So, it turns out I’ve never heard the word “respite” before.  I’ve read it, seen it, understand it, heard of it, but I’ve never actually heard anyone use it.  So naturally, I’d formed my own idea of it’s pronunciation.  And now I’m boggled because, apparently, I’m wrong.

See, I looked at the word, and I saw, “spite”.  And “re-“.  Well, for every other word prefixed with “re”, the emphasis is on the second syllable, right?  Re-LEASE.  Re-DUCE.  Etc.  And spite is pronounced with a long “i”.  Right?

Wrong.  In NA, it’s pronounced REH-spit, and in the UK it’s pronounced REH-spite.  But none of this ree-SPITE business, dang it.

Oh well, could be worse.  And I’m inclined to just go on with my current pronunciation.  Anyway, I’ve done worse: For the longest time, I’d seen “indignant” and read it as in-dee-TAN-gent.  Why?  Where?  Who knows.

English is a funny language.  What linguistic bumbles have you made?

– Jean AAR

Enya Young
+ posts

I live in Seattle, Washington and work as a legal assistant. I remember learning to read (comic strips) at a young age and nowadays try to read about 5-6 books a week. I love to travel, especially to Europe, and enjoy exploring smaller towns off the tourist track though London is my favorite city in the world.