Smart Speech

I want you to sound your best when speaking in public!

Today I want to make a few points regarding words that are commonly mispronounced.   I was at a Toastmasters meeting tonight and one of the speakers was one of the best storytellers I've seen in quite some time.  It was hard to believe she was on her first speech!  She had a great slow pace, something I struggle with regularly as a fast talker.  But then, she said..... dun dun dun.....  FUSSTRATED.... and then she said it TWICE in one speech.  And I was so distracted by that, I not only lost track of the story, but the funny parts became less amusing to me.   She is already a wonderful speaker and with correct pronunciation, can hit it out of the park!


The word is FRUSTRATED.  There are two Rs, they are not silent.  Practice it slowly.  Frrrrrrruuuussss trrrraaatttteedd.

I've also heard FLUstrated.  Another non existent word.  Perhaps people saying this mean FLUSTERED, and combine that with FRUSTRATED to come up with flustrated, but remember



Practice them slowly, out loud, a few times.
Ask a few people you trust to help alert you to any words you might be mispronouncing.  Ask beyond just your family and friends, because you may have learned the mispronunciation from them, and it's possible they don't know they are doing it, and can't "hear" the difference.


ASK.  The word is ASK.  The S comes before the K.    It's not AKS it's not AX, nor AXE.   You are requesting something of someone, not killing them (we hope.)  This is one I hear regularly.  To me, the weirdest thing is even recently I heard someone say, slowly, " need to ASK him the question, and so I was like fine I'll axe him!"   The same person, in the same sentence, switched from ask to axe.... so it's not a lack of ability...  they did seem to be slowly pronouncing  the original ASK....  I've heard it from Big Ang's husband... I believe he has a New York accent, perhaps it's more common in that dialect, but I've heard it all around the country.  I once asked someone why they chose to say axe instead of ask, and I thought they'd have some logical reason for it.  Turns out, they did not know they were doing it!  I was so surprised!  They couldn't seem to "hear" the difference!   And they didn't seem to be interested in correcting it once brought to their attention.  But it's another one of those words that once uttered, is distracting for the listener, and their perception of the speaker's intelligence gets lower with every incident uttered.     Along the lines of the same sound,  there is no X in ESPRESSO, nor ESCAPE.   Again, practice slowly until it gets into your muscle memory:   Ehhhh SSSSSSS preeeessooo      

Ehhh   sssssss   caaaaapppeee  


Nuclear.    NEW   KLEE   ER    If you actually just say it quite slowly     Nu....CLEAR, you'll get it right.  But it is most certainly not  New kyeh ler.  Thankfully it's not a word that comes up too often, but when it does, you probably want to be taken seriously.  I can't remember the last time I heard a joke about nuclear anything.... We had a president that unfortunately pronounced it the wrong way.  People referred to him as a monkey.  Why his speech writers and image coaches didn't correct this I know not, but it certainly helped those so inclined to make fun of him.  


*Disclaimer, I am not an English major, and I regularly make up words for the sake of humor but try to delineate with "  "    or some comedic emphasis, and usually try not to make it too close to a word that exists, such that it would seem  I have just mistaken a word.   I don't use perfect grammar, but compared to what I see regularly used online, the skills remain at an above average level.