A meaning of a word ruined by mispronunciation
A meaning of a word can be completely changed by wrong pronunciation and that’s why a lot of English humour is based on mispronunciation.
If you pronounce a word incorrectly it can change the meaning into something which is incredibly funny or just the way you say it may be quite amusing.
There are many words in English which are commonly mispronounced. Take a look at these:
Here is a funny clip which features the word message pronounced as massage:
The scene is amusing because the guest asks for a message but he says massage. His pronunciation is very bad so he does not know what he has said. The receptionist understands that he wants a massage and offers to arrange one. It is very funny because both people understand the conversation is about different subjects.
It’s a good idea to work on pronouncing similar sounding words. Below is a list of commonly mispronounced minimal pairs. These are words that only have one sound which is different between them:
A meaning of a word changed by one sound
Bat – Bet
Cash – Catch
Cat – Cut
Den – Then
Fair – Four
Grammar – Glamour
Hat – Hate
Pill – Bill
Poured – Bored
Rice – Rise
Ring – Rink
Sank – Thank
She – Sea
Ship – Sheep
True – Through
Wet – Vet
Work – Walk
…and some common rude ones from the classroom
piece (of paper) – piss
sheet (of paper) – shit
Now, imagine you are in a restaurant and when you finish eating you say “Excuse me, can I have the pill please?”.
What would your friend say if you told them that “I am going to France on a sheep”
…or even that “The Titanic was a big sheep that thank in the she”
It’s not easy to improve your pronunciation, but it’s worth the effort , hard wok and concentration. Here’s a pronunciation class where a French man is trying to learn the English RP (Received Pronunciation) accent… not very successfully!