Good Grief! Could you please Check your privilege?

Not everyone has access to the nicer schools that teach four years of Latin, or the multicultural exposure that would give you an understanding of the correct pronunciation of Irish and Indian names.

The pronunciation of words is not common across the world there are valid differences in the way certain letters are pronounced, and which syllables are stressed. What a British person speaking the so-called Queen’s English would pronounce OPP-o-sit (opposite), a New Yorker would pronounce “AH-poh-sit” and an Indian non-native speaker would pronounce “o-PO-sit”.

Carry-Okey and Kara-tea are pronunciations used solely by US English speakers in my experience.

Loan words are always subject to changes in pronunciation. That’s why we say “al-co-hol” and not al-kuh-l; “aa-va-tar” and not “av-taar”; “coir” and not “kai-eer” .

The correct pronunciation of foreign words while speaking in English has been a classist gimmick since the early 20th century. Privileged British and US people used appropriate French pronunciation to hint at their stints in exclusive French schools, or their summer homes on the Riviera. This is something that we find a lot in India too. There are talented people who write English beautifully because they are very well-read, but when they speak with their heavy regional accents, they are written off. This Language classicism — especially around pronunciation — must stop.

Oh, and the most mispronounced word probably is Envelope.

I am a writer, corporate ethics specialist, film photographer, and investor based in Hyderabad, India.

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