|January 4, 2013
Clint Eastwood's advice in "Dirty Harry" that
opinions, like certain body parts, are best kept to
I was a kid, maybe 9 or 10, I could not, no matter how hard
I tried, pronounce "Aluminum". For some reason,
that word just got all tangled up in my mouth and came out
funny every time. Eventually, I worked it out, but I was
reminded of it the other day, when a news anchor on
television botched up the name of the Iranian President
Now, who wouldn't screw-up
that name, unless you practiced and practiced, as I'm pretty
sure the broadcast people had to do, when the fellow first
came to office and was in the news. I'm not sure I could
pronounce it now, even after hearing it thousands of times.
Former President Bush had trouble with a lot of
words, including "nuclear" (nuke-LEE-ar),
which he pronounced "nucular" (nuke-YOO-LAR).
The invented word "strategery" was attributed to
Bush, but was actually created by Saturday Night Live
comedy writers for a skit about the president, and became so
popular that even White House staffers began to use it.
mentioned this to a friend of mine yesterday, and he started
to laugh, telling me about how a couple of his relatives had
my "aluminum" problem. He said that, years ago,
family members were discussing a recent funeral, and one of
the women kept referring to the pallbearers as "polar
bears". She just could not pronounce "pallbearers".
relative was married to a woman who could not, for the life
of her, say "aluminum foil", which I sure could
identify with, and the guy took great delight in
embarrassing her in front of friends and family by saying
"HEY HONEY, SAY ALUMINUM FOIL!" However it
came out, my friend said it was hilarious, and he really
felt sorry for the poor woman, who tried to be a good sport
I've been married to a real "grammar
nazi" for nearly 47 years now, I still make the same
mistakes with grammar and pronunciation, and she continues
to make the same corrections. I'll be listening to someone
sing or play a musical instrument on the radio, and I'll say
something like "He played that good
and she'll say "WELL!".
the other day, when I mispronounced "February"
(Feb-YOO-air-y) , and she immediately corrected me
with "IT'S FEBRUARY!" (Feb-ROO-air-y)
Now, in my defense, that has to be a
pronunciation that more people get wrong than right, and I
will continue to get it wrong.
Am I right?
Air Aviation Referral Service
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