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Tuesday, August 07, 2018


Until recently, I've always heard the word BETA pronounced bay-ta. Lately, though, I've been hearing two other pronunciations: beet-ah and bet-ah.

At first, it was only one or two people, so I figured they were saying it wrong. Then it seemed as if everyone I heard using the word said it differently than my bay-ta pronunciation. I never automatically assume I'm correct on how to say a word because I've had a couple of lessons in this over the years. My reading vocabulary is large because of all the books I've read in my life, but there are words I've literally never heard spoken before. When I've tried to use a couple of them, I learned I had them wrong.

First up, and the most embarrassing, was FACADE. I pronounced it fay-kade. That's not even close to correct. The way to say it is fuh-sahd. I was laughed at for how I said it. But I literally had never heard it spoken aloud before and that was how I worked it out as I read it.

Second was the denouement incident. I said it day-nou-ment. It's pronounced dey-noo-mahn. I actually said this at work. One of my guys turns around in his seat and says, "Did you mean dey-noo-mahn?" Yes, yes, I did. Again, another word I'd never heard spoken before.

So when I started to hear pretty much everyone not saying bay-ta as I always had, I headed over to the online dictionary to find out if I'd been embarrassing myself all my life and no one had bothered to correct me. It was a relief to discover that I was saying it correctly! In American pronunciation, it is bay-ta! British pronunciation is beet-ah. I have no clue where bet-ah is coming from unless it's someone having a facade moment. :-)