… or maybe the title should be Eye Sea Wards.
When I hear or speak words, I see them spelled out in my head. Similarly, when I read I tend to see the letters in individual words, so that when called upon to read out loud, I rarely mispronounce words, unless I am outright unfamiliar with them.
Until recently, I have always supposed everyone does likewise. Upon inquiring of some other literate people, I was surprised to find that no one else I asked sees words.
Yesterday I heard my favorite NPR commentator Daniel Schorr use a word I have seen written but have never used myself, nor ever heard pronounced: “colloquy”, which is a conversation or a dialogue, particularly one that is formal or written down.
I was surprised to hear him say it with the first syllable accented, for until yesterday I had heard it in my head with the accent on the second syllable, as in the word “colloquialism.” Nonetheless, I saw the spelled-out word flash up in my head as with a red flag, because I knew the word’s meaning, but its pronunciation turned out to be different from what I expected. (Many listeners probably know neither.)
A quick check of an on-line dictionary verifies the venerable Mr. Schorr’s pronunciation to be spot on.
At the same time I considered it to be a delightful coincidence that it was that particular word that would serve to demonstrate my apparently anomalous tendency, in that it gave me an opportunity to develop this blog entry on the topic, a blog itself being essentially a form of colloquy.
As I am writing this, I hear in my head Daniel Schorr’s precise and fatherly voice reading it back to me. (Dream on!) Will my quirkiness never cease?
I’m glad we had this little colloquy.