Annoyed by pronunciation errors? These “peaceful” words will “probably” leave you furious
“Specifically” and “probably” top the list of the most irritating mispronounced words, according to a new poll.
Language experts said people were often reluctant to correct other people’s pronunciation in public for fear of being labeled “pedantic.”
But most people are more comfortable picking on family members when they make a verbal misstep, they added.
In a study of 2,000 participants, 35% of respondents rated “peacefully” as the most annoying verbal mistake.
Saying “probably” instead of “probably” angered 28 percent and over a quarter (26 percent) said the most annoying misused word was “espresso” instead of espresso.
The use of the word “specially” instead of “mostly” was a scarecrow for 25% of people and “artick” rather than “arctic” affected 19% of people.
Although 61% of 2,000 people polled as part of the analysis agency Perspectus Global’s survey find it annoying that others say incorrect words, 65% would be too embarrassed to correct them.
However, 35 percent can’t help but correct their friends and family, while 10 percent are happy to tell a stranger that they’ve mispronounced a word.
An additional 25% report having had a full-fledged argument with a friend, colleague or family member about the correct pronunciation of a word.
Dr Alex Baratta, Lecturer in Linguistics at the University of Manchester, commented: “Language is constantly changing, and this can apply to the pronunciation of words and not just to the meaning of words and grammar.
“In some cases, a word can change pronunciation or end up with two existing pronunciations, depending on what might have started as a mistake.
“Once the new pronunciation takes hold in a society, it is no longer a mistake but an innovation.
“Pronunciation differences can arise due to the natural speech of some groups or informal speech in general, so we have clippings, for example probably.
“It is ultimately a question of accuracy but without wanting to risk being labeled a pedantic for having corrected certain people, whereas with the family one could feel closer to doing so.”