Homely

That’s the word I went out on, for fuck’s sake.

Before you judge, you need to understand that A) the pronouncer was mispronouncing EVERYTHING all night, and B) she pronounced that word “HO-MUH-LEE.” Not “HOME-LEE.” So, since I knew she was mispronouncing everything, and the previous word I’d gotten right (“vespertine,” which she pronounced “vesper-tayhn,” which, yes, is acceptable, but certainly not how I would say it) was religious, I assumed she was mispronouncing “homily.” Which is how I spelled it.

And okay, technically, the definition of “vespertine” has nothing to do with religion, but I know from vespers, which is how I got it. (You know, besides the fact it’s completely phonetic.) I want that on the record, because as soon as I came back from my one and only triumph, Al and Mean Asian Girl were both all, “Well, duh, it’s a Bjork album!” (“But isn’t that pronounced.. vesper-TEEN?”) AND I DO NOT KNOW FROM BJORK! It’s well-documented that I’m pop culture illiterate beyond 1994! I got that all by my very own recovering Catholic self!

So, yeah. “Vespertine” was Round 1. 40-odd out of 60-odd competitors were eliminated in Round 1, so I can feel pretty good about clearing that one, right? Though I must admit, more than anything, it was the luck of the draw. There were words in Round 1 I didn’t know at all, so if I’d gotten those, it would have been game over. And there was only one word all night (“acetylene” — pronounced “UH-SET-UH-LIN”; again, technically correct, but not goddamned Amurrican) I recognized as something I probably would have kicked my own ass over, because I DO know how to spell it, but I might not have gotten it right on my first try out loud. (The person who got that word went, “A-S-” and the entire room went “AWWWWWW!” I wouldn’t have been that bad, at least. But I might well have gone, “A-C-E-T-E-L-Y-N-E.”) For the most part, I either knew how to spell the words or had never heard them before in my life.

But seriously, y’all, HO-MUH-LEE? For “homely”? What the fuck is that? Immediately prior to that, someone went out on “debouchment,” which was pronounced “DUH-BYOOSH-MENT.” That person asked for a definition, which included the word “mouth” (of a river), so I figured it was “bouch(e)” not “buch,” but how the fuck do you get “byoosh” out of “bouche”? (I probably would have gone out on that word, too, by spelling it “debouchement,” but the BYOOSH was fucking unforgivable!) I HATE YOU, PRONOUNCER LADY!

The worst part, of course, was being able to spell, like, every fucking word that came after I was eliminated. Mean Asian Girl and I sat there, far enough away from the stage that we couldn’t be accused of helping people cheat, spelling every fucking word before the actual remaining contestants got them. GRRRRRR. The only gratifying part after being eliminated (besides a complimentary drink) was seeing my very young, stoner ex-neighbor finally eliminated, after three rounds of lucking the hell out with words like “sophomore” and “umlaut.” (The latter pronounced “OOM-LOT.”) We left immediately after that, so I don’t know who won. I just got very drunk and kept saying, “HOMELY! HOME-LEE!” all night. (Al, eventually: “Okay, honey, YOU’VE HAD ENOUGH OF THE LOUD JUICE NOW!” Mean Asian Girl: “‘Cause she’s normally so subtle??”)

I hate spelling bees. And I’m very drunk. That is all.

81 thoughts on “Homely

  1. Yes I agree! I hate spelling bees on principle, and I am also drunk! We shall commiserate together, Kate, even though I live several time zones away.

  2. Meowser stole my cleverest response. But still. You WERE robbed. I think drunkenness is the best response of all though. Too bad my mother didn’t think of that when I was thirteen.

  3. I totally think you should sign up next year, get drunk ahead of time, and spell everything like your favorite word is spelled, or something that will get a rise out of the audience.
    You know:

    Mis-pronouncer: “HO-MUH-LEE.”

    KH: “Homuhlee. Homuhlee! O.R.G.A.S.M. Homuhlee.”

    Or, maybe, “P.R.O.P.E.R.P.R.O.N.U.N.C.I.A.T.I.O.N”

  4. That pronouncer is pathetic!

    I blame the pronouncer for mumbling through the word so fast I had to have it repeated fifty times before I could make it out, in the incident where I flew to Washington D.C. just to spell “crinoline” as “C-R-I-L-O-oh, darn.” Ironically, I had never heard the word before, but guessed correctly how to spell it, and then botched it because I was flustered, for which I blame the repeat fifty times thing. I didn’t really have a chance, but it would have been nice to pass round 1.

    But your pronouncer is a whole lot worse!

    The year before that I went out on phlox at the lowest level. Stupid flower! But very decorative on the roadside.

  5. You could do like one of the runners-up at the Buzzed Bee (which I won last year) – just go dressed as a Catholic schoolkid and spell everything “P. O. O. N.”

    He gave me his porn when I won.

  6. Nice, Elusis and Charlie!

    There was one guy who, faced with an unfamiliar word and bitter (as we all were) about that kid who kept drawing the easy ones, just went, “Maraschino. S-O-P-H-O-M-O-R-E. Maraschino!”

    I could have spelled “maraschino,” dammit.

  7. Aww, I’m so sorry, Kate! My very first day at my new high school, our English teacher gave us a spelling test, which included something she pronounced “vice-a verse-a”. “Oh, she means vice versa,” I thought, and wrote that. But I got it wrong, because she was looking for “vica versa.” I argued with her for ten minutes about how in English, a “c” is never a soft c if it’s followed by an “a,” (never mind that the phrase IS “vice versa”). Then finally she told me to shut up and I quieted down and tried to ignore the confused stares of my new classmates.

  8. But I got it wrong, because she was looking for “vica versa.”

    Oh. My. God.

    I love the way you argued it, though. I totally would have gone straight for, “IT’S ‘VICE VERSA,’ YOU FUCKING DOLT. LOOK IT UP.”

  9. HO-MUH-LEE? WTF. I am so full of WTF.

    Admittedly, your acetylene (yeah, I had to scroll up to spell that *facepalm*) pronunciation would probably match the one you mentioned – and now my roommate is looking at me weirdly because I keep randomly saying strange words – but I’m Australian with a British overtone on my accent, so that’s my excuse.

    BUT. You were robbed. ROBBED I SAY.

  10. I DEMAND A RECOUNT

    Seriously, that is so unfair. Whoever set this up should have at least, you know, had a conversation with the pronouncer to make sure they weren’t pronouncing words so bizarrely. You should write a stern letter to the Tribune!

    On a side note, Vespertine is a phenomenal album (says the Bjork fan).

  11. Wow.

    Is it against the rules to tell your pronouncer that they suck and you want someone else?

    Or I would have just batted my eyes and played dumb and said something like “I’m sorry, can I have that word in American-English, please?”

  12. This is total fucking bullshit. I am pissed! There’s no fucking “uh” in “homely.” Who was this pronouncer lady anyway? Tell the organizers they should hire ME as their pronouncer next year (so, like, this girl I know from the internets..?). I never met a word I couldn’t pronounce. My pronunciation-fu is even better than my spelling-fu!

    Fuckers.

  13. Oh gods, this takes me back to my spelling bee days.

    I won a city bee in 5th grade on “bivouac,” but got eliminated at the county level on some word I can’t remember, even though I distinctly remember hearing having Terence Trent D’Arby’s “Wishing Well” stuck in my head during the bee.

    I didn’t even make it to the city bee the next year, because I got eliminated on “propellant,” which I spelled “propellent.” The teacher acting as judge insisted that the words weren’t alternate forms, and the sentence and definition adequately distinguished between the two terms.

    The year after that, the city bee wasn’t an option any more, but I lost out on the chance to take a trip to Disneyland with the honor society (the president of which I had a huge crush on at the time) because I spelled “dipthong” as “diphthong” and was told that I was incorrect because I gave the “British spelling” of the word and not the “American spelling”. (And yes, I used the latter and was told the former was correct, and yes, my spellchecker is flagging the “correct” version).

    Another non-bee spelling test had a teacher pronouncing “erudite” as “area-dite” because she didn’t understand the pronunciation symbols the dictionary used.

  14. Clearly they did not properly vet their MC, if she didn’t know homily from homely. Sheesh. What a crock.

    Now I’m really bummed I couldn’t get out of the office in time. I hate missing a chance to get drunk and snarky about spelling!

  15. jfpbookworm, I am shaking with rage for you!

    Okay, I’m totally not. But I would still be hopping mad about both those experiences if I’d had them.

    Tell the organizers they should hire ME as their pronouncer next year (so, like, this girl I know from the internets..?). I never met a word I couldn’t pronounce. My pronunciation-fu is even better than my spelling-fu!

    Oh, man, that is an awesome tiny superpower! My pronunciation isn’t always stellar, as with a lot of people who read more than they speak to other human beings. Upon sober reflection, for instance, I realize I virtually never have a chance to hear “acetylene” spoken, so Americans and even Chicagoans might be saying “uh-set-uh-lin” all the time, and Al and I both just say “uh-set-uh-leen” in our heads when we read it. (Mean Asian Girl wasn’t there yet to offer input on that one.) But still… ho-muh-lee?

    I mean, granted, if she’d just said, “homely,” the entire room would have groaned because I got even luckier than sophomore dude. There is no honor in spelling “homely” correctly. BUT STILL.

  16. Clearly they did not properly vet their MC, if she didn’t know homily from homely. Sheesh

    It was worse than that. It wasn’t homily (“homm-uh-lee”) either. It was “ho-muh-lee.” As in, a non-existent adverb meaning “done in the manner of home.” (I did ask for a definition out of sheer WTF, and she gave the second one here, so she was reading an entry that clearly gives the pronunciation as “home-lee.”)

    And yes, btw, I know that definition ruled out “homily” in the sense of, you know, its actual meaning. But at that point, I was thinking that non-existent adverb must exist, from the way she was saying it, so I went with that spelling as my best guess.

  17. AAAAAAAAAA!!!!!! So not fair!
    How the hell can anyone possibly think it’s remotely okay to have a PRONOUNCER who doesn’t know how to PRONOUNCE words!?!?!? Somehow seems like that shoulda been a primary qualification for that job, yanno?

    I was totally the kind of snotty show-off-y child who did things like making my fifth grade teacher clarify whether the spelling word was “grandma” or “grammar” (Boston accent) even though if I thought about it for three seconds I would have known “grandma” would never have been a spelling word. Most of my classmates probably knew what it was supposed to be b/c they had actually, ya know, studied the list. Me? Nope, never studied spelling words; part of my picking on her I think was my showing off that I didn’t know what was on the list b/c I hadn’t deigned to study it. *eye roll at my 10-yr-old self*

    also? diphthong/dipthong? WTF!?!? you were so robbed!

  18. Nope, never studied spelling words; part of my picking on her I think was my showing off that I didn’t know what was on the list b/c I hadn’t deigned to study it. *eye roll at my 10-yr-old self*

    Heh. In third grade, I corrected not my teacher’s pronunciation (though I could have, many times) but his fucking spelling list. It was the 50 states, and he had “Massachusetts” as “Massachussetts.” So of course I discreetly brought that up with him after class. By which I mean, I raised my hand in front of everyone and said, “MR. SINCERE, YOU SPELLED MASSACHUSETTS WRONG!” with a strongly implied “IDIOT” at the end there.

    (Yes, his name was really Mr. Sincere.)

    Thus began my lifelong career (sometimes paid!) as an officious little shit when it comes to other people’s spelling and grammar.

  19. Thus began my lifelong career (sometimes paid!) as an officious little shit when it comes to other people’s spelling and grammar.

    Oh, I know your kind, missy!

    Gives Kate patented teacher look.

    But it does suck that she gave homely the extra syllable. I’m sure even the Queen of England would have got loudly drunk after such an injustice.

  20. And okay, I’m hijacking my own thread, but I forgot to get to this:

    I’m still stinging from elementary school when I missed a spelling question because the teacher pronounced “rural” as “rule.”

    Average Jane, do you watch 30 Rock? There was a running joke for a few episodes about Jenna being in a movie no one knew the title of, because it was called “The Rural Juror,” which she pronounced something like, “The Ruhrjuruh.”

    It was funny at the time.

  21. When I first moved to North Carolina in high school, I would have sworn to FSM that my teacher kept mentioning this Faulkner story about aspirin — you know, “The Bayer”?

    I would have lost all the southern spelling bees.

  22. @Kate
    yeah, I tended to go for the “question that’s not really a question” technique (i.e. pretend to be confused when really I understand just fine, it’s just that what they said was wrong) when correcting my teachers, but correct them I did. I’m sure they hated me for it.

    Thus began my lifelong career (sometimes paid!) as an officious little shit when it comes to other people’s spelling and grammar.

    hmm, I need a job, maybe I should look into this ;)

  23. :lol: sm, try being a new kid in a new state/new town/new school (west virginia, from Chicago) and being told on the first day that you’re gonna have a “fah driyll”

    In second grade.

    Talk about confuzzling!

    Kate, honestly, if I were you, I’d be finding out who to complain to. Not just because you lost, but because of the principle of the thing. WTF is the point of having someone there to pronounce the words you’re supposed to be spelling if they can’t pronounce the fuckers correctly?

  24. I would have lost all the southern spelling bees.

    This reminds me of Dooce’s ongoing debate with her husband over whether “crayon” should be pronounced like it’s spelled (duh), or like “crown.” I had never heard ANYONE say “crown” (though I did have a couple teachers who irritated me with “cran”), so when I read the first few entries about it, I kept imagining that somehow, she didn’t really mean “crown.” She meant some word that sounds kind of like “crown,” but really more like “crayon,” because seriously, how the FUCK do you get “crown” out of “crayon?

    Then she put up the audio. “Crown,” clear as a bell.

    I remain baffled. About that AND her admission in the same entry that she PRONOUNCES THE L in “walk,” “talk,” and “chalk.”

    So, yeah, I’m thinking I’d lose southern spelling bees, too.

  25. Kate, honestly, if I were you, I’d be finding out who to complain to.

    You know, if it were anything other than a drunkfest for charity, I might, but since it wasn’t, it’s hardly worth it. :) I might see about getting M. LeBlanc installed as the pronouncer next year, though!

  26. I’m curious about the setting of this adult spelling bee. For some reason I’m imagining a grand hall with everyone in formal dress and discreet waiters handing out canapes, but I’m probably wrong.

  27. For some reason I’m imagining a grand hall with everyone in formal dress and discreet waiters handing out canapes, but I’m probably wrong.

    BWAH!

    The reality: Neighborhood bar/restaurant with a stage usually used for live music. Not a canape in sight (unless you count buffalo wings people paid for). WAY too many people packing the place, and 60+ spellers attempting to line up so they could get to the stage, which was kind of like riding the subway at rush hour. (Would have been much more comfortable if it weren’t for all the goddamned fat people!) I was number 42, and clung to my barstool until number 35 was up, at which point I swam upstream toward the stage. (Which is how I think we were supposed to do it, actually. I heard something about lining up in batches of 10, but it was such a zoo in there, and nobody shut up for the instructions, so all a lot of people heard was, “Spellers, line up!)

    It was really a pretty stunning turnout — although if each of the spellers brought even one person along, it would have been a crowd for that room, so I shouldn’t be surprised. Mean Asian Girl got there late (at almost the exact time I got up to spell “vespertine,” so woo!) and had a major WTF face going on. “There was a LINE. Outside MORSELAND. That was so baffling to me, I didn’t know what to do for a minute!” (Me: “You’re a better friend than I am. If I’d been coming to see you, I totally would have given up and gone home when I saw the line.” Her [mother of a 10-month-old]: “I got a sitter! I wasn’t wasting that!”)

    They did hang some silver cardboard stars on the curtain behind the stage for the evening, which was a nice touch.

  28. Not a canape in sight (unless you count buffalo wings people paid for).

    Dang! Another illusion shot to hell.

    But don’t you think a formal fund-raising spelling bee would be cool? I once went to a theatrical opening where people kept handing out fancy little snacks involving seafood and puff pastry and mini-glasses of booze. I think that would really enhance a spelling bee. Or, indeed, anything.

  29. I would have won the state spelling bee and continued to nationals, when I was in eighth grade, if not for the word “ballistic.” That is to say, when there were only two of us remaining, I misspelled “jocose.” The only other kid left in the competition spelled it correctly and went on to spell “ballistic” correctly.

    The headline in our town’s newspaper the next day? Not kidding:
    “local speller shot down by ‘ballistic'”

    :P

  30. I think a formal spelling bee where the contestants had to wear handmade cardboard-and-twine numbered signs around their necks over their evening wear would be hysterical.

    And Kate, you wuz robbed! It brought Margaret Cho to mind, in a bit she did about Condoleeza Rice writing flashcards for the President. “Fool! It’s nu-clee-ar!”

    Fool!! It’s home-lee!

  31. You thought it was “homily”.

    Which can be, in context, a significantly conformist word. :D

    So naturally, it did not compute.

    Get some B-complex for that morning after.

  32. When I was in the sixth grade, I lost a spelling bee on the word “impenetrable.” Why? Because the announcer said “inpenetrable,” and I, being 11 years old, thought, “hmm, maybe I’m wrong, and the word is not impenetrable.” So I asked her to pronounce it again, and again she said, clear as a bell, “inpenetrable.” So, I fucking spelled “inpenetrable” and was promptly eliminated, and have been bitter and angry ever since.

    In fact, I’m confident that this anger is what led to my fatness. Just ask Penelope Trunk.

  33. I always sucked at spelling bees. I cannot spell out loud. Even today, when lil sis asks me how to spell a word, I have to write it down first otherwise I’m likely to repeat letters or throw a random numeral in there.

    And spelling bee announcers should be vetted beforehand for odd pronunciation.

  34. I once went out on the word COLONEL. I was all cocky and giddy and spelled it COLNEL and came in second place. Suck! I had spelled some ridiculous words (no longer remembered due to my drunkenness taht night) and I went out on COLONEL. But I had no one to blame but myself. Double-suck!

    Sorry for your loss, dude.

  35. hthr, I did the same thing, pretty much. Got out on “camera” by leaving out the “e”, even though in fifth grade I damn well knew that “camera” was not spelled “camera.” I was just nervous and cocky at the same time. So I came in second.

    I can’t believe I still remember that. :)

    Kate, count me among those who think it absolutely sucks to have a pronouncer who can’t pronounce. You wuz robbed.

  36. OMG, Average Jane, this is so weird — the exact same thing happened to me in 5th grade with the word “rural”! I had won the 4th grade bee, so I was all ready to win again, and it was down to me and one or two other kids. Then the woman reading the words gave me “RULE”. I was thinking she couldn’t be asking me a word that easy, so I asked to hear it again and she said it the same way. So then I asked for it in a sentence and she said “We rode our bikes along the RULE road.” And I was like wtf… I just could not figure out what she was going for, so I said R-U-L-E.

    If you don’t mind, Average Jane, where are you from? I’m from Ohio (and assume the lady at the spelling bee was too, although she could have been transplanted from someplace else). I’m just wondering if “RULE” is a regional pronunciation — I always thought that lady just said it wrong, but maybe it’s a dialect thing. (I’m a linguist, so this is the sort of thing I think about… instead of just being pissed off about the incorrect pronunciation.)

  37. (I’m a linguist, so this is the sort of thing I think about… instead of just being pissed off about the incorrect pronunciation.)

    I see no reason why we can’t do both!

    I’ve never heard “rule,” but “rural” — like “Igigi” and “judicial system”– IS really hard to say without sounding like you’re drunk and/or have a speech impediment. So I can see how it could have been changed to “rule” in some dialects. I mean, if you can get “crown” out of “crayon”… But I think you both still have a right to be pissed off. :)

  38. All together now, to the tune of “Puff the Magic Dragon”….

    Kate the magic blogger
    Lost the spelling bee
    By being oh-so-literal
    When the ditz said
    Ho-Muh-Lee

    Sorry, Dude. I know you know better.

    Oh, and MY dumber-than-me-teacher vent? Ms. Jiao (pronounced YOW) in HS read my book report aloud and pronounced epitome as eppy-tome.

  39. I’m reading these stories and am damn glad I am unable to spell.

    It’s the fucking vowels. I hate vowels because (and I’m not sure how to say this so anyone will know what I mean), I don’t really *read* them. So I spelled machine as “machiene”, just to cover my butt, because I figured “m.a.c.h.i.n.e” would naturally be pronounced “ma-shine”. Or “mock-ine”, really. Could be anything.

    I’m Canadian. We like to stick u’s in things. I think I gave up on vowels before I hit kindergarten. It was obvious it was both “color” (in any of my American printed books) and “colour” (the way my mom did it), and therefore vowels could be treated any way you wanted.

  40. Where I’m from, most people pronounce “crayon” as “cran.”

    I think it’s all a regional thing. But for crying out loud, the spelling bee people should have had a decent announcer – someone who’d actually practiced ahead of time and used *standard pronunciation.*

    I always loved spelling bees. People would always pick me first to be on their team – so totally the opposite of those stupid phy ed teams.

    What I’ve never been able to understand, though, are the word choices, which apparently are deliberately researched in some sort of sick attempt to see how arcane they can be. Seriously, why would anyone need to know how to spell “vespertine”? I don’t even know WTH that is. When I was in sixth grade I was tripped up at the state spelling bee by the word “funambulist”. WTH? Like this is a word I (or anyone else) would ever use in a sentence.

  41. The headline in our town’s newspaper the next day? Not kidding:
    “local speller shot down by ‘ballistic’”

    ROFLMAO! That’s awesome!

  42. P.S. It’s pronounced “few-nam-bulist.” I’d never heard of it before, and it’s not like I didn’t study for this. I had to look it up in the dictionary afterwards.

  43. P.S. It’s pronounced “few-nam-bulist.”

    Ah, good to know. I did look it up, actually, but I didn’t pay attention to the pronunciation. I read it “fun-ambulist,” hence my tongue-in-cheek guess at a definition.

    Which reminds me, someone went out in the first round last night on “somnambulant,” in one of those totally heartbreaking ALMOST-got-it moments: “S-O-M-N-A-M-B-U-L-E-N-T.” Al and I both went, “Awwww,” when she said “E,” but not many others did — I don’t know if that’s ’cause it was early and people weren’t drunk enough to participate yet, or ’cause nobody else knew how to spell it either.

  44. I participated in the academic bowl in high school, and one of the questioners asked for the definition of “hyberbowl,” rather than “hyperbole.” I wanted to say it was a REALLY BIG football game, but I refrained.

    Another asked what the term was for the lowest point of a wave or what the opposite of a peak was or something along those lines, and when I responded “Trough (TROFF),” she gave me a funny look. Luckily I thought to immediately spell it out loud, and did so correctly, which is not a skill I generally possess either.

  45. Also, in that questioner’s honor, my mother then referred to the Superbowl as the “Superbole” for the next several years. Hee.

  46. Also, in that questioner’s honor, my mother then referred to the Superbowl as the “Superbole” for the next several years.

    Awesome.

    And I totally picture the “hyperbowl” as, like, a Special Olympics-type event for kids with ADHD.

    (Please note that I have ADD myself and a nephew who participates in Special Olympics, so that image totally charms me.)

  47. occhiblu, I guess she was expecting “trow”?

    I always used to get annoyed at my freshman English teacher in HS for pronouncing “dour” as “dower,” but I know that one’s a losing battle. Still, I was vindicated in my disdain when we had a fire drill and she exclaimed “I thought we were going to have to excavate the building!”

    Kate, you was totally robbed. I guess that’s why you ask for the word in a sentence. If I were going to use an adverb meaning “in a homey way,” and it were pronounced “home-ily,” I would definitely spell it “homily” (though I might be wrong), so the definition is no help without either context or part of speech.

    My first grade teacher said “crown” and it drove me batty.

    Also, people from Sweet Machine’s hometown say “crick” instead of “creek.” They do.

    Oh, and “superbole” is THE GREATEST THING EVER (heh).

  48. occhiblu, I guess she was expecting “trow”?

    Yeah, I think so. Or trog? Who knows — it was the South! ;-)

    And I totally picture the “hyperbowl” as, like, a Special Olympics-type event for kids with ADHD.

    Ha!

  49. I was vindicated in my disdain when we had a fire drill and she exclaimed “I thought we were going to have to excavate the building!”

    I don’t know if I’m just too tired or what, but this has me :lol: -ing.

  50. I often have difficulty pronouncing words as well, which is A) Why I would neer volunteer to be an announcer for a spelling bee and B) If I were forced into such a position I would run through the words with People Smarter Than Me beforehand so as not to make an ass of myself.

    Was the announcer drunk?

  51. I always used to get annoyed at my freshman English teacher in HS for pronouncing “dour” as “dower,” but I know that one’s a losing battle.

    A lost battle, I’d say. :)

    And yeah, you’re right, getting the part of speech or a sentence might have helped, but I was already 3 drinks in, and standing on a stage in front of two hundred people, so I couldn’t think much beyond, “I have no idea what the fuck she’s talking about, but it must be spelled h-o-m-i-l-y, I guess.”

    Was the announcer drunk?

    Most likely, but so was I, and I still knew how to pronounce “homely.”

  52. A lost battle, I’d say.

    Also “short-lived” has a long I sound, and “nauseous” means “causing nausea,” and let’s hear no more about it.

    Sigh, I’m such a dinosaur.

  53. Since we’re talking about pronunciations that drive us batty, I can’t stand it when people pronounce “wash” as “worsh.” I know it’s a regional thing but damn it, there’s no R in wash!

  54. …on the subject of crazy pronounciations, the pronounciations of French street names here in New Orleans drives me batty. Mind you, this is a city with many people who speak French and a long French history. Yet “Chartres” is pronounced “charters”, “Versailles” is “vehr-SAY-elles”, “Perrier” is “pear-ee-air”, etc. I didn’t grow up here and don’t speak French, but still, I know enough to know it’s just…not…right! The same for “Guadeloupe” in Austin – inital Gs are soft in Spanish pronounciation, and ‘e’ is prounounced like ‘a’ not ‘i’ (or silent)!

  55. “Also, people from Sweet Machine’s hometown say ‘crick’ instead of ‘creek.’ They do.”

    People from my hometown do this too. I have no idea why. Also, they pronounce the word “milk” as “melk.” That’s the one that drives me batshit crazy, and my husband does it on occasion. Not often, though, because he’s heard my rant about how you can’t just pick any random sound sound you want and stick it in the middle of words, and my God won’t somebody Think of the Children! too many times. This rant is also handy for my friend who insists on pronouncing “roof” as “rough” and “room” as “rum.”

    Also, I know everyone is probably done reading “Colleen’s Adventures in Pronunciation” by now, but when I was a child, I totally insisted on saying the word “bother” so that it rhymed with “mother” and “brother”. It made perfect sense to me, and I was a stubborn little brat, too. :)

  56. OK, the homely mispronunciation was just plain wrong (and unfair, I sympathize), but it sounds like some of it might have been an accent thing because some of the others (acetylene and umlat ) are my pronunciations too.

    For our linguist – west coast, roots in NW but raised in SW.

  57. Oh I thought of a mispronunciation I do all the time for no good reason.

    I say “bag” like “beg” and it doesn’t matter how many times you try to get me to repeat after you the correct pronunciation, it will NOT COME OUT OF MY MOUTH.

    I don’t know why. I’m a Northwesterner, we’re known for our unremarkable accents and lack of dialect. I did have speech problems as a child related to inner ear problems… maybe this is a hold over.

    FYI the state I live in is pronounced ORY-GUN not OREH-GONE.

  58. Damnit… You got robbed. You are right in how the pronunciation should have been near perfect for an event such as this.

    Here’s me doing this without a checker for you:
    Antidisestablishmentarianism…ismism. :p
    Thanks for competing, and better luck next time. We love you!

  59. “an officious little shit”

    Those are my FAVORITE students. I often reply to nitpicking that it’s great to know that I can apply such a level of perfection to all their future work. :-)

  60. Did nobody’s elementary spelling bees have do-overs?

    I was a cocky little ten-year-old and once won the all-school spelling bee on a do-over. It was down to me and one other kid on stage with our entire schools in the audience. I don’t remember the word, but it was an i or e sort of thing. I spelled it one way and the other kid’s school started yelling and cheering so I said, “I’m sorry, may I start again?” (which was totally allowed) and then correctly spelled it the other way to WIN IT ALL.

    /cheat-to-win

  61. I often reply to nitpicking that it’s great to know that I can apply such a level of perfection to all their future work.

    I am so stealing that!

    I teach middle school so quite often my statements of fact are greeted with a scornful, “Nuh-huh, Miss,” like I’m the biggest idiot ever. My usual response is, “Sorry, but it’s a fact. I know this stuff, which is why I get the big bucks,” but the kids never get the irony.

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