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An Incredibly Nerdy Post About Language

January 10, 2014

It’s rare that I’m not posting about gaming – it’s even more rare that I’d talk about language, grammar, and pronunciation.

Let me just start the post with what I’m thinking about: Teachers, please don’t teach my kid pompous /yet/ incorrect pronunciation of words.

My step-son has a spelling test, and he was taught that the word /sherbet/ is pronounced “sherbey” – contradictory to the spelling /and/ the common (mis)pronunciation “sherbert“. The teacher must have thought that the word was French, and should be pronounced like other French words ending in -et. Interestingly enough, the word is Arabic / Persian in origin, and most definitely /not French/, thus should not be pronounced “sherbey“.

This is a petty issue, really, but two things really bother me about this. First, the teacher is basically “winging it” at this point, and just making something up based on their own misconception. Second, we live in a particularly insulated, racist, xenophobic, close-minded region – and any pronunciation, dialect, or accent that is out of the ordinary will surely get a kid picked on. This is extra-true for a pompous sounding quasi-French word that /isn’t even French/.


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