Hooked on Phonics

In our continuing “little lesson” on the demise of the English language as we once knew it and all the slang we keep adding to the dictionary, our family plays a little game about how to pronounce words.

Photo courtesy of See-ming Lee

I keep a running list on my computer and it has grown over the years. It all started when we were driving up to the mountains and Lizzie said “I know we’re getting close because I saw the sign for Cherry-o-key.”

In her defense, she was in the 3rd grade.

We love to mispronounce things whenever we can. Part of it is some Indiana dialect that comes from both of our mothers. Part of it is that we all have some classic word we have mispronounced and then whenever we try to say it, we have to stop and think “Did I just say that wrong AGAIN?”

Here’s our Humpfreeze list of amusing words that we like to mispronounce on purpose.

Sidenote: I won’t call out who said it wrong first which is usually why it gets on the list. Some are really just for fun. Just in case you read the list and think “Oh my, they are really a dumb family.”

We call our little game “IS IT?” You really have to say them out loud to fully enjoy the game.

  • cherokee or cherry-o-key
  • pecan or pee-can
  • carribbean or care-a-be-n
  • caramel or care-mell
  • potato or po-tot-toe
  • roof or ruff
  • wash or warsh
  • milk or melk
  • bear or bar
  • route or root
  • coupon or coo-pon
  • Illinois or Illi-noise
  • italian or I-tal-yen
  • creek or crick
  • syrup or sere-up
  • envelope or on-velope
  • lidocaine or lid-o-caine

Bad inside family jokes posted just to make the kids laugh:

  • vending or bending
  • biscuit or b-kit
  • foreigners or fur-ners
  • brown hog or brown log
  • mosaic or mose-e-ack
  • vinyl or venil
  • filet or fill-et
  • ex-lax or egg slice

Did any of them make you laugh? Or are you just thinking we really are dumb?


One year ago..

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  1. 1
    cousin dee says:

    I wish you would quit blaming you Hoosier heritage, we here in Indiana are a proud bunch, don’t-ya-know. Funny you brought this up, because two weekends ago my husband asked for the Vanilla Beam ice cream, you know, just like Jim Beam whiskey. I thought my two sons were going to fall off of their chairs laughing. He really thinks that is what it is called. So now, we all ask for the Vanilla Beam flavor. I told my boys that some day they can explain to their kids why we call if Vanilla Beam and have a laugh on Dad.

  2. 2
    Nicki says:

    Hi Sherra! I haven’t written a comment in a long time…but Matt and I are always finding things that we each have our own words for…

    Did you know:
    a dragonfly is also known as a snake-doctor? who knew?
    a Toboggan is a knit cap/hat and not a sled?
    Whole Milk is also called sweet milk?

    And our favorite verification is…”Go ask your Mom, she’ll tell ya!”

  3. 3
    Joanne says:

    Some from our family:

    aluminum = al U min ium
    Cinnamon – cim a nim (I still do this sometimes)
    piano – pie ano

  4. 4
    Melinda says:

    Surely EVERY family has these! LOL I can’t believe you left off
    Tomato = toe-ma-toe/to-mah-to
    and of course our very own southern favorite is
    Ponce de Leon. ( I can’t even begin to type how we pronounce this!)
    I have an uncle who once called a peninsula in FL
    penin-sula instead of penah-sulah
    and my husband still calls good ideas – ideals! Drives me crazy every time!

  5. 5
    julieann says:

    Okay—I am dumb. I don’t get coupon/coo-pon. So is the correct pronounciation Q-pon? The “r” in wash is definitely midwestern, sort of like chimney/chimley. And I’m sorry but some of the others are just plain southern. You cannot blame Indiana for sere-up.

  6. 6
    Elizabeth says:

    these are great!


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