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10 September 2008

Is the word "frustrating" really so hard for people to pronounce? [More:]

I've known two people now who pronounce "frustrating" as fustrating. There are other common words that start with 'fr' -- France, from, free -- and the R doesn't get dropped in those. Maybe it's the recurrence of the R in the second part of the word that tricks people into dropping the first one?

The first person I knew who said it that way drove me batty. Now that there's another in my life, I'm wondering if it's a common impediment of some sort.

Got any anecdotal evidence to share?
in Baltimore, the locals would call jessamyn's workplace a 'libary'

in upstate New York, they drop hard t's in a very weird way and although I'm hard pressed to think of an example right at the moment, it's extremely distinctive.

I have to bite my lip not to go homicidal on the incidence of krinkling wrappers / paper / chips bags in a quiet room / lecture hall / etc.

however I find that everyone does annoying stuff, myself included. I work hard not to let it get to me, mainly because makes it so much easier interfacing with the world at large.

it's sometimes much harder than it looks.

posted by lonefrontranger 10 September | 15:50
People will say a word how they learn or hear it around them.
Try "ambulance" further south.
posted by ethylene 10 September | 15:57
Well, if you have a thick Boston accent, you are physically incapable of pronouncing the letter R (unless it's at the end of a word), so I can see why it could be a problem.
posted by Melismata 10 September | 16:05
lfr, I'm from Jersey and I still say "moundain" (mountain) and "middens" (mittens). Though when I lived there I said "mou-in" and "mi-ens".
posted by birdie 10 September | 16:08
Melismata, I speak only as a Rhode Islander, but I don't think the typical RI/MA accent would affect that r. I've honestly never heard anyone say "fustrating" before. I am guilty of a "light r" when I say "library," sometimes even dropping it if I'm in a rush or something. That's seems to be the only word RI has screwed up for me.

Well except for nuclear.
posted by CitrusFreak12 10 September | 16:09
Nooo, Northern New Englanders transpose their r's.

What annoys me:

ECK cetera.

The New York nasal whine.

The whistly s that most USAian women born after 1975 seem to affect.
posted by brujita 10 September | 16:12
Many natives of South Carolina and Georgia add an S to the end of proper names that end with a hard consonant: Jack Hopeland becomes Jack Hopelands, or Erica Wright becomes Erica Wrights. Although my sister was born and raised in Pennsylvania, her daughter was born and raised in SC and she does it as well.
posted by Ardiril 10 September | 16:18
I hate it when people say fustian when they mean Faustian.

"Oh, really? You made a fustian bargain? So, this bargain—it was florid and grandiloquent, then? I see..."

And the worst part is that it happens All. The. Time. *fumes* I swear, I can hardly walk down the street without hearing at least one person grossly misusing the word fustian. (Occasionally someone will say Faustian when they mean fustian, but it's pretty rare. I mean, really—how often do you need to use fustian in a sentence, anyway? Five, maybe six times a week, tops.)
posted by Atom Eyes 10 September | 16:41
I hate it when little kids say "pasghetti". I'm like "I know you think it's cute and all, but I ain't buying it, little fukker. Say it right or get out of my face."
posted by Hellbient 10 September | 16:56
I was gently corrected as a kid when I mispronounced a word. I don't believe the majority give a damn anymore. I hear 'often' pronounced with the T and I want to both kill and tell the person they sound like an idiot. The people I've mentioned this to say that they pronounce it that way because it sounds smarter. WTF!?
posted by MonkeyButter 10 September | 17:22
My husband's family is from New England. Sometimes they will pronounce yesterday as yestaday. It hurts my ears.

Brefast or brefass instead of breakfast is painful.

My irritating offense is when I pronounce toilet as towlet. I only say towlet when I'm talking fast. Most of the time I pronounce it correctly.
posted by LoriFLA 10 September | 17:50
I think I do almost all of the things mentioned in this thread. Guess I better keep all communication here on the net!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 10 September | 18:00
lazy southern speech: doesn't as dudn't, isn't as iddn't, wasn't as wuddn't.
posted by netbros 10 September | 18:27
I cannot stand the aks/ask thing. Makes me want to get a damned axe and sort out their mispronunciation once and for all.

posted by ninazer0 10 September | 18:30
Here in Pittsburgh, people add an "r" sound to "ash" so that Washington is pronounced "Worshington".
posted by octothorpe 10 September | 18:31
I hate it when people pronounce "avocado" as uh-vawk-uh-doe. So ignorant.
posted by mullacc 10 September | 18:42
More than once, I heard people in the building industry say things like masonary (masonry) and chimley (chimney). It was extra special if they used them both in the same sentence.
posted by chewatadistance 10 September | 18:56
I'm Australian, and I get picked on by other Aussies because I pronounce Wednesday "Wed-ens-day" - correctly, might I add, they pronounce it "Wens-day".

I also say "Dahnce" instead of "daaance" and Caahstle, instead of caaastle.

I blame it on the 10 years of elocution lessons I had.
posted by jonathanstrange 10 September | 19:17
Oh, and I hate hate hate it when Australians mispronounce Australia (Eddy Maguire, I'm looking at you!)


No no no no no no nnononono.
posted by jonathanstrange 10 September | 19:23
"Fustrating" would fustrate me.

My father says "Ex cetera." That also fustrates me. And it's extra fustrating because he always says it multiple times, in a "yadda yadda yadda" sort of way.

He also says "expresso," which annoys.

*His* father, however, really couldn't manage a th- at the beginning of a word. That was kind of charming, but probably only because my grandfather was a charming person.
posted by occhiblu 10 September | 19:36
A NJ person I once knew says beee-you-tee-full, for beautiful.

Not fond of the ebonic ax for ask. My best friend says it but I think it's kind of a solidarity thing for her, wanting to side with her black sisters, although she knows how to and can say ask.

Lots of people don't seem to be able to say jewelry, and say jewlury instead.

posted by nickyskye 10 September | 19:39
Eddie McGuire (correct spelling, not that anyone probably cares) simply cannot speak properly. I understand he drove half the audience (the ones that do know how to speak) absolutely bonkers when he was host of Who Wants To Be A MIIIIYONAIR". I dread to think how he managed to read the questions.

My daughter was lucky to survive the period of her life where she could only pronounce "knife" as "ife" without me throttling her.
posted by goshling 10 September | 19:43
I knew a professor, in a landscape architecture program, that pronounced foliage "foilage."

It was pretty hilarious.
posted by misskaz 10 September | 19:44
I've heard many of these, much to my frustration. I had a boss who thought that suppose-ably was a word. He also said "pacific" when he meant specific.

One of my current favourites is my mom's obsession with appropriate-ness. Everything must be appropriate. An appropriate serving size, and appropriate gift, she yearns to accomplish the appropriate in all things.
posted by richat 10 September | 19:48
He also says "expresso," which annoys.

My MIL does this. "Aunt Sophia made us expresso every morning in her special expresso pot. They drink expresso every day." AHHHH. I'll pronounce it correctly and then she'll repeat it as if to say the way she is pronouncing it is fact! :-)

My mom says EYE-talian and Mass-uh-too-sits. Every time she says EYE-talian I look at her as if to say, "Are you serious?" I'll tolerate Massatoossets, but you have to draw the line somewhere.

When I was really green, young, and really dumb I pronounced H.Pylori, H. Pie-lor-EYE. A lot. In front of people.
posted by LoriFLA 10 September | 19:51
I think I'm immune to this now, as my nieces (and my nephew to a lesser extent), with cognitive ... delays that have now stretched into adulthood, continue to say things like "ohgurt".

I think "fustrating" might be an elision that could gain traction such as "Febuary" (in which for me the first "r" is barely there), or words like "comfortable" (which I usually pronounce the common short way, "comfterble"). I accept these but regionalisms like "ax" (originally Southern/Appalachian, now primarily a marker of AAVE) or (worse, because it's often in a formal context) "ex cetera" do bug me. Not to mention "athalete" and "nucular". I admit to being selective, though.

One of the things I like to "promote" is irregular verb forms like "sped" instead of "speeded". I don't see anything wrong with "pled guilty", for instance, and I don't understand why it's looked askance at.
posted by dhartung 10 September | 19:58
More annoying is the frequency in which I use the words: really, just, and but. It's just really bad but I can't help it!
posted by LoriFLA 10 September | 20:02
There's always the ugly step-sibling "frusterating."

Octo, do you hate it as much as I do when people say warshrag (washcloth)? ewww, it just sounds horrid.
posted by theora55 10 September | 20:13
Some people slur, some people insist "it's not a schpeech inpedimint, it's an accent," sometimes you got a mushmouth word swallower

posted by ethylene 10 September | 20:20
Personally, my worst mistakes seem to come from speaking/thinking too fast I think. Today, at work, I told someone I'd keep them, "in the date", which is a combo of "in the loop" and "up to date".
posted by richat 10 September | 20:22
As long as I can understand what they mean, I don't mind unusual pronunciations. Some I even like.

One that I say that I wished I didn't is "crown" for "crayon". Just because it's confusing. (As opposed to saying things like 'winda' for 'window' which I'm actually kinda proud of...reminds me of my dad.)
posted by danostuporstar 10 September | 20:33
To me, it seems like a fool's game to get excited about this stuff. I would wager that most if not all of us have speech patterns that the rest of us would think were weird, or just lazy shortcuts. Seriously, how many of us pronounce "Wednesday" as three syllables, or voice the first "r" in "February," or say mayonnaise as "May-yone-naze?" If you're seriously bothered by any of these, you're probably someone who's not a lot of fun to hang out with.

posted by deadcowdan 10 September | 21:33
My southern grandparents would drive me up a wall with "Ah reckon..." and "Ah'm fixin' ta..." I understand it's southern vernacular but it just grates on this Yankee's ears.

Of course they also used the n--- word so they just pissed me off in general.
posted by desjardins 10 September | 21:42
My BF and I argue about whether there are 1 or 2 syllables in "oil" and he likes to pick on how I say "white"...seems I leave out the 'h' in it. He's from OhIo and I am from Tennessee. ugh my Granny calls a chair a "cheer".
posted by meeshell 10 September | 21:47
*stands up*

Hi, I'm lysdexic, and I'm a speech mangler.

I provided a lot of entertainment to my schoolmates in high school, especially when we took turns reading. I mix up letters and words when I read them, I'd try to read ahead and make sense of the words before speaking them out loud. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't.

So I'd say things like "the farmers of the constitution" or "the hemogoblin carries oxygen to the blood cells" or pronouncing things with the emPHAsis on the wrong syLABle. Like ca-PILL-aries.

I'll mix up idioms all the time, like "putting the cart before the chicken".

I still do double takes when reading stuff, especially in the morning before the caffeine fix. I thank dog for spellcheckers, or I'd really be a complete fool in my written correspondence.

*sits down*

I can usually understand peoples' speech, even through thick accents, especially if I can see their lips. The huge exception is Asian/Eastern native speakers. I just cannot get the tones right. I have to ask if someone is making a statement or asking a question. Drives me up the wall, and them, too.
posted by lysdexic 10 September | 21:55
I like "putting the cart before the chicken."
posted by occhiblu 10 September | 22:25
I didn't realize it till I was hitched to someone from the area, but the south Georgia/north Florida accent has some quirks like pronouncing "fine" as "foine," nice as "noice," etc. I find it really endearing now.
posted by BoringPostcards 10 September | 22:38
I too find regionalisims endearing, but incorrect usage bugs me - expresso, mute point, etc. I guess I just want the talker to know what they are saying, and they can say it anyway they want to.

My favorite quirk was a New Orleans one. My-naise for Mayonaise. That's just poetry.
posted by rainbaby 10 September | 23:52
The southern d for s substitute doesn't bother me that much--maybe because I liked the people who I first heard using it.

The whistly s on the other hand...the second female babysitter I mentioned here had this.
posted by brujita 11 September | 00:49
I almost wrote 'verontschuldigen' in an email. Don't you hate it when you do that?
posted by jouke 11 September | 01:20
A mispronunciation that particularly irked me was that of a former colleague, who would pronounce Cyprus as Cykrus: the company we worked for had an office on Cykrus that circumstances all too often obliged him to mention. I never noticed him mispronounce any other word in a similar way.
posted by misteraitch 11 September | 01:23
can someone give an example of the whistly s? I'm of the appropriate demographic so I'm scared I might do that.
posted by desjardins 11 September | 08:17
Are there people who pronounce the "h" in "white"?

I am guilty of "jewlery" and "moun-en".
posted by Specklet 11 September | 08:46
Nucular and expresso are the ones that really send me round the bend (or rather, they used to send me round the bend. Now they just make me roll my my mind, that is. I'm not completely devoid of manners.) (Except to point out that in my universe and in that of Merriam-Webster, 'often' with the 't' is an acceptable pronunciation. I couldn't tell you how I pronounce it, because as soon as MB pointed it out I became incapable of determining which way felt right. Now I am doomed to spend the rest of the day looking puzzled and saying, "offen? often? offen? often?")

One language thing that's been bothering me lately is the tendency of the local paper down here to put the timeframe after the subject and before the action in the opening sentence of an article, as in, "Canada's Prime Minister on Sunday dissolved Parliament." So he was just Sunday's Prime Minister? And we have a different one for Monday, Tuesday, and alternate Thursdays? Do they have official underwear so they can all tell which day they are on duty?
posted by elizard 11 September | 10:10
(I should add that I picked up my intolerance of misspelling & mispronunciation from my family. If my mother said 'expresso' or 'nucular' I'd roll my eyes for real.)
posted by elizard 11 September | 10:19
So I'd say things like "the farmers of the constitution"

See, if you'd said "the gentleman farmers of the constitution" you might have gotten away with it.
posted by Atom Eyes 11 September | 10:23
I also say "Dahnce" instead of "daaance" and Caahstle, instead of caaastle.

Dahnce is a class and/or regional distinction - most people where I grew up are prahncing dahncers, and in Adelaide even the ockers are (for our non-Aussie friends an ocker accent is the stereotypical Steve Irwin/Paul Hogan Ostrayan drawl). Cassel is interesting though - it used to annoy me until I noticed that it was the Irish side of the family that pronounced it that way - and guess how it's pronounced with an Irish accent?

I've become very tolerant of linguistic manglings since I started working with people with developmental disabilities, and now in London most of the people I work with aren't native English speakers - plus my aspie boyfriend has a range of very endearing manglings that I can't get annoyed about because they're so cute.

Expresso on the other hand - eeesh. Even more grating when it's on a professionally painted sign!
posted by goo 11 September | 10:41
I think these are just cute. Though advise & advice make me wince once in a while. And the mute point- yeah.

So... how is one supposed to pronounce avocado? And if an entire region pronounces something incorrectly, is it really incorrect? I would argue "No."
posted by small_ruminant 11 September | 11:22
I think I am partially immune to the annoyance factor because my father misused words just to drive my mom up the wall. You could just WATCH her trying not to react...
posted by small_ruminant 11 September | 11:23
posted by Specklet 11 September | 11:34
A lot of people I know use "flustrated," which sort of blends flustered into the mix also.
posted by danf 11 September | 17:57
For all the Bunnies whose lives suck right now || Whoot!