How You Say
Last night, talking with Jess, I said something about nihilism. I said it ‘nee-hilism’, which prompted her to say, “I thought that was nye-hilism”. According to Google, both of us are correct, which Jess found wildly disappointing: “Now how is one of us going to lord it over the other?”
So it seemed apropos, later that evening, when I discovered both Pronunciation Book and Pronounciation Manual.
The first teaches non-native speakers how to pronounce tricky-looking English words:
The second, while visually indistinguishable, teaches non-native speakers how to butcher those words in hugely embarrassing ways.
Given my own history of pranks (cf.), I must admit this made me laugh to the point of nearly wetting myself. And, like any good prank, it also made me think. Given that we rely ever-more on the Internet as a source of definitive information – on anything from pronunciations to legal and medical matters – it’s more than a bit surprising how little we worry about separating the truthy from the actually true.