Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Answer to Yesterday’s Quick Quiz

To make sense of this post, you need to first read the previous one, which asks you to identify the mispronounced word in each of three video clips.

Clip #1: The mispronounced word is hydra (at the approx. 13-second mark, when the interviewer says “an enemy that is a many-headed hydra…,” mispronouncing hydra as heed-ruh). The correct pronunciation: hy-druh.

Clip #2: The mispronounced word is mores (at the approx. 16-second mark, when Michael Gerson says “change in sexual mores that you see in Hollywood…,” mispronouncing mores as mawrz). The correct pronunciation: mawr-ays, with the second syllable -ays rhyming with the word “days.”

Clip #3: The mispronounced word is hyperbole (at the approx. 5-second mark, when Chuck Todd says “perhaps it was a bit of hyperbole…,” pronouncing hyper as in such words as hyperactive, hypercritical, hypersensitive). The correct pronunciation: hy-puhr-buh-lee. Note the stress on the second syllable -puhr.

Why bother? It would be worth your while to revisit the concluding paragraph (the one titled “A reminder why correct pronunciation matters”) in my blog post of February, 2013, triggered by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s pronunciation of chasm as chaz-um instead of kaz-um. As I said then, please do not ever use a high-caliber word unless you are absolutely sure about its pronunciation and usage. Otherwise, you’ll come across as being bookish and insular. And some in your audience might even think that you picked up the highfalutin terms while preparing for the interview or presentation.

© Copyright 2015  V. J. Singal

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