Friday, April 8, 2011

H is for Hermione and Other Uncommon Mistakes

When I first began reading the Harry Potter series, I mispronounced Hermione's name in my head when I read. I pronounced it: 'Her' - 'me' - 'own'. When the film came out and the correct pronunciation was uttered, I was shocked.

It's similar to my experience with the phrase, "Up and Adam". Or should I say: 'Up and at 'em.' Because for the longest time, (I'm talking the first 18 years of my life) I thought 'Up and Adam' was a biblical reference. I thought it meant, 'be the first one to go for it'. And I realize, all of this can have very naughty connotations in that context, but I was thinking of it purely as a motivational thing. When I read the expression 'Up and at 'em' in a book, it nearly blew my mind.

When I was little and I sang 'The Star Spangled' banner, I used to sing about the 'dawnderly' light. I figured it was a word I didn't learn yet. A really hard word. Like an SAT word. I was singing it one day by myself and my mother stopped me: You mean dawn's early light? Well, gosh darn it, I guess I did.

It's funny how your mind can play tricks on you. Ever have an epiphany about a mispronounced word or saying?


  1. Lol. Billy Connolly does a funny routine about singing hymns at school without understanding what you're saying. He wondered about a holy teddy called Gladly, the cross-eyed bear.
    Moody Writing

  2. I used to think banal was pronounced bane-ul (like a b with the word "anal" on the end). But it's apparently bah-now (like canal with a b), which disappoints me. It sounds way less severe that way.

  3. I know J.K. Rowling said she put a part in Book 4 about how to pronounce Hermione's name 'cause so many people had it wrong - so don't beat yourlsef up too much : )

    As for me, I used to say "For all intensive purposes" before realizing "intensive" didn't make much sense. sigh.

  4. Too funny. I've done this with a lot of songs. I thought it was one way and then either saw the lyrics written out or heard someone else singing the right words. Glad I'm not alone! I'm stopping by from the "A to Z" challenge and I look forward to reading more from you.

  5. Haha, your "up and adam" made me think of Radioactive Man on the Simpsons - his catchphrase was meant to be "Up and ATOM" but he kept saying, in his heavy German accent, "Up and AT THEM!"

    I think the Star Spangled Banner just confused the heck outta me, but I remember Ramona Quimby wondering what sort of lamp a "dawnzerly" was.

    - allison writes

  6. I mispronounce SO many things in my head--Hermione was the same for me too. What a delightful blog!
    I'll be back for more...

  7. I did the same thing with Hermoine, and it was either the movies or the in the book when Ron whines her name phonetically at one point when I finally realized. In Middlesex, the girl's name is Calliope, which is Cal-LIE-oh-pee, and my friend who read the book discussed it w/ me as her name being Callie-ope. How would you know if you haven't heard it said aloud?

  8. um...

    Until recently, I thought the lyrics to Bad Moon on the Rise was
    ...bathroom's on the right...

  9. Hehehe there's a scientific term for replacing real words in a song/phrase with ones you believe to be correct.

    But I can't remember what it is.


  10. Hi Melissa .. the English language is full of oddities .. so no wonder - I still get lots wrong .. I decide it's pronounced one way - but actually it's another .. frustrating. Tongue twisting sometimes! I won't start because I won't finish!!

    Cheers - enjoy the weekend .. Hilary

  11. Oh what a delightful post, provoking hilarious comments.

    I was inspired, as a child, by this line in a hymn:

    'his first allowed in a tent (intent)
    to be a pilgrim'

    I was desperate to go camping and decided that this must be the way to do it - to be a pilgrim .... but firstly I needed to find out what a pilgrim was!

    I also went home one day announcing that we had to take 'fur coats and stale buns' to school and was distraught that we had none (in particular the fur coats). It turned out, upon enquiry, that it was 'fir cones and old buttons' ... to be used for counting,

    I loved each of the comments on this post and congratulations for your inspiration, Melissa!

  12. I used to pronounce "subtle" just like it's spelled sub tle until someone kindly told me to drop the "b" which I appreciated.

    One habit that I can't say I embrace is when a person quietly repeats a word with the correct pronounciation while the other person is talking.

  13. How funny! I enjoy listening to the way my little grandsons say things. They often get a little mixed up on pronunciations with comical results. It's certainly easy to do with song lyrics when they aren't completely clear.

  14. Gosh,yes!! Decapitated...rather than delapidated. I can't think of others just now but there have been many. Oh...foccocia bread I used to pronounce "fuck-a-see-ah"

  15. No that was suppose to say delapitated but spell check automatically corrected it...

  16. I used to mispronounce the name of the X-Men villain Magneto. I went for the short e instead of the long e whenever I said the name. Boy have I learned from that one! Happy to meet you via the A-Z Challenge.