Reading (A Lot) Got Me Like This

This post was inspired while reading my first book for 2020, ‘This is Just My Face…Try Not to Stare’ by Gabourey Sidibe. (other thoughts here).

Alrighty, here we go. On this memoir I pulled out the proverbial magnifying glass hoping to come across the correct pronunciation of Gabourey’s name. Interestingly enough, this inspection led me to thinking about how often my sister’s name was mispronounced. Though one more syllable than Gabourey’s three, ‘Alecia’ read …and sounded… clear as a bell to me. There was no ‘ish’ in the spelling of her name, nor any h’s. Those who neglected to see this I thought… well… I thought were not too swift.

Then I got older and thought about how often I mispronounced names…and words. It was brought to my attention that I was ‘axing’ things, instead of ‘asking’ questions. Over time I corrected my diction, ensuring I was enunciating that ‘k’. Except people, I soon discovered, were funny about stuff like this. I mean, this whole asking/axing business became so traumatic for some that this one person actually grabbed me by the shoulders, shook me, and looked me straight in the face to show me how ask was pronounced with a ‘t’. 😂

Perhaps it’s sad, or maybe petty, but this funny business made more sense when I happened on a conversation where someone was pointing out a ‘perceived’ poorly edited book, due to the writer frequently spelling words like organization, as organisation. You know, that whole ‘s’ thing.

Nonetheless, coming across stuff like this tickled me too, especially after reading so much literature written by Canadians and British writers, along with translated works written by individuals who neither wrote nor spoke American English. To my surprise, which at the time was no longer a surprise, others referred to American English as a sort of ‘knock off’ language.

In a way, this whole topic is kind of like two people looking at each other, pointing and laughing, “you look funny…” “no! You look funny.”

This brings me to the other day, coming across a book recommendation and reading the byline, ‘An Intimacy Triptych’. First thing I did was look up the word triptych; given my familiarity with the word intimacy, versus let’s say…intimate…and given my experiences with the sundry of English literature… and literacy… debacles.

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