Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Lost in Translation

By April Moore

In life, we come across so many words we thought we were saying correctly, only to be (sometimes embarrassingly) made aware that we in fact, have it all wrong. Admit it, you've probably asked a grocery store employee to direct you to where the kin-noh-ah is. (Quinoa, pronounced keen-wah.) My late grandmother pronounced fajitas as fa-gee-tahs. New Yorkers call the Greek staple, gyro, a jai-row, where in California, it's a yee-row, and perhaps in North Dakota, it's called that Greek sandwich thingy.

You get the idea.

So it comes as no surprise that we get names in literature all wrong at times. Recently, J.K. Rowling revealed that Voldemort was actually supposed to be pronounced as Vol-Dee-MorApparently, it was the T that should not be mentioned. (Perhaps when he came over here from the UK, it got Americanized.)

There are definitely names in literature that throw us for a loop. According to The Telegraph, Don Quixote is the number one, most mispronounced name in literature. Of the readers polled, 44% thought of Quaker oatmeal and called the 17th-century character, Don Quicks-Oat, rather than Don Key-Hoh-Tee, the correct way.

Hey, it happens to all of us.

Others who made the list: Oedipus (Ee-Di-Pus); Hermione (Her-My-Oh-Knee); Beowolf (Bay-Oh-Woolf); and for you Game of Thrones fans, the name that takes the #2 spot at 28%, is Daenerys Targaryen, pronounced as 'Dun-Nair-Ris' 'Tar-Gair-Ee-In.'

It could be why I shy away from reading a lot of sci-fi and fantasy; I end up sounding like the teachers and parents in the Charlie Brown cartoons when trying to read the names and jargon.

What are some of your favorite mispronounced words and names that you've come across?

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