You Don’t Say – Vol 26– by Ray Hudson
This week I was musing on what I would share with you this week when an announcer on a radio commercial did something so strange that she got me thinking about how we can pronounce the same word or product differently, depending on the part of the world we originate from.
The offender that set me off this week however, came up with a whole new take on that most exotic sports cars, the Jaguar. I have heard it pronounced (as do I) “Jag-wahr”. It seems to me that many people from Britain pronounce it “Jag-yew-ar”. But imagine my surprise when the pitch person said I could win a brand new Jag-wire. That’s a whole new one on me. I can hardly wait to see one. Any relation to fire-wire or high-wire?
When I was traveling in England and Wales years ago I caused great entertainment, and sometimes consternation, as the kid from the colonies assaulted their language mercilessly.
I had the nerve to ask for something from the trunk of the car – oops sorry, the boot of the car. Next, I was chastised for asking how to access the engine to put oil in. I asked where the hood release was. I’m guessing they thought I was talking about the local jail (or gaol). I needed instead to get under the bonnet (go figure). I asked to get out of the car to take a picture (snap) and instructed my cousin to let me out on the sidewalk. Ultimately we figured out that over there, the sidewalk was called the pavement, and the pavement was the tarmac (asphalt as in road surface). If I needed to put gas in my truck, I sensitively consulted Berlitz, which told me I had to put petrol in my lorry (and this is ostensibly the same language).
Unfortunately my unkindest cut of all occurred when we arrived at the vacation park on Anglesey. I complimented my cousin on having a great trailer! Turns out that it is a caravan, and a trailer is something you tow behind your car when taking stuff to the dump. It almost got me to the dump.
Well, all these years later, back on the right side of the Atlantic (if your point of view is north polar looking south) I still have fun with the differences. It took me a lot of hard work to train an English colleague of mine to say Chill-i (as in “it”) wack, instead of Chill-ee-wack. Chilly it may be on some mornings, but not as part of the name.
So you say alu-min-ee-um and I say al-oom-min-um
You say vitt-a- minn and I say vite – a- min
toe-may-toh to-matt-oh, poe-tay-toh poe-tatt-oh
and before we call the whole thing off,
can’t we at least resolve how to pronounce schedule (the bain of any CBC announcer?)
I say Sked-yule others say Shed-yule. But you say Skool not shool, and it’s spelled school, yes?
I rest my case! Court is adjourned until next week.