Lunchtime Poll

LTP 6/17: Purse-A-Phone

A few nights ago, Gobiasomecoffee mentioned in the OT that her dad thinks Persephone is pronounced Purse-a-phone.  From what I can tell, this is pretty common. I know I thought she was Purse-a-phone until my seventh-grade English class talked about mythology. Since so many of us are readers, I’ll bet everyone has at least a few words that suffered from a read it vs. heard it dichotomy.

My favorite was “omnipotent.” I didn’t put together the spoken word “om-ni-po-tent” with the word I had always read as “omni-potent” until I said it out loud in front of a group of my smart friends. Luckily for my ego, they just thought I was being ironic.

By [E]SaraB

Glass artisan by day, blogger by night (and sometimes vice versa). SaraB has three kids, three pets, one husband and a bizarre sense of humor. Her glass pendants can be found at if you're interested in checking it out.

23 replies on “LTP 6/17: Purse-A-Phone”

I have always had trouble with the crayon color “cerulean.” For some reason, in my head it was always “Crew-Ellen.” Hmm.

As for Persephone, in 10th grade when we read the play, everyone called me Perstephanie. Because, obviously, that’s my name. I kind of liked it, to be honest.

I definitely thought ‘Her-me-own’ when I was first reading the HP books. And I always wanted to say ‘Blank-erd’ for the name Blanchard. I think I was a teenager when my mom corrected me.

I’m just glad that I can usually sound things out. I’m sad that many children aren’t learning phonics anymore, though. They don’t even know what it means to sound things out.

I pronounced leper as “leaper” and Protestant as Protest-ant. I still say them that way if I’m not paying attention; I found out I was mispronouncing these in my Gifted English class in 10th Grade. Much amusement from the other students, much embarrassment and blushing from me.

Ooh, I have a good list of these!
1. I always thought Penelope was pronounced like cantaloupe (“penn-a-lope”)
2. My high school English teacher referred to the ancient Celts as one would pronounce the Boston Celtics (i.e. “Selts).
3. In the Emily of New Moon series by LM Montgomery, I thought Emily’s best friend was “Izzle.”
4. I delighted in correcting a best friend and fellow honors student back in high school on her pronunciation of “epitome,” which was great because her stubborn dignity forced her to argue that it could be pronounced both ways. It’s ok, though, because we’re still friends.

Fun medical fact: duodenum may be pronounced correctly as either “duo-dee-num” (British) or “du-ah-de-num” (American).

Omnipotent was one of mine back in the day, although I’m fairly comfortable with the correct spelling now. Another big one was “integer.” By the time I was doing any sort of math work that I remember, I was homeschooled and reading it out of a textbook. I still, to this day, have to stop and think about the correct pronunciation of that word (and about half the time, talk myself around to the wrong version anyways.)

Epitome … I still pronounce it wrong just for fun.
Bough and Draught used to confuse the heck out of me.
When I was younger I could never remember if you were to pronounce the “w” in sword or not. Inevitably I would talk myself out of the right way to say it. Every. Time.

I still have to think about the correct way to say Parabola. My default is Para-Bola and my calc teacher hated that I couldn’t get it right. (It’s Per-ab-ola, I think? I have to think about this).

And any French word is sure to be mispronounced. There are far too many letters involved for the few syllables required.

Also, I may have changed my major in college because I couldn’t pronounce the chemical names correctly – and when you confuse one word with another, well, green ooze may be involved. Thankfully, I only mispronounce parabola so Math is a good field for me. :) That and how many people say “5” wrong?

My seventh grade English teacher would read books to the class. One of the books she read was the first Harry Potter book. She pronounced Hermione as “Hermaneen”. I’m still not sure what it was that made her think that that was even in the ballpark.

On a slightly related note, when you say “that that” out loud, do you pronounce the two that’s differently? I have always said it like “thet that”. Is this some sort of regional thing? I recently came to the realization that I speak a bit in the Yooper dialect and Inland North American. (Thanks, Wikipedia!)

“Paradigm.” I saw it on a bumper sticker when I was in junior high and had never heard it pronounced before, so I felt really silly when I pronounced it “para-dig-em.” My mom chuckled and corrected me.

(When I was learning to read, I would read everything I could while we were driving somewhere, and my parents still laugh at me for pronouncing “pharmacy” fack-ruh-minky.)

I did the same thing with “omnipotent”. I also thought “chaste” was pronounced “chast” instead of “chayste”, because I never had to use it out loud. I was corrected by a teacher in 11th grade, who then gave me the definition like I didn’t know the word at all.

And my little sister was first learning to read, she thought “boutique” was pronounced “booty-que”. My family still thinks it’s funny.

My fourth grade teacher pronounced the goddess’ name Daphne as “DAFF-in”.

My immigrant mother still pronounces aluminum as “AL-min-um” and eliminates the t in “comfortable”. I actually say the middle syllable, so it is “CUM-fer-tuh-bull”.

Leave a Reply