You Say Tomato, I Say Tomahto

tomato
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Updated 9/29 3:10 p.m. (Click for the latest)

For each of us, there exists at least one word that when mispronounced causes us to cringe and grit our teeth.

For Bob Ray from Longmont, CO, it's the word "homage":

Could you send a memo to everyone who has access to a microphone with the correct pronunciation of "homage?" In spite of its French origins, and to many NPR reporters' chagrin, it does NOT rhyme with the French word for cheese: "fromage." Every time I hear someone pronounce it in faux French on NPR, it strikes me as pretentious, yet ignorant. See: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/homage

A recent story about TV's nostalgia for the 1960s included the word. We listened to the story and to the example on Merriam-Webster. The difference wasn't notable to us, but hey, it was obviously irritating for one listener.

Are there words you think NPR reporters and hosts regularly mispronounce? Share them with us. Specific examples will help us out when we look into your complaints.

Updated 9/29 3:10 p.m.

More on pronunciation from NPR librarian Kee Malesky:

NPR has two preferred dictionaries that we consult — the Webster's New World College Dictionary and the Random House Webster's Unabridged. Merriam Webster, which you cited, is not one of our dictionaries-of-choice.

In addition to these dictionaries we have some other excellent resources: Bollard's Pronouncing Dictionary of Proper Names; the Columbia Gazetteer; and the pronunciation guides of the Associated Press and VOA (http://names.voa.gov/).

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