Mispronouncing Words

“I the Lord do not change.  So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.  Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them.  Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.

  • Malachi 3:6-7

When Jeff Foxworthy hosted “Are you Smarter than a 5th grader?,” they had a young male 5th grader on the show named “Malachi,” and spelled just like the prophet.  I looked at the name attached to his desk and wondered, “What a strange name!  How do you pronounce it?  Mah-Latch-Eeee!”  I even said that out loud, and my wife shouted, “Don’t be stupid!  There is a book in the Bible with the same name!!!”

Of course, she uses a mispronunciation that a co-worker used, back years ago.  Because of her medical issues, she must take acetaminophen if she has a headache or other pain.  The most noted brand name is Tylenol™, but she has mimicked her friend so often that she recently corrected me in saying, “It is not Tylenol™.  That is saying it wrong.  It is ‘Ty-nol.’”  The incorrect has replaced the correct.

I cannot remember which of our boys mispronounced a frozen treat or if they heard someone else say it, but in our home, we ask for a “fudgicle” instead of a Fudgesicle™.

The master of playing around with words…  Okay, I have given it a great deal of thought, and I have come to the contusion that Norm Crosby was the master of malaprops, many by mispronouncing the correct word and saying something that makes no sense.  And yes, I should have said conclusion, or even collusion, but when I listen to Norm Crosby a lot, and then think about what he said, it hurts.  Thus, I came to a contusion.

Before you watch this video, I want to apologize to all who have English as a second, third, or fourth language.  It is hard enough to learn English, but then have someone, on purpose, use incorrect words that almost sound right, but they are not, just to be funny.  I think Norm Crosby was hilarious, but then again, I barely know English and would be lost with any other language.

And thinking of collusions, I think that Norm Crosby helped the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in making their road signs. On the highway between Beijing and Tangshan, a divided highway with several lanes in each direction, there is a sign in Chinese and English, a common highway warning sign. The English warning read, “Do not stop on road, may cause collusion.” And in making several trips to that country, I know this. There is one thing that the CCP would never tolerate, and that is any unwanted collusions.

But back to mispronounced words, my mother used to call Listerine™ “Listrin.”  And when we told her once that we were going halfway home between Mississippi and Pennsylvania to Elizabethtown, KY, for an overnight stop, she made us practice saying “Elizabethton” as in the Elizabethton Era.  You know, so that we did not offend the people of the town by mispronouncing the name of the town.  Once we arrived, I asked the check-in person at the motel whether the town pronounced its name Elizabethtown or Elizabethton, and she said, “Are you crazy?  They aren’t even spelled the same way?!”  Praise the Lord that the check-in person could spell.

All contusions aside, I could listen to Norm Crosby for hours.  Okay, maybe not that long.  After a while you really do get a contusion.

Malaprops and mispronounced words are fun, if not used to ridicule the person who pronounced the word incorrectly.  But the Scripture above talks of God’s love for us and our straying from God’s commands.  In this case, the people were not giving their tithe, but it could be anything that is not the proper thing.

We think we are so smart.  We misinterpret God’s Word, or we ignore it altogether, even in our churches.  We argue over whether God really meant that or did He mean it that way, all as an excuse to ignore what God said. And then we wonder why so much calamity befalls us.

I have been saying this a lot lately, but we need to repent.  Go back and read the Bible carefully, not leaving anything out, especially when we get to the parts that we have ignored.  Let us be like king Josiah in 2 Kings 22, when they found the Law, Josiah repented and called for the nation of Judah to repent, because they were not being faithful to the entirety of God’s Word.

We can stumble over the pronunciation of Biblical names, but let us follow God’s teaching.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.


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  1. I was thinking the other day about how those of us born and bred in the South always poke the word “the” in front of so many places and things— it’s not wal-mart— it’s ‘the’ wal-mat., it’s ‘the’ Kroger, it’s ‘the’ covid—- I’ve come to the conclusion that we English speakers come up with our words on the fly!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What gets me is how eventually the way words are said are easily adapted into our language and accepted by the masses. Protection becomes pertekkshun – provision becomes pervision – profession is now a perfession. Ugh!!

    Liked by 2 people

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