the Bucky Four-Eyes Cotillion

Friday, November 10, 2006

For the love of our mother tongue

You know, I'm usually a pretty mellow, live-and-let-live, gimme-another-drink-and-flip-me-over kinda girl. I even put up quite well with most butchery of the English language by its native speakers, because really, in the grand scheme of things, it's not that big a deal. It's not important like, say, celebrity gossip, or music sales charts, or monkeys. Nothing is as important as monkeys.

But there's one mispronunciation that has always made my skin crawl, and upon seeing it added as a nonstandard yet correct pronunciation in the dictionary, I just want to beat myself in the head with a frozen sockeye salmon until I'm in a coma. When I awaken from the coma, I really hope this abomination will be stricken from the books.

Here's the word: MISCHIEVOUS.

Correct pronunciation: MIS-cha-vus

Mischievous is a three-syllable word, not a four-syllable word. But all my life, I've heard people, even a lot of my teachers, say it thusly:


NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO motherfucking NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! There is no extra syllable, no third "i" in the word. Let's break it down.


See? Three syllables. It is NOT spelled "mischievIous" and so should NEVER be pronounced "mis-CHEE-vee-us."

I don't care if you say "ain't" or if you end a sentence with a preposition or even if you say ARKtic instead of ARtic for arctic (though the last one may make me twitch a little). But if you continue to say misCHEEveeus, I believe western civilization will come to a screeching halt, babies will toddle feral in the streets, and Britney will go back to K-Fed.

All I'm saying is: please stop it, people. You're giving me an aneurysm. You mischievous monkeys.

21 of you felt the overwhelming need to say somethin':

Blogger Mr. Bloggerific Himself said...

*reaches for his cell phone for a little early morning Gcast*

6:28 AM, November 10, 2006  
Blogger Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

Now that I think about it, I don't think I've ever used that word in written form and sort of assumed an incorrect spelling. Thanks for the spelling and pronunciation lesson;>

8:18 AM, November 10, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Bucky. Thank you.

10:10 AM, November 10, 2006  
Blogger Effie said...

I say it MIS-chuh-vus

definitely only 3 syllables! Thank you for the lesson!

Have you ever heard a grown woman say the word special "es-special"--what's THAT all about??!!

10:22 AM, November 10, 2006  
Blogger Squirl said...

Thank you, dear sister. That one bugs me, too. It bugs Tardist even more, though. He'd really appreciate this post.

Now isn't that es-special? ;)

10:38 AM, November 10, 2006  
Blogger thatfarmgirl said...

Amen. For the record, you may pronounce arctic either way.

12:44 PM, November 10, 2006  
Blogger Spilling Ink said...

How about dropping the 't' in 'often'? Nails on a chalkboard.

1:50 PM, November 10, 2006  
Blogger Effie said...

oh Squirly Girl--yer a funny one! ACK! Stop her now before it gets too far!!!!!!!!

2:21 PM, November 10, 2006  
Blogger Effie said...

offen offen offen offen--maybe it's just the accent around here but nobody says the 't' in often here...

2:22 PM, November 10, 2006  
Blogger Memphis said...

Well dang it, if'n you hadn't told me I probably would never have known. I'm a 'sound it out' kind'a guy and it looks like miss-chee-vee-us to me. But I'll keep that in mind from now on. Now, if I can just get my wife to stop saying 'sal-uh-mon' instead of 'sam-on' and her mother to stop saying 'ill-i-noise' when it should be 'ill-i-noy' then I'll be good to go.

4:15 PM, November 10, 2006  
Blogger BillyWarhol said...

Hey U thx fer poppin by me Blog!!!!


i'm a lil disappointed yer Blog Banner is nothing short of a complete ripoff of Maya Angelou*******************

will U give the Address at my Presidential Swearing the Fuck in Ceremony?????

thx in advance yer Flickr lovechild & Tchotchke CROTCHKE Boy BillyWarhol**************


5:40 PM, November 10, 2006  
Blogger Platypus said...

I'm with you on that one, Bucky. My pet hate is the mispronunciation of the word 'patented' (PAY-TUN-TID if you're a Brit) to PAINT-UN-TID ... There's an ad on in England where the voiceover guy says it several times and I just want to reach into the TV and remove his tonsils by hand...

6:16 PM, November 10, 2006  
Blogger Katy Barzedor said...

I was taught that it was incorrect to pronouce the "T" in "often" - though I see that now lists it as an alternate pronunciation.


6:46 PM, November 10, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So how come americans pronounce ALU-MIN-I-UM as aluminum. Where did the extra I go in america?! I hate that.

7:41 PM, November 10, 2006  
Blogger I'm not here. said...

My skin-crawler?
Specific vs. Pacific (yes, the ocean!)

"To be pacific, I--"
"WHOA! WaitwaitWAIT! You're what?!"
"I'm being pacific here. I--"
"No, you're being a retard! You aren't a damn ocean."
"What? I don't get it."
"Besides, you have more oceans and seas to choose from if you're going to be a body of water...where are you going?"
"You're an ass."
"I know. Where are you going?"

7:56 PM, November 10, 2006  
Blogger Dixie said...

The one that really gets to me:

axe = ask

May I axe you a question?

Makes me want to bitch slap a person.

9:30 PM, November 10, 2006  
Blogger Katy Barzedor said...

Anon - the American spelling actually leaves off the last "i"

Don't axe me why...probably the same thinking that lost the "u" from colour, neighbour, etc...

Billy - Maya Angelou *wishes* she had a cat as gloriously gay as Wobbles!

10:20 PM, November 10, 2006  
Blogger Life said...

maybe it is a regional dialect thing. i've never pronounced it with three syllables and i would bet most everyone i know around here says it the 3 syllable way. mischeeeevious.

12:02 AM, November 11, 2006  
Blogger Madame D said...

So many words with "t" are mispronounced.
Cotton. Button. Do you say "t", or just "BUH-in"?
Drives me nuts.

1:25 AM, November 11, 2006  
Blogger Spilling Ink said...

Missing Ts make me so crazy (I don't know why), that at times it actually causes me to say a few odd things myself. Fertile to me is 'FUR-tile' because I can't stand hearing 'FUR-dul'. I could go on about the T thing, but I really must stop now or I'll be totally whacked about this even into tomorrow!

I love my husband, but he makes up his own words, so I can't let this slop into tomorrow. Just for fun -- he says oblivia instead of oblivion. It is oblivion, right? Or is his language thing contagious? Do you see what I'm up against here?! I have GOT to go to sleep!! I'm sure it will all come clear again in the morning.

2:11 AM, November 11, 2006  
Blogger Susie said...

I hate that too. Mischievous and menstruation. People try to make menses about minstrels or administration or something.

Last night I took LG to a Girl Scout pajama dance, and there were, no lie, happy girls in PJs, dancing wildly while throwing (stuffed) monkeys high in the air and catching them. Now does that say "par-tay" or what? I thought of you :)

9:36 AM, November 18, 2006  

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