SINGAPORE: When a Reddit user listed the most commonly mispronounced words in the country, his post received over 600 comments from netizens who were only too happy to chime in.
u/iluj13’s original post on r/askSingapore on Monday (Sept 25) had the following four words:
“Sword – should be pronounced “Sord” (silent w)
Debt – should be pronounced “Det” (silent b)
Salmon – should be pronounced “Saa men” (silent L)
Do add on any other common ones you find in Sg.”
And, as Reddit users contributed to the list, he added to his post.
Tuition: “Tyoo i shn” (not Diu-tion)
Colleague: “Ko leeg” (not ker-leek)
Wednesday: “Wenz day” (not wed-nes-day)
Lettuce: “Leh tuhs” (not Ler tuse)
Flour: “Flau-uh” like Flower (not flor)
Steak: “Stake” (not steek)
Vegetable – “vej tuh bl” (not Veg E Ta Ble)
Algae: “Al-gee” (not El gay)
Liaise: “Lee ayz” (not lie ayz)
Purchase: “pur chuhs” (not pur-Chase)
Primary: “Prai-muh-ree” (not Prem-Ree or Prembaree)
Their: “There” (not Dee-R)
Twelve: “Twelv” (not chelve)
Children: ““chil druhn” (not Chew Ren)
Abalone: “A buh low nee” (not A Ba Lon)
Vomit : “Vorh miht” (not wor mit)
Schedule: “Sheh jool” (not Scar Due)
Awry: “uh rai” (not Orr Ri)
Receipt: “Ruh-seet” (not ree ceep)
Cement: “Suh-ment” (not see ment)
Divorce : “dee vors” (not Die Vorce)
Yacht: “Yot” (not yakk or yard)
Extraordinary: “ex-TRAW-dinary” (not EXTRA-ordinary)
Lingerie: “laan zhr ay”
Japanese – “ja puh neez” (not Jeer penis)
Library: “lai breh ree” (not Lie Bree)
Presentation: “preh zuhn tay shn” (not PREE-ZENT tay shn)
One Reddit user said that he was surprised no one said “three,” which is sometimes pronounced as “Tree,” “cui,” or even “chree.”
Some people say, “Chwee. Also Chwelf,” another added.
However, others quickly chimed in that it’s not only Singaporeans who have a hard time differentiating between “three” and “tree” since even the Irish do it.
And some people in the UK pronounce the word as “free,” another added, writing, “Turns out that the th sound is also difficult for native English speakers!”
Another commenter, however, wrote, “I don’t think mispronounciations are that big a deal – in the end, as long as everyone understands each other it’s all good – BUUUUT I really struggle with the lack of enunciation sometimes. Whole syllables are dropped, and it sounds… clipped.
Been here long enough to now understand, and I have picked up some of it too (I now say “hard” as “haat” with a much lesser stress on the ‘d’), but every once in a while, I have to get people to repeat things a coupla times.
A friend recently pronounced ‘water bottle’ as “wuthe bothe”, and I took a hot minute before it clicked.” /TISG