Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mispronouncificationly Speaking

I was listening to a podcast of This American Life in which several contributors were sharing funny stories about things they believed in their childhood which they continued to believe into adulthood.

One woman thought that unicorns were as real as zebras or dinosaurs. While at a party, a group of her friends were discussing the plight of various endangered species. She spoke up and asked, "yeah, is the unicorn endangered or already extinct?" A moment of silence followed, and then great laughter, followed by another moment of silence when they all realized she had been serious.

Another woman thought that crossing signs (shown as X-ing - like Deer X-ing) were "Xing" (pronounced "zing") signs. She was with a colleague and saw several geese cross the street. She informed the colleague that they should "really put a xing sign here, don't you think?"

It made me think of some of the misunderstandings (usually dealing with mispronouncing things) I've run into (or had myself).

One of my younger brothers saw the reception center at which my sister's wedding reception had been held. He asked my mom, "isn't that where Merilee and Calvin had their conception?"

I had a companion on my mission say, "Your dad is an institute teacher so you know the scriptures pretty well. Can you tell me what a shameno is?" "A shameno? I've never heard of it, where did you hear it?" "Well, in that song, which I thought was from scripture, you know the one that goes 'by this shameno ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another.'"

When I was younger I was fairly concerned that perhaps I wasn't a child of God. Every day I would check my knees to see if they had turned gray yet. I surmised that they only turned gray after sufficient time on those knees in prayer. I wondered and wondered when my praying would turn my knees gray so that I could be considered a child of God. You know, "I am a child of God, and so my knees are gray." It was much later that I realized that my "needs" were "great."

So, please, do share. What funny stories of this sort do you have tumbling around in your past?

10 response(s):

Laura said...

Heidi, I loved that show, too. I have been telling people about it since I heard it on podcast.

First one that comes to my mind is "Give, Said the Little String." Why it was hurrying down the hill, I don't really know. :)

Thanks for the smile today.
Best,
Laura

lynl514 said...

A few months ago at work, I was ordering lunch for a meeting. I asked one of my co-workers if they wanted a chicken cashew sandwich and her emailed reply was "diffidently." She's a manager in our reservations department. We hire really high class people.

xunil2 said...

This one's personally embarrassing. Since I was young enough to read Hardy Boys books, where I first remember encountering this word in print, I thought the word 'misled' was in fact the word 'missiled'. As in not being led astray but in some way being the past tense of the made-up verb(?) 'to missile'.

This occurred as late as my 30s.

I had successfully suppressed this memory until that particular episode of TAL aired some years ago. Thanks a bunch, Ira Glass!

xunil2 said...

Oh yeah, and there was that time these two cute missionaries asked me if I wanted to be 'baptized'. I thought they said 'bagpiped' and figured, "what the heck, I could learn to play them, sure' bagpipe me".

Look where that got me....

Well I thought it was funny anyway.

Charlotte said...

You know the song "B-I-N-G-O"?

I always got the B and the I, but I couldn't figure out 1)where the letter engeeoh was in our alphabet, and 2)why we sang all the other letters separately, but we broke engeeoh into three parts.

Layne said...

I was sure that the lyrics to that Robert Palmer song were not "simply irresistible," but rather "hit me with a picture phone." Because that makes all kinds of sense. Hey, I watched a lot of "Peewee's Playhouse."

Soutenus said...

OK Layne's had me literally LOL!!!!

Mine is not so funny but was definitely embarrassing.

For years and years I thought the word "jerk" was pronounced "yerk".
I have NO idea why I thought this. It was not a word I remember using as a youngster -- my Mom would have corrected me. :-)

In college I remember sitting with a group of friends. I asked one of them if they had "yerked" their neck in a recent auto accident. I got a very quizzical look and then when everyone realized I was serious -- uproarious laughter.

I turned very red and, of course, felt like a yerk!

Bamamoma said...

These are awesome. I've remembered another one from a (different) brother. When he was in High School he asked his teacher how to spell icklease. It was only after using it in context for her that the teacher was able to tell him to spell it a-t l-e-a-s-t.

Layne, along with yours, I always thought the words to the song, Elvira (Oakridge boys maybe?) was actually, "hell, fire up!" I thought it was a Christian revival song. I was an adult before someone dared correct me as I belted out my version.

Claire said...

My mum is British and still has a thick accent. As a child the difference between her accent and my dad's American accent caused me some heartache! In Primary I loved the song "In the Leafy Treetops" but I could never understand why the flowers were 'naughty'. Hearing my mum and dad each sing it with different pronouncation really threw me off and I was sure that they were some very, very bad flowers.

Corrie said...

My mom had a siamese cat named Ming-Ling but had to get rid of her after I was born because I was allergic to it. She really loved that cat and talked about how she potty trained her and everything. Whenever we sang "Praise to the Man" in church I couldn't figure out how 'they' knew..."Ming-Ling with God"...It always made me feel quite guilty for my allergy and my was sure my mom was sadly reminded of her beloved cat. (Now, I don't think the cat was put to sleep...just given away.)