Who taught : Andrew, Jake, James and Carl
There is a new tv show started last week. It is called, “Outsourced.” I love it. It shows a lot of cultural differences between America and India. You should really try to watch it and let’s talk about it later.
Do you know what file type I hate most? It is zip file.
Do you know why? Well… it is so hard to pronounce. A few months ago, I was having a meeting with a client and there were James, one of my old coworkers, and Carl, my old boss. After the meeting, I went into Carl’s room to have another meeting and, at the end of the meeting, he taught me how to pronounce zip correctly. And, interestingly, when James and I had brunch together last Saturday, he mentioned about his feeling about my pronunciation of zip file. It is actually kind of frustrating to have the feeling that I would never be able to have a correct pronunciation for some of the alphabets or words.
There are a few other alphabets or words that are hard to pronounce correctly. (Here, I mean really correctly like Americans, not like mimicking the sound!)
1. v and th
A lot of Koreans, or Asians, pronounce this incorrectly so that many American people think we are saying “b” instead. For example, when you are looking for a “vase” but if you pronounce it incorrectly, then it becomes “base.” The other example is any word having “th.” More specifically, if you trying to say that you are “thinking” now but, if you say it incorrectly, then it becomes to mean that you are “sinking” now. Then your American friends would be like, “to where are you sinking down?”
This one looks pretty easy to pronounce but it, in fact, is very hard to pronounce correctly. Jessy has a friend who came to the U.S. around 20 years ago when she was around 25 years old. She has children who of course are native English speakers. One time, she had a conversation with her children and she said “wood.” As soon as she said that word, her children said to her, “Mom, that is not correct. Say it again!” So, she tried again and again but still the pronunciation was not correct. You know what happened eventually. Her children said, “Mom! You are never gonna be able to pronounce it correctly at all.”
How frustrating it is! Remember! She has been living in the U.S. for 20 years. 20 years!
3. Square or Squirrel
Well, I had a very similar experience with what Jessy’s friend had. I live in a neighborhood, called Squirrel Hill, in Pittsburgh. One time, I was talking about this neighborhood to Andrew and Jake. As soon as I said it, they were like, “Terry! What? Say it again!” So, I kind of realized that I spoke it incorrectly and tried really really hard to pronounce it correctly. Then, they said, “That is pretty good. Before, it was not correct.”
Then, a few days ago, I was talking about something and I said “Square Root” to Andrew and Jake. Then, they were like, “Hey! Terry! Say it again?” Yeah, they challenged me again. So, I tried again. Andrew and Jake! How was I? Do you think I need more practices? I guess so, right?
So, as a non-native English speaker, what is the hardest word or alphabet for you to pronounce? I think mine is “Z” alphabet and any word having it like Zoo or Zip. The real hope I have now is I wish I can speak those ones really good so that no one can recognize me as a non-native English speaker. There must be some ways to practice. Does anybody know how to practice to pronounce those alphabets correctly?