A trivial matter of pronunciation

The year was probably 1982. Maybe ’83. My family had gotten Trivial Pursuit for Christmas. That evening, family friends – the ones who celebrated with us most years – were over and we opened the game. The furniture placement in my parents’ living room was not conducive to playing a board game, so we just passed the box of questions around and took turns asking each other for the answers. It was my turn to read the question, and it was about a desert in the southwest. I don’t recall the specific question, but my friends and family all took turns guessing. They ruled out Sahara, but were convinced it was the Mo-Ha-Vey . Since I kept saying “No”, I was thinking I had them all stumped. They finally asked “well, what is it?” Imagine my embarrassment when I authoritatively announced the answer as the Mo-Jav, and they all burst out laughing. How was I to know that the j was pronounced like an h? Or that the e wasn’t silent.  I took French in school – not Spanish!

So now, anytime I see a reference to the Mojave Desert, I poke fun at myself and call it the Mo-Jav. Have you ever embarrassed yourself with a mis-pronunciation?


One response to “A trivial matter of pronunciation

  1. Hilarious. It reminds me of when I was an English major in university…I pronounced Seamus Heaney as “See-muss”. Oops.

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