Who put the “you” in “February”?
This is my month and I wish you would pronounce it correctly.
My birthday — the first of the month — ushers in 28 (or 29) days of the most mispronounced period on the calendar. I understand that marketers are trying to personalize their message by inserting “you” in everything, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept Feb-YOO-ary.
Yet professional newscasters and announcers lately have succumbed to widespread adoption of this error. Given the amount of time broadcasters historically have spent in bars, you’d think they could pronounce a word that has “brew” in the middle.
In honor of poor February — short, cold (except for 2012) and mispronounced — I am declaring it National Let’s Stop the Mispronunciation Madness Month.
Here are this year’s target words, collected during many tedious hours of watching local news in one of the nation’s top media markets:
- Temp-a-chur (a favorite of on-air weathermen)
- Ex-peer-i-ment (when we did these in high school chemistry, the second syllable rhymed with “air”)
- Im-por-dant (if it was so important, you should speak as though it was spelled with a “t” instead of “d” — because it is)
- Off-ten (please say “often” as if it does not have a “t”)
- Nuke-you-ler (here again, someone is trying to make us feel better about nuclear energy by inserting “you” in the word — and I swear I heard a spokeswoman from Exelon say it this way in a radio interview this week)
- Mu-zum (this is a place that houses fascinating exhibits, but I’m more fascinated with the process that is rapidly eliminating “myoo-zee-um” as the correct way to say it)
Hoping that the announcers among you may wish to practice on some additional words, please have a look at “10 Words You Mispronounce That Make People Think You’re an Idiot.” This article recently was promoted on Facebook by Chicago newscaster Charlie Meyerson, whose post attracted dozens of comments and contributions to the list.
I implore you to help commemorate National Let’s Stop the Mispronunciation Madness Month by delivering “Feb-roo-ary” clearly to the face of the next person you hear trying to pronounce it any other way.