daily prompt

Eh peh tohm?

55215fc4d0ed694c31ae7497132ffd92Epitome is one of those words that I’d read but never heard (like genre) so I pronounced wrong for ages.. just like the title eh-peh-tohm… not ih-pit-uh-mee.  I mean, how was I supposed to get ih-pituh-mee from those letters by just reading them? That’s not how English works.  If there’s an /e/ at the end, then the vowel before the preceding consonant is usually long, right? so tohm.  and pit is pit but the /t/ was for tohm so peh  and eh because ee peh tohm would have sounded silly.

It’s also one of those words I had to figure out what it meant by the context of the sentence because we didn’t have the internet back then, nor did we have the handy dictionary feature of ebook readers (which I LOVE by the way), and I didn’t have access to a dictionary at the time. So I kinda/sorta knew what it meant, but missed the mark by a fraction. “She was the epitome of grace and style” was the sentence — or something close to it, then it went on to describe her grace and style. So I though it meant something like “top” or “best”.

But there are a lot of words out there like epitome that I learned later I was saying wrong because I’d read them and never heard them. But that’s okay. At least I knew of them. And that’s kind of what counts, right? ^_^

 

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9 thoughts on “Eh peh tohm?

  1. When I was younger, and even now still – people make fun of my pronunciation, and I feel this quote really does me justice.
    My vocabulary largely did come from books, and my parents were really never in a position to help me as English Second Language refugees.
    Their English was never polished, and I learnt half of it from them.
    Make fun of our English as you will, but I think we’ve done well considering we had more obstacles to our learning than the average English speaker.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Well surprisingly I am technically an esl but I’m in the strange position where I’m only fluent in English.
        When I was in kinder, in an effort to fit in, I simply ‘forgot’ how to speak my first tongue

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        • Sadly that happens to a lot of second generation citizens. Language, the study of language, and how we learn languages are all of interest to me, and I studied that phenomena for a bit. However! Studies have shown that if you ever knew your native language as a child, you can relearn it if you want to recapture it because you retain the memories… You won’t pick it up in a day or week, but it would be way easier than learning a completely new language.

          Unfortunately for me, I have a learning disorder that almost completely prevents me from learning a new language so I can only study *about* language and not actually learn a new one. Unless I were dropped in a completely new country and had to fend for myself then I might pick up a word or two… ^_^

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          • Oh wow. Maybe I’ll try to relearn then. My vocabulary is still there because I can still understand people, I just have extreme difficulty trying to be understood.
            I guess I do have it better and I really should use the opportunity I have 🙂
            Why did you study it may I ask?

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            • It’s just always been fascinating to me, the study of language and how people communicate. There are over 6,000 languages in the world, and sometimes that’s mind boggling. I mean, think of just the USA, all of the accents, the dialects, and how even our English has changed even in my lifetime. To me, it’s just fascinating. And that’s just one of more than 6,000 languages.

              But sadly, because things change, they also go extinct. Languages die, and sometimes it’s because children don’t learn the language of their parents — for many reasons. It was when I was studying language death that I came across the second generation phenomena. It doesn’t just happen here in the US, but anywhere where there’s a large number of immigrants.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Well. . Language death here in Australia is perhaps the most depressing thing to study. .especially when you consider the geopolitical history behind it.
              Thanks for that. Was a super interesting conversation! Have a goodnight!

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            • Most languages die because of politics and suppression. Many of the Native American tribes in the Americas lost their languages due to the suppression by the European settlers and displacement of their ancestors. I know a few are trying to reclaim their language, some in South American, some in Canada, and a few here in the USA, but far too many are gone for good because there’s just not enough record of the language left for anyone to recreate it. But, that’s just the way life goes… the old makes way for the new. It’s not always good and just, but it will always happen.

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