Monday, June 28, 2010




1 : a place of burial : tomb
2 : a receptacle for religious relics especially in an altar

On pronunciation:

One day in fourth grade my class was taking turns reading aloud from a novel. I was in the advanced reading class, and unlike many others I enjoyed reading aloud because I liked pretending I was eloquent. While reading that day, I mistakingly pronounced the word Chicago as CHIK-uh-go. The class snickered. My teacher said, "It's shi-KAK-goh," in a pitiful tone, as though I was too ignorant to have heard of the city. Of course
I had heard of Chicago, but I had never seen the word in print. I felt pretty awful for the rest of the day.

For some time I confused pronunciations of the words scarce and sparse, switching the pronunciation of the a's, an ahr versus an air. The most memorable incident was when I was hanging out with the older sister of a friend; I was 19, she was probably about 23—the cooler, older, more intelligent woman to my ignorant just-out-of-high-school teenager. We sat on a humid sidewalk outside a Dunkin Donuts by the mall. I plugged the word scarce into the conversation, pronouncing it skars, and she immediately called me out.

"Did you just say skars? Do you mean skairs?"

I tried to laugh it off, but I felt stupid and young.

I always thought the word SEPULCHRE was pronounced sep-UL-kruh. Wrong again. Although, this mistake was only the sounds in my head; I can't recall a time when I used this word out loud. But thank you, Merriam-Webster, for saving me the future embarrassment of mispronouncing a word I may use next time I'm having a heart-to-heart about burial tombs.

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