Tag Archives: Pronunciation Tip

Pronunciation tip: waistcoat, boatswain, gunwale, victuals, forecastle, blackguard, topgallant sail

Shanties are the thing just now, so I thought I’d take the occasion to use one for a pronunciation tip on some words that have undergone sea changes between spelling and pronunciation. Here it is:

And here are the words:

Oh, I was a sailor without a mess kit
waistcoat, boatswain, gunwale, victuals
I came aboard in a top hat and waistcoat
forecastle, blackguard, topgallant sail, hey!

They stripped me down, I was half frozen
waistcoat, boatswain, gunwale, victuals
Got fifteen lashes from a surly boatswain 
forecastle, blackguard, topgallant sail, hey!

There’s many a sight in land and sea to cause good people consternation
But the cursedest thing that ever be is English spelling and pronunciation

I said where’s me grog, they gave me a funnel
waistcoat, boatswain, gunwale, victuals
Till I emptied me guts hanging off a gunwale 
forecastle, blackguard, topgallant sail, hey!

I’m a man of letters, jots and tittles,
waistcoat, boatswain, gunwale, victuals
But I nearly died from the lack of victuals 
forecastle, blackguard, topgallant sail, hey!

You think it’s funny; I tell you, jokes’ll
waistcoat, boatswain, gunwale, victuals
Fall damn flat lashed down to the forecastle 
forecastle, blackguard, topgallant sail, hey!

There’s many a thing that tries your hand in ocean and geography
But you will never understand phonemics and orthography

They all called me weak, they called me a laggard
waistcoat, boatswain, gunwale, victuals
I’ll never forgive the captain, that blackguard 
forecastle, blackguard, topgallant sail, hey!

Taking to sea in search of yarns’ll
waistcoat, boatswain, gunwale, victuals
End with you hanging up by the topgallant sail 
forecastle, blackguard, topgallant sail, hey!

Oh, I have faced the worstest riddles that mind and tongue will ever say:
waistcoat, boatswain, gunwale, victuals, forecastle, blackguard, topgallant sail, hey!

Pronunciation tip: schism and schedule

People have opinions on how to say schism and schedule. Strong opinions. I’m here to set the matter straight.

Pronunciation tip: German philosophers

For my latest pronunciation tip, I’m focusing on something that has given me some issues over the years: the names of German philosophers. One can’t grow up in Canada without seeing their names just all over the place, of course, and yet no one seems to know how to say many of them. So I called in some help. Now you too can find out the German way to say the names of Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz, Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Johann Christian Friedrich Hölderlin, Karl Wilhelm Friedrich (von) Schlegel, Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher, Arthur Schopenhauer, Ludwig Andreas von Feuerbach, Jakob Friedrich Fries, Wilhelm Dilthey, Ernst Alfred Cassirer, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, Friedrich Ludwig Gottlob Frege, Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein, Edmund Gustav Albrecht Husserl, Karl Theodor Jaspers, Martin Heidegger, Hannah Arendt, and Jürgen Habermas. Sing along, now!

Pronunciation tip: Canada’s provinces, territories, and main cities

Pronunciation tip: Canada’s provinces, territories, and main cities

July 1 is Canada Day, and so in honour of that, I’ve done a video about the names of all the provinces and territories and their capitals and largest cities. If you’re not Canadian and intend to talk about Canada, you will probably find this useful. If you are Canadian and know how to say all these names, you may still find this useful because I say where all the names are from. I bet you don’t know! Hint: It’s mostly rivers, lakes, and Queen Victoria’s family.

Pronunciation tip: Mozart’s operas

It’s been too long since I’ve done a pronunciation tip. So here, to make up for that, are 23 of them. It’s all 23 of Mozart’s operas and opera-like works, with the original language and what you might say in English. I’ve done it in reverse chronological order, since people usually care more about the later ones.

If you’re just looking for a specific one, here are the times for all of them:
0:41 Die Zauberflöte
1:04 La clemenza di Tito
1:23 Der Stein der Weisen
1:44 Così fan tutte
2:58 Don Giovanni
3:39 Le nozze di Figaro
4:02 Der Schauspieldirektor
4:31 Lo sposo deluso
4:50 L’oca del Cairo
5:06 Die Entführung aus dem Serail
5:44 Idomeneo, re di Creta
6:16 Zaide
6:20 Thamos, König in Ägypten
7:06 Il re pastore
7:21 La finta giardiniera
7:49 Lucio Silla
8:06 Il sogno di Scipione
8:26 Ascanio in Alba
8:47 Mitridate, re di Ponto
9:04 La finta semplice
9:18 Bastien und Bastienne
9:37 Apollo et Hyacinthus
9:46 Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots

Pronunciation tip: hegemony

There’s probably not a person who knows this word who wasn’t confused about the pronunciation the first time they saw it. It’s OK, though: there are many different accepted and established pronunciations. But there is one that, in my experience, is more reliable than the others. Here’s a bit of talk-head-gemony to lay it down for you.

Pronunciation tip: Turandot

There are, probably unsurprisingly, many people who are unsure how to pronounce the name of the opera Turandot (and its title character). There are also, also (alas) unsurprisingly, people with very strong opinions on the subject, and they don’t all agree. So it’s my turn with the facts. No one sleeps until we sort this out!

Pronunciation tip: Banff

Over the holidays I was in Banff, where I spent an important part of my formative years, and I thought I should do a pronunciation tip. What did I choose? WapitiNorquay? Kootenay? Mount Lefroy? Nope, something trickier: Banff.

Oh, you know how to say “Banff.” You do! No one gets it wrong, unless they’re doing it on purpose or don’t speak English comfortably. But the odds are very good that you don’t know how you’re actually saying it. Guess what: This is really a phonology tip!

Oktoberfest pronunciation tip

Yes, of course you can say “Oktoberfest,” and however you say it is going to be close enough, especially if you’re holding a stein or two. But how about Weltschmerz, Zeitgeist, Weltanschauung, Schadenfreude, Götterdämmerung, Wunderkind, gemütlich, Weissbier, and dunkel? (By the way, nouns are compulsorily capitalized in German, but adjectives aren’t.) Watch my latest video to find out!

Pronunciation tip: Southern Tier

I was in the Southern Tier of Western New York this past weekend – that’s where a lot of my ancestors over the past century and a half lived. You may wonder why you should care; the answer is that it’s really beautiful there. And it’s a big area, three times the size of Rhode Island. Most of the place names there aren’t too difficult to figure out (Portville, Jamestown, Dunkirk), but there are a few that might trip you up. So here’s a run-down of 16 of them that you might like to know before you go.