Low fashion

I work in written communication, so pronunciation isn’t something I have to think about a lot (professionally at least). I didn’t really become aware of this until two years ago.

I didn’t know the correct pronunciation of couture, the fancy catch-all word that is used anything to do with fashion, until I was 23.

Someone at the newspaper I was working at said it, pronouncing it coo-tyoor, and I said, “What’s that?” They told me, and I said, oh, you mean coo-cher. I was laughed at. (Webster’s New World gives the pronunciations as koo-toor or koo-tyoor, so the laughing was justified.)

I’d never heard it spoken out loud before, and since then, I’ve always wondered what other words I’ve been mispronouncing to myself over the years. It doesn’t matter that I do it to myself, but I’m bound to have another coo-cher moment in the future.

(I still like coo-cher better, by the way. It’s more fun.)

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Comments

  1. says

    My favorite similar example belongs to my 7th-grade English teacher, who confessed to having approached her mother (at some youngish age) with an excerpt she’d found in Reader’s Digest’s “Toward More Picture-Skew Speech” section…..

  2. Sean M White says

    I was actually talking to Lauren about this subject while I was visiting. I’m terrible at pronunciation; I read a lot of books, but I never use many of the words I read in a sentence. I used to say the word convoluted, con-volt-ed, instead of con-vo-lut-ed. Dad got a good laugh about that one.

  3. says

    My father laughed himself silly at me when I pronounced the word “certainty” as “cer-tan-ity.” Also, I seem to recall you correcting my pronunciation of “re-ducks” as “re-doo,” but Webster’s online tells me I am correct. :)

    There are tons of words that I like to use in print but cannot pronounce. Of course, I can’t remember any of them now.

  4. says

    Apparently, so am I. My wife just pointed out to me that my previous comment doesn’t refute Rachel’s, it confirms it. I think I was pretty out of it at work last night.

  5. Janet says

    Know someone who for many years pronounced misled to herself as though it were the past particple of the verb to misle (that’s meyes -ill)

  6. cc says

    Hah, big chuckle to myself over that. Reminds me of the time before I learned to pronounce a common foreign term. While on a grantwriting team, a man used the term “fo-paw” describing why we needed to be careful that some information was correct. I thought ok, I’m in friendly company, I’ll just ask what fo-paw means. So I was happy to be informed that faux-pas is NOT pronounced fox paz before I ever said it out loud. And back when I was in 3rd grade I discovered “naked” does NOT rhyme with “baked”. :-D