16 Jul 2015

More than one way to say it?

6:37 am on 16 July 2015

Last time in this column, I posted a list of words that get used on air quite regularly - words that in some cases are often pronounced incorrectly.


Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

With some of them, there may be only one acceptable pronunciation. Among the words below, "restaurateur", "women" and "mischievous" are good examples.

With many other words, including some of the following, there may well be more than one acceptable pronunciation.

This list below gives you Radio New Zealand's policies or preferences.

  • grown same as "groan" [IPA: ɡrəʊn]* not growen
  • hurricane HURRUH-kuhn [ˈhʌrɪkən] not HURRUH kayn
  • interment in-TER-muhnt (burial) [ɪnˈtɜːmənt not in-TERN-muhnt
  • inventory IN-vuhn-tree [ˈɪnvəntri] not in-VENT-uh-ree or in-vuhn-TAW-ree
  • irreparable i-REP-pruh-buhl [ɪˈrepərəbl] not irruh-PAIR-ruh-buhl
  • irrevocable I-REV-uh-kuh-buhl [ɪˈrevəkəbl] not irruh-VOHK-uh-buhl
  • known one syllable, rhymes with "phone" [nəʊn] not knowen
  • longevity lon-JEV-it-ee [lɒnˈdʒevəti] soft g
  • longitude LON-jit-yood [ˈlɒnɡɪtjuːd] soft g
  • mischievous MIS-chiv-uhs [ˈmɪstʃɪvəs] not mis-CHEEV-ee-uhs
  • project, (noun)PROD-jekt [ˈprɒdʒekt] not PROH-jekt
  • protestor pruh-TEST-uh [prəˈtestə] not PROH-test-uh
  • research ri-SERCH [rɪˈsɜːtʃ ] not REE-serch
  • restaurateur rest-uh-ruh-TER [ˌrestərəˈtɜː] not rest-uh-ron-TER
  • schedule SHED-yool [ˈʃedjuːl] not SKED-yool
  • women WIM-in [ˈwɪmɪn] not woomin

* Note: IPA refers to the universal system of international phonetic symbols and provides a more exact notation of how we say things.

Hewitt Humphrey is Radio New Zealand's Presentation Standards Manager. If there are any words you would like him to address in future please send your query to rnzwebsite@radionz.co.nz and put in the subject field: Attention, Hewitt Humphrey.

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