Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Let's call the whole thing off!

You say TOO ber cles,
I say too BUR kles

We're talking about the bumps on the almost translucent, velvety skin of Mediterranean geckos, a non-native species. The preschoolers are learning about diurnal green anole lizards, and nocturnal geckos. How to pronounce the bumps? Either way, the preschool class got the giggles:

Po TAT to, PO tat oh
TOO ber cles, too BURK les

Let's call the whole thing off!

I'm real self-conscious about em-PHAS-is on the wrong syl-LAH-ble (aggravated in situations compelling my mangled Nebraska pronunciation of foreign composers' names like RICH-erd WAG-ner). I'm accent-challenged, and it's definitely an inherited condition on my mother's side. Nature or nurture.

Back in 1937 when George and Ira Gershwin were struggling with vegetables for the musical, "Shall We Dance?," my mom was learning to read chapter books. A young reader who hasn't heard a word will sound it out and say it in her head. That's why Fritzi believed she was reading stories about De-BOR-ah and AG-knees. Shhh! Don't tell Deborah and Agnes! Fred and Ginger danced their way into the dictionary.

The big controversy growing up was whether those seventy-six sliding instruments were TROM-bones or trom-BONES. I leaned toward TROM-bones because of that capital T that rhymes with P.

My grandmother met Ebenezer Scrooge on a tropical vacation in the BAH-ha-mas, but never met Captain Jack Sparrow in the CAR-ib-be-ann, or the care-uh-BEE-an.

Seventy six trombones led the big parade

With a hundred and ten cornets close at hand

They were followed by rows and rows of the finest virtuosos;

the cream of every famous band.

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