Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Can We Stop Mangling the Language Already

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Can We Stop Mangling the Language Already

Article excerpt

Byline: Lee Scott

YOU'RE SAYING IT WRONG

Authors: Ross Petras and Kathryn Petras

Data: Ten Speed Press, 181 pages $14.99

We've all been there. We mispronounce a word and someone (friend, family, or pompous jerk) corrects us publicly. Embarrassing.

In "You're Saying It Wrong: A Pronunciation Guide to the 150 Most Commonly Mispronounced Words and Their Tangled Histories of Misuse" brother and sister authors Ross and Kathryn Petras say that nearly 50 percent of Americans are irritated by mispronunciations and correct their family and friends, and even more (63 per cent) millennials - 18 to 34 years old - admit to this habit.

They call these mispronounced words "shibboleth words:" Ones that trip you up, mix you up and "make you sound like an ignoramus ... right when you're trying to sound intellectual."

Shibboleth comes from the Hebrew. It means a custom or mode for speaking that distinguishes one group from another. Sometimes it can be deadly. …

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