Friday, 9 March 2012

Funny words

When I caught the wrong bus on Wednesday 7 March, I was intending to get off at the cemetery stop.

This prompted remembrance of childhood fascination with words. Why did we bury people at a semi-tree?

And why were people called human beans? Were they related to baked beans?

I still have to think before saying the word "gesture". As a joke my father used to pronounce it with a hard g. How was I to know that was wrong?

I read avidly as a child and would sometimes bleep over words I didn't understand, knowing I would start to see them everywhere and would work them out from context. Or eventually I'd reach for the dictionary if it was too much of a distraction.

It meant sometimes I knew a word, but not the correct pronunciation, which could last for many years.

The director of a play I appeared in about 12 years ago complemented me on my first rendition of the speech that was to open the play, but had to tell me where to put the stress on "plethora".

There is a word that continues to sound strange to me. Whenever I say it I feel I must have swapped the consonants over, even when I haven't: car park.

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