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100 Words Almost Everyone Mispronounces

3.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 004-6442008778
ISBN-10: 0547148119
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

The Editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries are a team of professional lexicographers with advanced degrees in various scholarly fields. The editors familiarize themselves with the vocabulary in specific subject areas, collect materials on new developments and usage, and work with expert consultants to ensure that our publications are accurate and up-to-date.

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Product Details

  • Series: 100 Words
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (September 24, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547148119
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547148113
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 0.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,436,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 28, 2008
"100 Words Almost Everyone Mispronounces," from the editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries, will be of interest mostly to English teachers, librarians, and others who are meticulous about language. In an age of email and text messaging, correct spelling and pronunciation are becoming increasingly uncommon. The words listed in this book range from the frequently used--such as almond, divisive, harass, and forte--to such uncommon words as antipodes, desuetude, hegemony, and quietus.

This ninth entry in the "100 Words" series contains clearly written definitions, sample sentences, detailed etymologies, and intriguing explanations of how and why a word's pronunciation may change over time. Sometimes, there is no obvious reason for such a change. For example, the word "flaccid" ("lacking firmness, resilience, or muscle tone") used to be pronounced "flaksid," with a "k" sound from the word's Latin derivation. No one knows precisely when or why speakers began to say the double c sound as if it were an s, but now flaccid is commonly pronounced "flasid." Even highly educated readers may be surprised at the correct pronunciation of such words as "detritus" and "puerile," and they will also gain insight into the connection between a word's language of origin and its pronunciation.

Whether you are interested in words for professional reasons, wish to sound more erudite, or are just curious about the vagaries of the English language, this slim and sometimes humorous volume provides entertainment, clearly written and accurate information, and a glimpse into how words have evolved over the centuries. In fact, the editors assure us that "pronunciation is not a matter of absolute authenticity but of broad consensus," so today's mistake may become tomorrow's standard pronunciation.
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What a cool book! I love improving my blind spots before I blunder in public. Who doesn't think that chaise longue is pronounced as in "lounge"? Luckily, gyro can be your "hero." And err rhymes with fur, not to be pronounced like "air." There is a good pronunciation guide in the book, but even with its help I still trip over saying "puerile" correctly. So this short volume (120 pages) offers the reader a voyage of discovery and practice. Most of us don't care about Xhosa, but there is some sexual terminology included that would sound awkward if misused.
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I just don't remember the symbols in the dictionary anymore, so I thought this would be a simple way to learn how to pronounce those pesky words.
I was kind of hoping for phonetic spelling after each word, which this book does not have.
Maybe this book was meant to just tell you the words people mispronounce and nothing more. ; )
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Very brief and to the point, which makes it a great stocking stuffer for word mavens -- particularly those who need to be taken down a peg or two. But a three stars rather than four, since some of the words they cite don't seem to me to be that widely mispronounced.
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