Greenwich in top 10 most commonly mispronounced words – which missaid words drive you crazy?

This Is Local London: One in five people cannot say the word prescription correctly One in five people cannot say the word prescription correctly

Does tenterhooks being pronounced as tenderhooks drive you up the wall? When someone says somethink instead of something do you want to slap them?

Today we’re asking you to share examples of the mispronunciations which annoy you the most.

Plus, you can say whether you’re guilty of butchering certain words – and whether you’re bothered about it or not.

According to research from St Pancras International, four in five (82 per cent) of us admit to getting words and place names mixed up in conversation.

Most cite odd spelling as the reason for getting words wrong, while other excuses include certain words simply being difficult to say, silent letters being confusing and repeating what someone else has said.

Women struggle the most with one in five saying they have trouble getting their mouths around everyday words such as prescription and espresso.

Apparently, the top word for mispronunciation is Cambridgeshire city Ely – while Greenwich also features in the top 10.

When faced with a tongue-twister mid-conversation, 23 per cent of people admit asking the other person how to say it, with a further 17 per cent stopping and apologising for getting mixed up.

Nearly a third of people say they don’t care what people think and will say what they want, while nearly half admit to correcting someone’s pronunciation in conversation.

Dr David Lewis, a neuropsychologist and author, said: “There are four main reasons why people make little slips when pronouncing certain words.

“The first is because they believe that is how the word is pronounced, usually because that is how their family or friends say it. Second, certain words are genuinely difficult to pronounce, including ironically the word ‘mispronunciation’.

“Third, when a word is unfamiliar people try to work out how it should sound by following the spelling. Because our spelling is full of idiosyncrasies this can often lead them astray.

“Finally we often fail to engage our conscious brain when speaking aloud what we are reading. As a result we see what we expect to see rather than what is actually there. In the phrase ‘Paris in the the spring’, for example, many fail to notice the second ‘the’. It's the same with St Pancras. When seen for the first time the brain reads this as ‘pancreas’, the insulin producing gland, and that is how it is pronounced thereafter.

“Thinking before speaking and pausing before saying can save many embarrassing errors of pronunciation.”

The words people have the most trouble getting their mouths around are:

  1. Ely (59%) – (EE-lie as opposed to EE-lee)
  2. Keighley (40%) – (Keeth-lee as opposed to Key-lee)
  3. Sherbet (40%) – (SHER-bet as opposed to SHER-bert)
  4. Et cetera (34%) – (ET-cet-ra as opposed to EX-cet-tera)
  5. St Pancras (33%) – (Snt-PAN-kruhs as opposed to Snt-PAN-cree-us)
  6. Espresso (26%) – (ES-presso as opposed to EX-Presso)
  7. Bruschetta (25%) – (Broo-SHETT-a as opposed to Broo-SKETT-a)
  8. Often (24%) – (Off-ten as opposed to Off-en)
  9. Prescription (21%) – (Pre-scrip-shun as opposed to Purr-scrip-shun)
  10. Greenwich (16%) – (Gr-EH-nitch as opposed to Green-wich)

Do you get irritated by any words being said the wrong way? Which mispronunciation winds you up the most? Which words are you guilty of mispronouncing and just can’t get your tongue around? Does it bother you not being able to say certain words correctly? Add your comments below.

Comments (17)

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7:22am Wed 19 Mar 14

Dr. Nick says...

The one I hear most is 'Pacific' instead of 'Specific', as in "my pacific point is this..." - it always makes me wonder "what's the ocean got to do with anything?"

My next pet hate is 'Hospikal' - where on Earth did that one come from? It sounds like a baby speaking. First time I heard it was in an episode of Two Pints of Lager, but since then it appears to have become a very popular in society.

Lastly, 'Pronouneciation' instead of 'Pronunciation' - it's NUN not NOUNCE in the middle ... argh!!!
The one I hear most is 'Pacific' instead of 'Specific', as in "my pacific point is this..." - it always makes me wonder "what's the ocean got to do with anything?" My next pet hate is 'Hospikal' - where on Earth did that one come from? It sounds like a baby speaking. First time I heard it was in an episode of Two Pints of Lager, but since then it appears to have become a very popular in society. Lastly, 'Pronouneciation' instead of 'Pronunciation' - it's NUN not NOUNCE in the middle ... argh!!! Dr. Nick
  • Score: -10

8:57am Wed 19 Mar 14

j.j. says...

Eltham pronounced "El-am" - sounds like the Arabic name Elham. Ironically used by the less cosmopolitan members of the community.
Eltham pronounced "El-am" - sounds like the Arabic name Elham. Ironically used by the less cosmopolitan members of the community. j.j.
  • Score: -10

9:54am Wed 19 Mar 14

Localal says...

Its people who cant pronounce H properly who get my goat.
Its people who cant pronounce H properly who get my goat. Localal
  • Score: -10

10:11am Wed 19 Mar 14

Gypo.Joe says...

My favorite from my pet hate is 'cancel' as in 'cancel tenants'. "I gotta go dahn the cancel office innit like."
My favorite from my pet hate is 'cancel' as in 'cancel tenants'. "I gotta go dahn the cancel office innit like." Gypo.Joe
  • Score: -10

11:50am Wed 19 Mar 14

EverardEdbutt says...

when people say arks instead of ask
when people say arks instead of ask EverardEdbutt
  • Score: -10

12:40pm Wed 19 Mar 14

Gypo.Joe says...

EverardEdbutt wrote:
when people say arks instead of ask
'Some people' even say "axe me" instead of ask Everard.
[quote][p][bold]EverardEdbutt[/bold] wrote: when people say arks instead of ask[/p][/quote]'Some people' even say "axe me" instead of ask Everard. Gypo.Joe
  • Score: -10

2:37pm Wed 19 Mar 14

Dr. Nick says...

Obviously all the negative voters are the idiots who say all these things - why else would they be so against it ;) lol

Ah, English people who can't speak English very well - you just gotta love 'em, bless :)
Obviously all the negative voters are the idiots who say all these things - why else would they be so against it ;) lol Ah, English people who can't speak English very well - you just gotta love 'em, bless :) Dr. Nick
  • Score: -10

7:20pm Wed 19 Mar 14

halstowgirl says...

Agreed Pacific instead of specific!! However I can never pronounce Singularly, always want to say singulalaly!!
Agreed Pacific instead of specific!! However I can never pronounce Singularly, always want to say singulalaly!! halstowgirl
  • Score: -10

8:27pm Wed 19 Mar 14

toomush2drink says...

People who mean westminster but pronounce it westminister.
People who mean westminster but pronounce it westminister. toomush2drink
  • Score: -10

9:04pm Wed 19 Mar 14

Paracelsus says...

"Schedule" should be pronounced "shedule", not "skedule" as the latter is an Americanism.
"Schedule" should be pronounced "shedule", not "skedule" as the latter is an Americanism. Paracelsus
  • Score: -10

9:36am Thu 20 Mar 14

PaulErith says...

I don't believe it matters too much how you speak. All around this country there are a plethora of regional accents. I have a typical London accent which means that I have a habit of missing the odd letter out of words. The main thing is written English. It should be the common ground between people with very different accents. Terrible grammar and spelling really annoys me.
I don't believe it matters too much how you speak. All around this country there are a plethora of regional accents. I have a typical London accent which means that I have a habit of missing the odd letter out of words. The main thing is written English. It should be the common ground between people with very different accents. Terrible grammar and spelling really annoys me. PaulErith
  • Score: -10

1:31pm Thu 20 Mar 14

andejande says...

the one with Bruschetta confuses me, as the correct Italian way to say it, IS actually Broo-SKET-A. Why would you translate an Italian word into a different sounding English word, but just by so much to confuse both Italians and English/American?
the one with Bruschetta confuses me, as the correct Italian way to say it, IS actually Broo-SKET-A. Why would you translate an Italian word into a different sounding English word, but just by so much to confuse both Italians and English/American? andejande
  • Score: -9

4:41pm Fri 21 Mar 14

brigidichka says...

Greenwich should, as all South Londoners know, be pronounced 'Grin-idge'. None of this 'Gren-itch' nonsense: that's for out-of-towners. And yes, brooSHETa is wrong. It should be brooSKETa.
Greenwich should, as all South Londoners know, be pronounced 'Grin-idge'. None of this 'Gren-itch' nonsense: that's for out-of-towners. And yes, brooSHETa is wrong. It should be brooSKETa. brigidichka
  • Score: -7

7:06pm Fri 21 Mar 14

NicolaJL says...

Can't bear Prop-ly instead of prop-er-ly. David Cameron always sáys prop-ly, annoys me!
Can't bear Prop-ly instead of prop-er-ly. David Cameron always sáys prop-ly, annoys me! NicolaJL
  • Score: -10

10:22am Sat 22 Mar 14

j.j. says...

another local favourite: Back-eef for Blackheath.
another local favourite: Back-eef for Blackheath. j.j.
  • Score: -10

8:05pm Wed 26 Mar 14

SelinaG says...

Greenwich should definitely be pronounced 'Grin-idge' not Gren-itch' (which has been copied from the American district 'Greenwich Village').

And why do so many people, including television presenters, pronounce the letter H as 'haitch' instead of the correct pronunciation 'aitch'?
Greenwich should definitely be pronounced 'Grin-idge' not Gren-itch' (which has been copied from the American district 'Greenwich Village'). And why do so many people, including television presenters, pronounce the letter H as 'haitch' instead of the correct pronunciation 'aitch'? SelinaG
  • Score: 1

2:21am Wed 9 Apr 14

Harold_Monk says...

Garage. Do you say "garridge" or "gararge" ?
Garage. Do you say "garridge" or "gararge" ? Harold_Monk
  • Score: 0

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