lack of listening skills caused by the
failure to teach children to use sound in language. Coupled with the
over-reliance on sight-reading instead of sounding out words, and it's easy to
see how mispronunciation can become so habitual.
can't pronounce what you haven't heard. It's tough to spell a word that you
don't "see" clearly in your mind's eye, because it isn't stored accurately in
your memory banks. It isn't, because for decades teachers have not been
teaching students how to read and write based on sound. Until they do, many
people will struggle with mispronunciation.
that's a . . . durn shame.
By Susan Darst Williams • www.GoBigEd.com • Grammar Granny
037 • © 2006