Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

Words I grew up saying differently

I can think of only a few conscious changes I've made to my own speech habits, at least on the word level.

1. Aunt. I grew up saying it like "ant." After I started teaching English in Russia in 2002, I got tired of having to clarify which word I meant (aunt or ant, since I pronounced them the same). You'd think this wouldn't come up that much, but somehow it did, so I consciously decided to start saying it aunt, to rhyme with "gaunt." And that's how I say it still. So if you talk to my siblings and me about my mother's sister, we will pronounce the word "aunt" differently from each other.

2. Soda. I grew up saying "pop." But as we've moved around the US and the world over the years, I've noticed that "pop" is less and less understood by others. So I say soda, even though it makes me die a little bit inside.

3. College. I almost never use this word anymore. People here do not understand it. So I no longer went to college, I went to university.

I was thinking about Jeremy and how he grew up in SE Idaho, so he sometimes flattens out the "ee" vowel in worlds like "field," to sound like "fild." He never did it very strongly, and while I really do try to respect the fact that there are many regional varieties of English in America, that particular tic of pronunciation grates on me. For years now, Jeremy has changed his pronunciation to be the more standard one ("feeld" instead of "fild"). I don't know how conscious of a thing this is for him. I do know that he sometimes over-corrects, and gives the "ee" vowel to something that actually should have the "ih" vowel - like saying "keeln" instead of "kiln," if that were ever a word he said (I couldn't think of a real example).

Have you ever consciously changed your pronunciation or word choice?
Triathlon success!

Triathlon success!

Global Day 2015