Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The perils of youth literacy

When I was, I read a lot of books that I was probably not old enough to read. I had an interest in science and read copiously from encyclopaedias and other books to get my fix of information on chiefly dinosaurs, snakes, meteorology and astronomy (I can't remember the other topics). Anyway, in adult life there have been many signs of how my youthful exuberance exceeded my proficiency to read accurately. There are so many words which I learnt from through reading but through the misapplication of pronunciation rules and the poor assumption of meaning.

For pronunciation, it often involved the wrong placement of stress in a word e.g. banal (pronounced 'bay'), the incorrect vowel botany (with 'boat') as a first syllable and puberty (with 'pub'). All of these stayed with me for years and I have been corrected by others. Now at the age of 27, I have discovered that another word from my youth, taciturn, I have long pronounced wrongly. I have always said it in the coolest way: tacky-turn. But the word is related to 'tacit' and the pronunciation of 'taciturn' is the same. Ah well.

1 comment:

Crypticity said...

Another word found during Strange day was 'pious' which I pronounced similar to 'pierce'. Correctly, it is pronounced pie-us.