Friday, June 24, 2011

Salmon, film, lingerie, and Les Misérables

I was editing my previous post (even editors make mistakes), when I got to thinking about the word salmon. Growing up, we (I think it was we; maybe it was only me) pronounced the letter l in salmon. We said sal-mon, not sa-mon. I still have a hard time not saying sal-mon. I guess I notice it more now since I see it a lot on menus or at the grocery store. And every now and then I order or buy some. Don't think I ever saw salmon in the grocery store in Lamesa, Texas, back in the day. There weren't many opportunities, much less  any reason, to go around saying, sal-mon.

In about the fifth grade, I remember being laughed at and teased (still to this day) by my brothers and sisters for pronouncing the word film as thilm. I don't know where I got the idea that it was pronounced that way. I remember being adamant about my pronunciation; I was a smart student. What did they know? :-)

I also remember thinking when I saw the word lingerie in the department store that it was pronounced just the way it looks: lynge-er-ee. I don't remember when I learned that it was a French word and was pronounced, lahn-zuh-ray.

In about the fourth grade, I read Les Misérables (an abridged children's version). It's a wonderful novel by Victor Hugo; I should read the unabridged version. We saw the Broadway show when we lived in Memphis. But, the whole time I was reading it, in my head, I pronounced the protagonist's name, Jean Valjean,  the way you would pronounce my middle name, Jean. Not Jahn Vahljahn. I went through that entire book reading to my self, Jeen Valjeen, thinking — here's a man with my name!

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