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It’s Vlaining Outside
I just looked out my window and saw it was vlaining. Now, you’re probably thinking, “Stad, it’s pronounced raining.” I know. I was just thinking about our daughters when we first brought them home from Russia.
Although they learned English fairly quickly, there were some words they had trouble pronouncing. “Rain” was “vlain” for a while (there must have been a lot of Vladimirs working at the orphanage). Another word was “punkuter” for “computer.” Middle daughter used to say something was “cruge” (huge). Later, she started using the more common “ginormous”—and still does.
I remember when I was growing up, I had trouble with the number “three.” I always said “free” instead. It drove my mother crazy because I could pronounce “throw” correctly. To this day, I still intentionally mispronounce the word “champagne” like The Continental on SNL—”cham-pag-ne”—as a mnemonic whenever I have to write it (as I did just now).
What words did your kids have trouble with? And do you have any clever mnemonics you use to help with spelling troublesome words?
And it’s still vlaining . . .Published in General
Did you have a brother named Arfur?
My Marine is 26 and native born. English is still his second language.
For a short while, my daughter had trouble figuring out how to produce the sh dipththong. She pronounced the word shoe entirely through her nose, something I have never been able to imitate.
She also said washmelon instead of marshmallow. I always thought washmelons sounded like they ought to be a real thing.
I recall a substitute teacher was giving us a spelling test and he did the following:
“Spell amenities, a-men-i-ties, amenities.”
We all got 100% on that test, and I still hear “a-men-i-ties” as I type that word.
I keep saying “free frow” for free throw.
One of my two best friends from school still can’t say lemonade. And she grew up in a pub and worked behind the bar so it was extra funny to us.
What’s his first?
A language only used by the few, the proud. it has few words but the most common words are yes and sir.
I think the “th” sound is difficult for many. I’ve had a number of three year old children tell me they’re “free.” Many of our grandson’s peers, and his younger sister, pronounced his name Arthur as “Arfur” when they were 18 months to about four years old. He was clear early on he wanted the full version, not the shortened “Artie,” or his parents’ initial intention to use his initials “AJ.”
Even adults. Undergraduate engineering fluid mechanics class, professor recently immigrated from the Netherlands. “Throttling valve” always pronounced “tottling valve.”
Some friends taking chemistry class with a Czechoslovokian-born professor said he told them, “Entropy and enthalpy (both pronounced ‘entlapy’); never get these confused.”
Interesting. My son would always refer to movie theater as the “futer”. Then his baby sister started copying him and now that they are teens, there will still joke that they want to go to the futer. Good to see it is not just them.
I still get confused about how to spell weird–or is it wierd?
Marines are born speaking ‘Grunt’.
It’s awkward to correct people when they say “prostrate cancer”; I just wince and move on.
I laugh when I see “apart” instead of “a part.” It is probably a byproduct of technology, autocorrect, and spellcheckers.
I had champagne in Champaign once.
There is the ubiquitous “basketty” for spaghetti. Don’t all kids say that?
Surprised it’s not been mentioned yet.
Buh sket ty
I said Hopsital until I was four. Spelled it that way, too.
Why were you having to spell a word like hospital at only four??
My grandson is really interested in numbers. He’s four, and not only can count as high as anyone would wish him to (and then some) and write them all down, he can spell them. Including “eight” (?!?).
Anyway, because we drive around together, I have been made aware of just how many numbers one small boy can spot from a car seat strapped into the back of a Grannymobile. (Lots. And lots. Really numbing numbers of numbers…) He is especially interested in the white rectangular signs that transmit instructions from the Speed Lemon.
I love the Speed Lemon.
In grade school we were sometimes asked to read aloud for the class. I remember mispronouncing “Colonel Washington” while reading from the history book. When I heard it was “Kernel”, I was thoroughly flustered.
Not pronunciation, but spelling. When our son was in third grade he read a lot of Paddington Bear books. We had bought a full set in Britain on one of our visits. We also had a set of British Beatrix Potter books he had read. We’ve bought a few book sets in Britain just for the fun of having the British version. But then he ran into a bit of trouble on his California school spelling tests. He had seen British spelling so often (colour, flavour, etc.) that’s what “looked” right to him, so that’s how he spelled them on the tests.
What even is the Speed Lemon?
Just normal conversation. The spelling part was when they asked me to spell it to clarify how to pronounce it. I misspelled it to be as I pronounced it. And they corrected me. I don’t remember much of the conversation after that.
Conversations usually go downhill after a person gets corrected.
Is there any child who doesn’t say calapitter before they learn to say caterpillar? I’m kind of surprised the former hasn’t become standard English, given how common it is.
Whenever we hear a fire siren, Mr. SiS says, ‘Fie enj! Fie enj!’ This is a holdover from a childhood friend who couldn’t pronounce ‘fire engine.’ I’ve learned to use it, too. Makes us chuckle.
“Cimmanon” for cinnamon seems pretty common.
When we were kids, one of my younger brothers – I don’t remember which – couldn’t say our aunt Melba’s name. It came out “Bo-bo” and so she was “Aunt Bobo” from then on.
Our sister – the youngest of the 6 – couldn’t seem to say “steak sauce.” It came out “steak stock.” We still refer to “steak stock” (or “sweet and sour stock” etc.) among ourselves.
And we still razz our mother, probably at least 50 years later, about the time she made Snickerdoodle cookies sprinkled with salt instead of sugar.