Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Apparently, writing words doesn’t equal saying them.

I’ll admit, I’m a thesaurus addict. When I’m writing I love to use the thesaurus to find even better or stronger or weaker, even, words to describe something. The smallest differences between words can create the largest differences between visions for me. It also helps build a huge vocabulary.


There’s a difference between knowing words and knowing how to say them, as I’ve found out. Multiple times. At one point I was reading aloud a section of Rain at BookFest PA and I got to the word “beige.” In my mind I read it as beejsh—you know, with jsh being the J sound in Jaques. (And I got that part right.)

“…a beige dress…” I read, and a motion caught my eye. It was my friend Katie, shaking her head and giving me a weird look. I spared her a look of my own before finishing the reading. After I was done and back at my table, she came over with her arms crossed.

Beejsh?” she demanded.

“Um,” I said, “yes?”

She pursed her lips. “It’s bayjsh.”

“Oh,” I said. She shook her head again, and went on to grumble about past pronunciation offenses I’ve committed, which include “botanic” and “queue.”

The moral of this semi-rambling story: thesauruses are great. But look up a pronunciation before you actually say your new words.