Question – What Do You Do When You Come Across A Word You Can’t Pronounce?
Last week I asked about what you do when you come across a word you don’t know while reading and I mentioned that I tend to guess what it means and skip it more often than not. Really, coming across a word I don’t know doesn’t affect me. But words I can’t pronounce is another story.
Names of cities or buildings, if I can’t pronounce them, I don’t dwell. I just do my best and move along. Most likely I won’t be reading that word again and if I do, it won’t be that many more times over the course of the story. So I figure why let it bother me? But character names…that’s different. These are words I will be reading over and over and over and coming across an accent I am not familiar with or a few letters in a row that I have never seen before frustrates me. It’s not that I’m upset that the author has chosen to use such a name but I’m upset that I can’t get it right! My frustration is all on ME!
Then there are some names that are a little on the unique side but I can fudge the pronunciation and still be cool with it. Don’t know why these names don’t bother me where others do but *shrugs*. I’m an odd bird. What can you do?
One of Kevin Hearne’s main characters in his Iron Druid Chronicles series is a perfect example of that. Granuaile. The name totally suits the character, I can’t picture her with any other name, but I just can’t say it! Kevin even provides a pronunciation guide in his book and I STILL can’t get it right! But I’m okay with that because my way of saying it rolls well off my brain so I’m not hiccuped while reading.
The names or words that bother me most are the ones that stick in my brain and I just can’t seem to get it to be smooth while reading.
What do I do when I come across a word that makes me go O-o? I try saying it out loud syllable by syllable. Then I say it faster and faster. If even by then I can’t seem to say it the same way twice, I make up my own word or try to skip it entirely while reading. Not the easiest thing to do but sometimes it’s worth skipping just to avoid unnecessary frustration. And the last thing I want to be while reading is frustrated at the words an author chose to use as opposed to getting emotional over the story. Like I’m suppose to while reading.
So… What do you do when you come across a word you can’t pronounce?