Thursday, August 20, 2015

Zoe vs. Top 9 Mispronounced Words

As a New Yorker, Zoe is already an at-risk proper-English speaker. She's probably picking up Queens English from me. That's "Queens," meaning the borough, not "Queen's," meaning proper English.
In Queens, where I was raised, some people (my mother) have been known to use the word "bunk" to mean bump into. My mother: You know who I bunked into the other day? Me: A bed?
People from Queens often drop letters from words and phrases---"Djeetyet?" Did you eat yet?---and then, perversely, they add letters to words that don't need them. Why do we do that? I have no idear.
Zoe's dad grew up in Brooklyn, where the highway signs as you leave say: "Fuhgeddaboudit." The welcome signs say, "How Sweet It Is," which, of course, is from The Honeymooners, but on its own like that, on a sign, we can see it has no clear antecedent.
So Zoe is doomed. You'd think I'd want to get ahead of the problem, and nip her mispronunciations in the bud, but you have to admit you've been wrong before.
I know part of my job as a parent is to guide and correct, but when it comes to the words Zoe mispronounces I feel like it's my job to sit back and eat some popcorn. Her mispronunciations are either too cute, hilarious, or a combination of both.

Here are my 9 favorites:

1. Peeyuter (computer)
Zoe's been saying this one since she was two. It's my favorite mispronunciation of hers, and I feel like when she finally gets it right, a part of her childhood will be gone forever.
Future Me: No, you cannot have a peeyuter in your room. There's a perfectly good peeyuter in the living room.
Future Zoe: Mother, I don't say computer that way anymore.
Future Me: . . . Peeyuter.

2. Chinkmunk (chipmunk)
Kind of cute, albeit with a glance toward racism. She started using it to describe a tiny Lego which is part of a veterinary ambulance kit, and which is also, actually, a hedgehog. I corrected her on the biological facts, not the mispronunciation, and I didn't even get very far in that since, as she told me: "It's not a hog. It's a chinkmunk." Okay then.

3. Oxtable (obstacle)
Lately Zoe's obsessed with American Ninja Warrior so we're hearing this mispronunciation a lot. She places all the couch cushions and pillows on the floor and then says: "Look, Mommy, I'm running an oxtable course."

4. Zizzers (scissors)
As in: "Mommy, may I run the oxtable course with zizzers?" That would be a no.

5. Teerara (tiara)
Several times a day I hear: "Mommy, I can't find Cinderella's teerara." Mommy should've never cut it off with the zizzers.

6. Enjury (energy, sometimes injury, so it gets confusing)
Zoe: Mommy, can I jump on the trampoline? I have too much enjury. I'll hold on so I don't get enjured.
Me: Only if, and for the last time, you please put down the zizzers.

7. Hopsital (hospital)
Me (continued): If you don't put down those zizzers, you might get an enjury.
Zoe:  Yeah, and  then we'll have to go to the hopsital (sic, but also sick).

8. Ointmeal (oatmeal)
Zoe: Can I eat ointmeal when we're at the hopsital?
Me: If you ask nicely, maybe they'll even cover you in it.
Zoe: Silly Mommy, then you'd have seerul on your clothes.

9. Seerul (cereal)

Zoe: 105; Universe: 0

For more of Zoe's hijinks, follow me on Facebook and on Twitter at @zoevsuniverse
I need a win here, people. 

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