MISPRONUNCIATION. Wrong PRONUNCIATION, usually of a specific sound: for example, when a foreign learner of English says ‘chilled’ for child (on the analogy of build and gild); or, in the accentual pattern of a word, stressing cement on the first syllable and eliding the t, so that it sounds like seaman or semen. Within one language, what is correct in one variety may be incorrect in another: in most accents of English, the word loch (as in the name Loch Lomond) is a homophone of lock, but in ScoE it ends with the velar fricative /x/, as in German ach; most Scots regard the pronunciation ‘lock’ as incorrect, and many find it irritating. Among native speakers of English, the mispronunciation of a word or name usually arises from unfamiliarity, either because an item is exotic (as with ‘makizmo’ for machismo) or because it derives from Latin or Greek (as with ‘fthizzis’ for phthisis, usually pronounced ‘thigh-sis’ or ‘tie-sis’). Many English words of classical origin have two or more possible pronunciations. Sometimes both or all the variants are accepted, as with ‘hibbiskus’ and ‘highbiskus’ for hibiscus, and with ‘HEDGE-emony’, ‘he DGEMony’, and ‘heGGEMony’ for hegemony. Sometimes one or the other is widely regarded as an error, as with lamentable, when stressed on the second syllable.
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