With wit and good humor, this handy little book not only saves us from sticky linguistic situations but also provides fascinating cocktail-party-ready anecdotes. Entries reveal how to pronounce boatswain like an old salt on the deck of a ship, trompe l'oeil like a bona fide art expert, and haricot vert like a foodie, while arming us with the knowledge of why certain words are correctly pronounced the "slangy" way (they came about before dictionaries), what stalks of grain have to do with pronunciation, and more. With bonus sidebars like "How to Sound like a Seasoned Traveler" and "How to Sound Cultured," readers will be able to speak about foreign foods and places, fashion, philosophy, and literature with authority.~Goodreads Blurb
As a kid, we had plenty of blankets and quilts, but never one of those strange things called duvets. I knew what they were of course. I had read several stories about children being tucked in, or young adults struggling with changing the duvet cover. It was one of those words that I learned from reading, so imagine my surprise when I was corrected, at the age of 24, that it was DEW-vay, not Dove-et. I was mortified. I had no idea that it was all fancy like that. I remember closing up and not really talking the rest of the night for fear that my pronunciation would come under attack again.
With humor and grace, authors Ross and Kathryn Petras, guide us towards correct pronunciation. With no malice, but a bit of prodding, they sprinkle their newest book with history, social cues, and help to avoid faux pas for anyone who speaks this silly language we call English. I was able to finish it off in only a few hours, but I found its effect lingered on in my guarded speech. I think that anyone who speaks English as a first language is going to find at least one, if not more, words that they mispronounce on a regular basis. I think this would not only be a great read but also a great present for people who love words, and the history behind them. Or you could give them to your friend who always pronounces things wrong, but I'm not promising that you won't get an eyeroll or a punch for it.
*This book was provided to me by Blogging For Books and Ten Speed Press in exchange for an honest review*
Freelance Editor & Reviewer