This reminds me of how I always have to edit out the word “focus” from my talks because every time I pronounce it, it sounds like “fuck us.”

On the other hand, maybe I shouldn’t because it wakes people right up.

11 thoughts on “Focus

  1. ” I always have to edit out the word “focus” from my talks ”

    One of the funniest (to me) tells of Ukrainians in Poland is the word Pan (sir, Mr., gentleman etc). When Poles pronounce it it sounds almost exactly like the Spanish word pan, when Ukrainians say it the result sounds more like the English word pun.

    I have problems with the insane ć vs cz distinction and am liable to say ‘I’m combing my hair’ (czeszę się) when I mean ‘I’m glad’ (cieszę się) and my pronunciation… “I’m combing my hair that you got that scholarship!”.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ah Derrida. I remember being an impressionable undergrad and learning about him and Foucault. Speaking of the latter, I assume you saw the recent (though not new) revelations that he was probably a [word redacted]ophile?

    Also, related to language. I’m curious what you, as a speaker of other languages, thinks of this…?


    1. Re the link you posted, I chuckled. This is all very familiar and is more pronounced in some parts of the US (the Midwest, the South, West Coast) than others (people from East Coast/NE are very direct and widely considered rude). This communication style that relies on inference/implication takes some getting used to; it definitely did for me. I used to be told I was bellicose and always negative for simply stating what I meant rather than hinting and waiting for the hints to be interpreted, until I mastered the art of sugarcoating and obliqueness. It’s a mode of communication like any other. For those who grew up here (I’m in the Midwest) it’s natural, and it’s as efficient for information transmission as any other mode, but for those of us from Europe it can be disorienting. However, when in Rome, do as the Romans do; the locals aren’t going to adapt to me; it has to be the other way around.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hahaha, that made me laugh! Fuck us!
    Well, not as funny, but I spent my 1st semester talking about circuits, pronouncing the u in it. Only at the end of the semester did a student point it out. Arrgh!!!! Next semester I took a post-it with me to class every time. It took me the whole semester to get it right!!
    Let’s not talk about drive-throughs…I use to pronounce water the British way, and no one understood what the hell I was saying, and the American way sounded so weird, it took me ages to pronounce it right. Drive-throughs were stressful!!


    1. Americans pronounce ‘water’ differently?
      Now I’m sat here trying different pronunciations of water.


      1. “Americans pronounce ‘water’ differently?”

        Most Americans pronounce t and d in the middle of a word the same way (so that latter and ladder sound the same). Most British speakers pronounce with a t rather than the merged t-d sound (or as a quick break in the voice).
        Also, British standard usage (generally taught in Europe and some other places) doesn’t pronounce the r at the end of the word.
        I’m not sure what the first vowel is in British usage but many Americans (like me) pronounce cot and caught in the same way while most British people don’t so that’s another potential difference.


  4. “This reminds me of how I always have to edit out the word “focus” from my talks because every time I pronounce it, it sounds like “fuck us.””

    LOL Speaking of focus (FOE-cus versus FUCK-us): My husband pronounces COVID as CUH-vid instead of COE-vid. It’s hilarious. Kids and I’ve tried to gently correct him, but it’s not sticking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My kid is trying to help me learn the difference between shirts and shorts but it’s not sticking. I kind of vaguely hear the difference when she says it but I can’t reproduce it.

      Well, at least I reproduced myself and got her.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I knew a sweet older Brazilian lady once: she had the most awful time with the English long e sound– it was more like a short i when she said it, which led to awkward statements about “going to the bitch” and “changing the shits”. She worked so hard on getting it right– not sure if she ever conquered that one, though.


        1. God, I know! I have to do this quasi-Southern pronunciation of “shiii-yets” to stop saying “shits.”

          The vowels will be the end of me.


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