It’s kind of sad to look back on my early career and realize that I spent more than my fair share of years mispronouncing all sorts of common words without ever being corrected. I’m not talking about oddities such as quay (ki) or gauge (ei). It’s really the everyday subtleties (baSic or baZic?) that I wish people had drawn my attention to when I was starting out.
I can still remember, for example, my otherwise great COTE feedback sessions in the early 90s and how I would yearn for that piece of language feedback that never came. For quite a long time, all I wanted was for a more capable peer (in the Vygotskian sense of the word – Natalia, thanks for the heads up!) to break the news, for instance, that the stress in admirable fell in the first syllable or that the s in increase sounded like /s/ rather than /z/.
Well, years went by and, luckily, I found alternative ways to get the sort of language improvement that I still needed to bolster my budding career. This morning, in the shower, it hit me that some of my readers might feel the same way.
So here’s my first (and possibly last – I need to gauge people’s reaction) test your English post. And today’s question is:
Which of the words below would you normally pronounce as /s/ rather than /z/?
BASIC / BASICALLY
Ready for the answers?
INCREASE (noun) / INCREASE (verb) / USE (noun) / CLOSE (adjective) / EXCUSE (noun) / BASIC / BASICALLY / PARADISE (though for many years I could’ve sworn Barry Manilow’s 1984 foray into Jazz was called ParadiZe Café) / RESOURCE (American English – the Brits say Z) / LOOSE / MISUNDERSTANDING
USE (verb) / CLOSE (verb) / EXCUSE (verb) / RESORT (verb) / RESORT (noun) / LOSE / DISSOLVE
Thanks for reading.