Peter over at Collection Children’s Books wrote a great post about having a reader’s vocabulary–you know, those words you know from reading them, but are deathly afraid of using in conversation because you have no idea how to pronounce them? (Subcutaneous was a word I loved, but never spoke aloud. I think I heard it in my head as sub-cut-tan-ee-us.)
Are you that person who huffily corrects people’s pronunciations, spelling and grammar? Are you a jerk about it? Do you get a dirty little thrill from making someone look and feel stupid? Do you do it to CHILDREN as well as adults? Well, quit it. You should be helpful, and use the word again with the correct pronunciation (if you’re sure you’re right), but don’t be that person that makes other people feel stupid. All you’ll really succeed in doing is preventing them from ever using new vocabulary words ever again, and that would be sad. If you love words so much, don’t you want more people using a wider variety of words?
So enough with the word shame. Embrace those mis-hearings and mispronounciations, correct them nicely when you can, and encourage people to use the words they read in the books that we (librarians, teachers) love so much.
Oh, and stop by Collecting Children’s Books and let Peter know what words you mispronounced in your youth.