Why do English-speaking children mispronounce “spaghetti” as “pasketti”?

At first glance, this might seem like a very stupid question, and in full honesty, it is. But get this. In Norwegian, spaghetti is the same word, and I don’t remember ever hearing any child ever say pasketti, or similar. However, Norwegian children are not better. I personally mispronounced Støvler (boots) as Stølver, and Klovn … Read more

words pronounced with their letters reversed

Why are some words pronounced as though their letters were reversed? For example, why is bible pronounced “buy-bel” and not “bib-lee”, or Favre pronounced “far-vuh” and not “fav-rah”? Answer Bible is not pronounced with “reversed letters”: the e is silent. Words like rhythm, acre, centre, bible, bottle, little, button all simply have syllabic consonants. For … Read more

Do people who metathesize “ask” do it to other words as well?

As most of us have heard (and some people get offended about), there are dialects of English in which the word ask undergoes metathesis and is pronounced aks. Are there English dialects in which this process is productive and replies to other words? That is, do some people who say aks for ask also say … Read more

What is the error called when two letters are mistakenly swapped?

Generally this may be called typo but when particularly two letters of a word are mistakenly swapped, what is this error called? Some examples: teh > the fromat > format comptuer > computer Answer That is called a transposition error, and is very common for reasonably speedy touch-typists. The text editor Emacs even has a … Read more

What causes the pronunciation “nucular”?

What is the name of the phonetic shift behind the common mispronunciation of the word nuclear (nucular)? Or, if the answer is “none”, then I would appreciate learning the origin of the pronunciation. Answer This phenomenon is known as metathesis. Two major hypotheses for the metathesis in this particular case: Steven Pinker has proposed a … Read more