Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I'm Probably the Weird One

How do you say coupon?

Because I’m starting to think I’ve been saying it wrong my whole life.

Of course, my accent is pretty messed up. See, I grew up in Oklahoma, but I also lived in England for five years. So, while I used to have a bit of a twang (not much, but a bit), I also picked up a lot of words, phrases, and intonations from my British friends.  I've been back in the US for nearly 15 years (my word, has it been that long?) and at this point I mostly have a pretty generic, non-region-specific American accent, but every once in a while something else sneaks in there and throws my speech patterns for a total loop.

So I'm conducting an informal poll, mostly for my own entertainment.

Do you pronounce leisure as "lee-zhure" or "leh-zhure"?  How about apricot?  "Ape-ricot" or "app-ricot"?  Is Missouri pronounced "miz-ur-ee" or "mah-zur-uh"?  How about Nevada?  "Ne-vah-da" or "ne-vaa-da"?

I remember having discussions like this around the lunch table in high school.  We were a diverse group, mostly Americans, but from all over the country.  It got rather lively at times.

There’s really no point to this post, except that I’ve noticed lately that everyone around me is talking about this “couponing” craze, but they’re not “cue-poning”, they’re “coo-poning”, and I'd like to know who's weird, them or me.


  1. It's cue-pon, I am positive- then again I am mocked (gently) for my pronunciation of tomayto.
    This from people who call the item that slides out of a desk a "draw". Seriously- a "draw"- not only is pronounced that way (totally understandable) but they write it too. Although when I am checking their procedures they don't- I insist upon the additional er

  2. I agree with the cue-pon.

    Also it seems to me that the only people that say Ne-vah-da are from the East coast. Everyone I know from NV pronounces it Ne-vaa-da and I think they get dibs.

    Oh, and your weirdness has little to do with your pronunciation habits. :)

  3. Well apparently I'm weird because I say it coo-poning. But I've heard a lot of people say cue-poning, especially since I moved to Idaho. It feels so wrong to me to say cue-poning. Actually, I'm a nerd and just looked it up on dictionary.com and they say you pronounce it "koo-pon-ing". So, to just not step on anyone's toes I have decided to not say the word and spell it instead in my normal conversation. Does that make me more weird?? :)

  4. Allison, as we say in NE, 'you coo!' I find it more work to say Queue-pons, so I don't. And just to back up my stance, according to Websters: Etymology: French, from Old French, piece, from couper to cut.
    The French would NEVER say Kew to that spelling, now would they?

  5. Whenever it comes down to them or you..its always them. (Thats what I tell myself) You know what was the hardest word pronunciation issue I ever had? It was the group "Salt and Pepa"..I could NOT bring myself to "Pepa"..I felt like a lame wanna be. So I always was like "umm..Salt and Pepper?".. Boy, was I glad when they broke up!

  6. Coo-pon, ape-ricot, lee-zhure. Anyone, not from the UK, who pronounces them differently is just trying to be hoity-toity.

    As far as states go, I think those who live in the state should have precedence on how it's pronounced. It's not Ne-vah-da. No one around here says it that way. If they do say it that way they are either misinformed or (see previous paragraph concerning hoity-toity).

    The only exception comes from states where the accent is so bad that the native's pronunciation can't be relied on. (Example: "Nawlns" for New Orleans.)

    As for as Missouri goes, I'm pretty sure it's pronounced "Misery". Just ask Danny and Rachel.

  7. Allison-
    Here are my votes-
    lee-zhure, app-ricot, miz-ur-ee (although my relatives that live in Missouri pronounce it the other way), ne-va-da, and cue-poning.

    I also think its more of a generation thing than accent or dialect. Younger generations keep getting lazier with our speech!

  8. Take your situation and throw in 2 years of fluent Spanish. To quote Will Ferrell in Zoolander, I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

    I just asked Rebecca about coupons just a week or two ago! We think it's cue-pon, but to me it's like a lot of things like that are interchangeable. At least with Spanish all of the vowels always have one sound.

    My votes are for miz-UR-ee, APE-ricot, ne-VAA-da. And from what I remember, LEE-zhur is the American way, but I honestly prefer LEH-shur. LEH-zhur is far easier to say; that soft E comes out with less effort than the hard E. It seems ironic that the way I'm supposed to pronounce a word meaning "use of free time for enjoyment" takes more effort to actually say.

    Lately I've been freaking out that I'm developing an accent of some sort. How does everyone here say the words "for" and "your"? Do you say "FOUR" or "FER," or some kind of variation of both, or does it depend on sentence context??? Oh man...

  9. I didn't read much of the other posts until after I posted my previous post... Geez. Let's just pronounce it k'PAWN.

    And I agree with 'Russ and Em,' your weirdness has little to do with your pronunciation habits. Ha!

  10. Rob's SIL here (favorite one at that :). I definitely say koo-pon. Another word I totally hear pronounced differently is Boise. I cringe when I hear Boy-zee instead of Boy-see.

    But none of these pronunciations annoy me nearly as much as the use of two negatives together ...

  11. Yay for publicity! Love you, little bro! And hi there, everyone who reads his blog!

    And hi to people who've never commented before (I'm looking at you, Tod and Emily) - thanks for reading my blog!

    Okay, so it sounds like maybe I'm not nuts for saying cue-pon. I feel better now.

    Carrie, it may make me hoity-toity, but, like Robbie, I say "leh-zhure". It just sounds better to me. And a little tiny bit of hoity-toity never hurt anyone :)

    Robbie, I say "fer" most of the time; maybe that's a throwback from the Okie days, who knows. And "yer". Sheees, I feel like a hick actually typing it that way, though. And I have a good friend here who's from England, and I find my pronunciations are always being refined when I'm around her. Instead of saying to one of the girls, "Whaddo you wanna play with now?" I find myself enunciating very carefully and saying instead, "What would you like to play with now?" Being friends with a Brit is good for me.

    Anyone who wants to chime in is still welcome to - I don't know why words fascinate me the way they do, but this is fun.

  12. Yes, please talk to your brother about openings. And we are not opposed to getting out of Utah, so if you see anything in your neck of the woods, let us know!

    Also, I pronounce the words you mentioned how your wrote them first. In every example, I say it the first way, in case you were wondering. But I was born and raised in the west.....

  13. It's okay for you to be a little hoity-toity. You lived in England for 5 years.

    I think coupon can be pronounced either way, just like "cool".

  14. After three years in Japan, I learned a lot about how we speak english, and realised most regional accents in english- are based on vowel shifts- yes there are a few consanant issues, but they tend to link with the vowel next to them- like the boston R.
    The japanese on the other hand ALWAYS pronounce the vowel the same way, the accents come from the consanant changes. makes japanese easy to learn ( once you get over the whole new alphabets problem, but there are some very dangerous places. For example the japanese word for housewife is "shufu". If you slide that one u into an o (which is very common in English) and call someone (or their mother) a shofu, you are going to be in a world of trouble. It doesn't help that the two sounds are very close in English- the o from "koko" and the l from "lulu".
    Anyway "vive la difference" otherwise we would all sound like robots and have south californian accents(the dominant entertainment accent")

  15. I say koo-pon, but my grandma says Q-pun.

    *mah-zur-uh (cause I know that's how they say it)

    I like accents too. You'd like the linguistics class I took. We talked a lot about this kind of stuff. I was one of the few in the class who enjoyed it.

  16. It's them, it's cue-poning! Weirdos!!!


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