Archive for Pronunciation


I was wandering around in an internet rabbit hole just now, and came across two words that pleased me. Now that Twitter is called X, I’ve seen some people use the word xitter, and explain that x is pronounced like sh in some contexts. That doesn’t particularly appeal to me. But I just saw someone […]

How to pronounce Finnish Moomin names

A video about how to pronounce the original Finnish names of many of the Moomin characters. (12-min video, from August, 2022; from @KatChatsFinnish, a channel intended as a resource for English speakers who are learning Finnish.) If I understood right, the person who made the video doesn’t know some of the characters’ English names; at […]

On the pronunciations of “Uvalde”

Interesting NPR article about various ways to pronounce Uvalde, and about language as a “signifier of race” and identity, and about power structures and anglicization, and respecting how people say their own town’s name, and more. Content warning for descriptions of people having been punished for speaking Spanish. Here’s a quote, though there’s lots more […]

Bad transliterations

I’ve tried a couple of times to start reading William Gibson’s novel Idoru, but I keep getting too distracted and annoyed by the title to focus on the book. Apparently the title is supposed to represent the Japanese version of the English word idol. But the Japanese word that Gibson intended to refer to, the […]

Stressing THE wrong word

I’ve been watching a lot of Star Trek lately, and I’ve noticed something that happens a lot: A character is supposed to refer to some science or tech thing, but they put primary stress on the wrong word of the phrase. For example, they might refer to the Omicron Theta star system, but they emphasis […]

The Chaos: Full version

(Content warning for referring to, and writing out in full, a specific racial slur.) Back in column ggg, I attempted to piece together the famous poem about English pronunciation “The Chaos,” based on a bunch of fragmentary online sources. And then in 2013, I came across the website of the English Spelling Society, which provided […]