Tag Archives: Pronunciation Tip

Pronunciation tip: Uranus

OK, we all know that there are two ways people pronounce Uranus. We may even have strong opinions on which is better. But are they both correct? Is one more correct than the other? Time to find out!

Pronunciation tip: decisive, divisive, err

My latest pronunciation tip is about three words that my mother often corrected me on when I was young. I decided to bring the subject up again when I was visiting my parents… so this one has some cameos!

Pronunciation tip: pronunciation

Most of us, as kids, learned that it’s “pronunciation” and not “pronounciation.” But do you know why? And do you know why someone might think you’re saying one when you’re saying the other?

Pronunciation tip: sbagliato

Recently Emma D’Arcy (of House of the Dragon) made a splash when they mentioned that their favourite drink for unwinding is a negroni sbagliato. I’m not here to tell you how to make cocktails – recipes are amply available online – but people are uncertain about how to say sbagliato, and that’s where I step in. Here’s my latest pronunciation tip.

Pronunciation tip: Ancient Greek philosophers

I’ve been wanting to do this pronunciation tip for a while, but I needed to wait until I could get my two friends to give the Classical and modern Greek pronunciations to go along with the English versions of the names. The time has come! (Advisory: The Greek pronunciations are for fun only. If you go around saying these names in those ways, no one will understand you and/or they’ll think you’re a pretentious weirdo.)

Pronunciation tip: Dutch names

Any time I get to watch speed skating, I can’t help but notice two things: Dutch skaters are really good, and English-speaking announcers are really… challenged by Dutch names. So I decided to do a pronunciation tip that gives you a heads-up on some key details of Dutch pronunciation.

Pronunciation tip: Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic venues

I’ve done a quick pronunciation tip video to help anyone who’s a bit daunted by some of the place names that are associated with the Beijing Winter Olympics.

Pronunciation tip: Umlaut

One of the viewers of my last pronunciation tip asked if I could do one on letters with umlauts on them. So I did – with a little digression on articulatory and acoustic phonetics just to explain a bit of what is going on, and because I’m a huge linguistics geek.

Don’t be misled or go awry

My latest article for The Week is about book words – words you’ve learned from a book without learning the pronunciation. We’ve all had them, and there’s no shame in it:

Don’t be misled or go awry with ‘book words’

And here’s my companion pronunciation tip video (also embedded in the article):

Pronunciation tip: French philosophers

In response to my guide on how to say the names of German philosophers, I had a request to do one for French philosophers. Personal experience tells me that giving pronunciation tips for French words or names is a good way to get into an argument – probably with another English speaker who is very confident in French pronunciation but shouldn’t be (although French speakers are also known for having little leeway for deviation from what each considers the best French, even though it varies quite a bit from person to person). But what the heck. It’s fun. And at the very least, it will help English speakers who really aren’t sure. So here you go: the full names of Abélard, Althusser, Bachelard, Barthes, Bataille, Baudrillard, de Beauvoir, Bergson, Bourdieu, Brunschvicg, Camus, Canguilhem, Cavaillès, Cixous, Comte, Debord, Deleuze, Derrida, Descartes, Diderot, Duhem, Foucault, Gilson, Kojève, Lacan, Levinas, Lévi-Strauss, Lyotard, Macherey, Malebranche, Merleau-Ponty, Montaigne, Montesquieu, Poincaré, Ricœur, Rousseau, Sartre, Saussure, Tocqueville, Voltaire, Vuillemin, and Wahl.