Last Saturday was a real shocker of a day for me, as I learned that I’ve been completely mispronoucing two words my whole life.
In the morning, I told Sir Monkeypants I’d like to go to the Chapters sometime that day because I had a coupon that was about to expire.
He said, “A what?”
And I said, “A coupon.”
And he said, “A what? A queue?”
And I said, “No, silly, a CUE-PON.”
And then he laughed and laughed and laughed, and there may also have been some finger pointing.
Sir Monkeypants claimed that the word was “coo-pon,” not “cue-pon,” and I thought about it, and it did seem to make sense. But I’d been saying “cue-pon” my whole life, and seriously? Totally wrong? Seriously?
I grew up in a town in southern Ontario called Cambridge, and Cambridge is an odd and interesting place that seems to exist in its own dimension. In the Cambridge Dimension, it’s always 1974 Texas. Everyone has wood paneling in their basements, drives a pickup, and — I am not kidding about this at all — it is the place that originated the phrase, “Giver.”
I figured I may have stumbled on yet another Cambridge-ism.
So I got on the horn to FameThrowa, and I asked her on speaker phone: “Say you had a little piece of paper that said you could get 50 cents off of crackers at the Superstore, what would you call that?” And she very, very carefully said, “A coo-pon,” While Sir Monkeypants whooped with glee, she explained that she also grew up saying “cue-pon,” but learned a few years back that the rest of the world says “coo-pon,” and so made a concerted effort to correct her Cambridge-ism.
So, SERIOUSLY. Gah.
And then! Later that afternoon, while I was driving home from the Chapters having used my CUE-PON, I was listening to an Olympic update on the radio and the announcer said that there would be coverage later of the men’s bobsleigh.
Only he said “bob-slay,” when clearly, b-o-b-s-l-e-i-g-h is pronounced, “bobsled.”
So I came home and twittered about it, because I was far too embarrassed to ask Sir Monkeypants about it, and apparently, SERIOUSLY, it is bob-slay. I eventually caved and checked with Sir Monkeypants and yes, bob-slay.
And the funny thing is that I have a whole arm of my family with the last name Sleigh, and they pronounce it “slay,” and yet, I still say “bob-SLED.”