Sarah Palin ("SERR-UH PAY-LIN")

by phil on Saturday Aug 30, 2008 7:56 AM
playing with language

I live in a world where there's many many more words that I know than I know how to pronounce. I don't watch TV, and I don't always talk to my friends about what I read. For most of yesterday, I was pronouncing Sarah Palin as "SERR-UH PAH-LIN." Didn't get corrected, nor didn't even know of the need to be corrected, until I saw YouTubes later in the day discussing her.

Medvedev. Tskhinvali. I even pronounced Ossetia in my head with a silent e for a while.

From wikipedia, "Back-chaining":

Back-chaining is a useful technique in teaching oral language skills, specially with polysyllabic words. Suppose that you're teaching someone to pronounce the name 'Mussorgsky'. First, you ask him to say the last syllable: -sky; then to repeat it with -sorg- attached before: -sorg-sky; and all that remains is the first syllable: Mus-sorg-sky.

This technique is easier than the front-chaining, starting with the first syllable, which requires that the student put the new element first where it's more difficult to forget. Back-chaining keeps the phonological structure of English better than front-chaining (normally there is no difference in stress between a word spoken in isolation and one spoken at the end of a sentence) and it's arguably better to start with the final syllable (main stress in bold)

The eminent psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi tells audiences his last name is easy to pronounce if you say "chicks sent me high."

Metathesis is the reversal of letters within a word, such as "iron" being pronounced as "iorn."

A wonderful thread on kottke about saying words wrong on purpose. I'm a major offender. similar thread on xkcd.

Sub-vocal articulation is the little voice in your head that pronounces while performing silent reading. I told my friend I wanted to take an intro course in every major language so I could sub-vocally articulate clearly and digest my reading more fluidly.

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