Aug 7, 2009

WEEKLY UPDATE: Phonetically Correct

Well, I've been home from my east coast vacation for a full week now ... and I'm still settling in. All the travel was exciting, even if it was a little frenetic.

Frenetic: That rhymes with the word I really want to talk about today, phonetic. Many of you may already know that phonetics is the study of sounds and language. But how many of you study sounds, yourselves?

When we add new words to our vocabulary, it's common that we mispronounce them at first, especially if we've only read them in print and/or gleaned their meaning from usage in a book or an article. So, how do we correct this problem?

The list I linked to in Wednesday's post contains a variety of online dictionaries that sound out the word—either in print or via sound files, and sometimes using both.

One of last month's words of the week was credenza, a beautifully sounding noun with a dark and ominous history to its meaning. I told you about this history, but failed to help you pronounce the word in either its past or present form. (Bad Communications Coach!) Going forward, Beyond Talk will include a pronunciation key for each Monday's weekly word, i.e., foe-NEH-tick for phonetic; krah-DEN-za for credenza (and in Italian, originally, kray-DEN-zha). Better yet, there will be a link to an online dictionary each week that provides a sound file of the word's pronunciation, just to make things crystal clear.

Incidentally, my east coast tour sparked a conversation with my blogging colleague, Mary Beth Haggerty, an interior designer based in the Boston area. Click here to read her take on the word credenza—and see some lovely contemporary furniture photos, too!

© KiKi Productions, Inc. 2009

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