I'm not much for watching TV, but I almost always have the radio playing. Usually I have it set to a Public Radio International station, but occasionally I do some dial spinning; top 40, oldies, hard rock, "classic" rock, country-western -- whatever catches my ear at the time. Since I don't normally listen to commercial radio, and since words are my stock in trade, once in awhile an ad jabs my ear and I listen to it.

        I gotta tell ya, folks, radio advertizing is murderlating the langitch.

        Much radio advertising, even for local companies, comes from far-away places where nobody pays much attention to the proper pronunciation of place names. Oh well. I'm used to hearing ads that mispronounce, for example, the Philadelphia suburb Trevose (TREE-vose) as Tre-VOSE (just like it's spelled), or Downingtown (just like it's spelled) as DOWN-ing-TUN. Hey, recently a tourist asked me for directions to the Reading (RED-ing) Market -- she pronounced it REED-ing. No problem, except I don't understand why local companies who contract with someone halfway across the country to tape an ad don't make sure the actors and producers have the correct pronounciation. Makes them sound like disinterested absentee landlords.

        But lately ads have been giving bizarre pronunciations to common words. It's enough to make me wonder where advertizing companies find non-English speakers who have such excellent American accents, but don't know how to pronounce the words. The Sloman Shield ("Let us alarm you." I'm surprised that such a blatantly manipulative catch-phrase hasn't backfired on them) first brought it to my attention. They added a syllable to "burglarize," (burg-lar-ize) making it burg-er-lar-ize. Cadillac must be going after a market of uneducated hoods who made too much money. A current ad pronounces "luxurious" as "luxury-us."

        Advertisers aren't the only offenders. Earlier this year I heard a PRI DJ (most of them prefer to be called "announcers") use the word "oh-maajh." I puzzled over it for a moment before I realized she meant "homage." Oh-maajh? Gimme a break! Maybe they say it that way in France, but this is America and we speak an altogether different language.

        Want more examples? Listen to the radio, it's murderlating the langitch, folks.

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