Category Archives: language

WTF: Pronunciation Help

Growing up to be a Champion for Freedom and Justice is a long, hard road. Obviously, people look at me and they see the chiselled jaw, the icy stare, the muscular ease with which I dual-wield the swords of Truth and Beauty. What they don’t see is the many years of training and schooling it has taken to become….well, the personification of an ideal, let’s be honest.

One of the many weapons in my armoury is the concise and eloquent use of language. I’ll admit, English Language was not my best subject. If I stumbled over the pronuncation of a particularly cumbersome word, I was “invited” to improve by running ten laps of the moat in full armour. But enough about my schooldays.

By “pronunciation help”, I mean the text they put in dictionaries after the word so that you know how to pronounce the word properly. By way of an example, I give you “koʊpərˈnɪsiəm”1 2.

So, to analyse. How do you pronounce “upside-down-omega”? How about “upside-down-e”? What about “small-capital-I”? To show how useless this is, here is the actual text from the Wikipedia entry for Copernicium:

Copernicium (pronounced /koʊpərˈnɪsiəm/ koe-pər-NIS-ee-əm, with the first C hard and the second soft)

So, immediately after the supposedly universally-understood pronunication runes, they’ve had to spell it out phonetically and follow that up with further instructions in plain language.

In order to use these runes, most normal people who aren’t mystically imbued with the ability to parse runes would have to step through the word, syllable by syllable, using some glowing, arcane tome with metal hinges and pages made from thinly sliced first-born child and lex it back into a noise they can utter.

I’ve a good mind to write a book entirely in runes and watch it catastrophically NOT sell just to prove my point.

1 The above is the pronunication guide for “Copernicium”, the name for Element 112 (which previously regaled under the moniker “Ununbium”).

2 Turns out these runes are part of the International Phonic Alphabet