I love words. Throughout my elementary to high school years, vocab and spelling tests were my favorite. I weirdly enjoyed them.
Even though I'm a wordy person, I've still had my fair share of laughable faux pas. Some of them happened when I was, understandably, a child and still listening to language around me and developing my speech patterns. But I have to admit, there have been a few words I've been messing up my whole 20+ years of existence.
It's a funny thing to write about, but I think it's interesting. Everyone has that song where FOR YEARS you thought the singer was singing one thing, but when you looked up the lyrics, you were completely wrong. The first example I can think of is one of the most classic 90s songs that played in lunch rooms across the country: "Blue." I have vivid memories of arguments kids had about the part after the "I'm blue" chorus. Some people thought they weren't singing words and it was just "la da dee daba da"; others thought it sounded like "I believe I'm gonna die." I always leaned more towards the words, but I'm still not even sure.
I think most of my mistakes have clearly been linguistic by nature. They all pretty much revolve around the difference between how something sounds and how it's spelled -- or what something means and how it's spelled. As word-oriented as I am, I think it's easy to forget how much sound impacts language.
I'm going to count up to some of the funniest word mistakes I can remember for your enjoyment. Maybe I'm not the only one? Or maybe I am.
1.) Under 5 years old: Light = "yite"
For some reason, I couldn't pronounce the "L" in light for the longest time. "Can you turn on the yite?" was a common phrase when I was learning to talk. Thank goodness I caught on to the difference.
2.) 5+ years old: Nostril = "nosehole"
I said this for years, and it's pretty logical if you ask me. Nosehole makes a lot more literal sense. But I'm not sure why I needed to say the word "nostril" so frequently, unless I picked my nose a lot.
3.) 7+ years old: Emily = "Lala"
I can't take credit for this one, but I had to include it. My brother could never pronounce my name -- is it really that difficult? For at least 3 years, he sounded it out the best he could and I was stuck with the yellow Teletubby name. Even when he was old enough to say the sounds in my name correctly , the nickname had unfortunately already stuck.
4.) 7+ years old: Car = "beep beep"
This was another one from my brother, but I played Matchbox cars with him so often that I'm pretty sure I started calling them that, too. I think beep beep has a much nicer ring to it.
5.) Aprox. 13 years: Chic = "chick"
I'll admit that I read way too many of those cheesy teen magazines when I was younger with Disney stars plastered to the front and "fashion" advice in the last half of it. Whether my quiz result was 'city chic', 'country chic', or 'boho chic," my friends promptly corrected me when I dared to describe my style as a baby bird instead of the elegant "sheek."
6.) 16+ years old: Hors d'oeuvre = "horse devor"
I can't be the only one who messed this one up. I never studied French, so I had no understanding of their sophisticated pronunciations. I guess I chose to sound like a hick instead. The sad part is I love hors d' oeuvres, especially stuffed mushrooms.
7.) Aprox. 18 years old: Tenure = "ten year"
You know that thing that teachers and professors work so hard for? For 18 years I thought they were working for their ten year. It makes perfect sense -- after ten years, they get their promotion! I had a quick wake up call when I got to college.
8.) 19+ years old: Pedagogy = a word I could never remember
At least my word mistakes became more complex as I got older. I would hear the term in some of my first few college classes, and I'm pretty sure I had to look it up to make sure I was on the same page as everyone else. Professors love this word, but for months after I learned it, I couldn't make it stick in my brain. I would remember it meant the art of teaching, but the pronunciation always escaped me. Is it pedagOHgy or pedagAHgy?
9.) 22+ years old: Enigma = another definition I can never remember
I've had people tell me what this means so many times. Yet, here I am, unsure of what it means again. I don't think we have many words in the dictionary spelled or pronounced like this, so maybe that has something to do with it. Please tell me I'm not the only one.
10.) 22+ years old: Faux pas = I tried to spell it "fo pa" only to realize French must be my demise.
I had to look up how to spell this before I used it above.
Now you know my dark secret.
My favorite things are the simple ones: day-long book binges, cozy candles, dog kisses, ink on your hands, tree stars (leaves for those of you who never watched The Land Before Time) sweater weather, new ideas, local craft beer, punctuation, and knotty saltwater hair. Desserts are my favorite meal. I'm a creative writer and editor, and I created this space to keep my writing reflexes sharp and to share my simple ramblings with you!