When I was in the army, my first duty station was at Fort Lewis, which is in Washington state. Mount Rainer, the “floating mountain” is probably the most visible landmark — at least next to the Space Needle.
One of the things that always tripped up visitors was some of the names. The area has a lot of Native American names like Seattle and and Tillicom. Seattle is, of course, the big city where the airport and the Space Needle are. Tillicom was off Fort Lewis and the kind of place where you would look askance at anyone who bought a used car there.
But the name that everyone had trouble with was a nearby city called Pullyup.
Most people look at the name and try to sound it out: “Pulley Up.”
We knew instantly that they weren’t local — no mind reading necessary. The correct pronunciation is “Pee All Up.” Yeah, it doesn’t look like what it sounds like.
But, while I was laughing at visitors’ mispronunciations, I had one of my own, for the word “Potomac.” It was actually because I’d only read the word, and it seemed like such a logical way to pronounce it …
Poe toe mac.
All because of Fotomat!
There are lots of lists of commonly misspelled words. Karen Reddick has a list of commonly mispronounced words, like people dropping the r in “Library.” C’mon! We like libraries. We wouldn’t do that!
So fess up! What words have you been horrified to discover you’ve pronounced wrong?
Beam on over to my post The Subplots Made Me Do It on Unleaded — Fuel for Writers.