Announcing And Performance: Commonly Mispronounced Words

Proper pronunciation of words is indispensable in announcing and performance. Since English is our official language, it is important to learn how the sounds that make up the language are made. These comprise the vowel sounds (short vowels, long vowels and diphtongs) plus the consonant sounds. It is not enough to know the spellings of words because words spelt in the same way can be pronounced differently depending on their meanings.

Also, some letters in a word may be silent. So the announcer/presenter needs phonetic training not just in the phonetic transcription of words but in how the phonetic symbols are pronounced and the stresses that have to be observed in pronouncing certain words which help to produce the right modulation of the voice and cadences in delivery that make one’s communication meaningful and comprehensible.

Announcing and performance does not require speaking with a fake or phoney accent. Clear enunciation of words in line with their phonetic transcriptions is all that is needed.

Although our emphasis is on English language, the announcer/presenter should endeavour to pronounce people’s and place names correctly, particularly those of people who are regularly in the news. Note that in Eastern Europe and Germany, they often pronounce w as v, e.g. Weber; eu as oi, e.g. Feuer; ei as ai, e.g. Fraulein. Furthermore, the French make nasal sounds, e.g. with r like in Mitterand and pronounce double ll as y, e.g. Marseilles. All these should be taken into account in announcing and programme presentation.

Words that are commonly mispronounced
chaos, marijuana
fracas, sachet
hyperbole, chargé d’affaires
bide, architecture
archangel, archetype
archbishop, archway
bass, beacon
plague, plumber, plumbing
comb, lamb
bomb, tomb
sing, singer
bath, bathe, twilight
leopard, shepherd
chic, chef
hustle, bustle
vineyard, divorce
chosen, cuisine
subtle, stifle
sword, whore
tyranny, tyrannical, tyrannise
Christian, Christendom, christen
heir, ewe
cub, tub, grotesque
machete, awesome
bouquet, sobriquet
clothed, karate
vision, genre
visa, pizza, data

People and place names that are commonly mispronounced
Venus, the Magi
Francois, Kyrgiyztan
Djokovic, Ibrahimovic
Angela (in German)
Montréal, Illinois
Chicago, New Jersey
Arkansas, Michigan
Sean, Segun
Heidi, Jose
Juanita, Rajoy
Fenerbahçe, Ayax
Marseilles, Leicester

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