When you learn woodworking through reading – books, magazines and websites – you often have no idea how certain words are pronounced. And so when you finally encounter fellow woodworkers in the flesh and have a conversation, there can be a language barrier.
Here are some of the common mispronounced words I have encountered at woodworking shows and classes.
1. Roubo pronounced as “Robo,” as in “Robocop.” It makes me chuckle every time because I think of what a boring movie “Robobench” would be.
2. Veritas as “Vur-IT-ass.” Just remember the accent is on the first syllable and you will get it righter.
3. Lie-Nielsen as Li-Nelson with a long “I”. Very common. It’s pronounced “Lee-Nealson,” and it would be funny if a competing planemaker named his company that.
4. Sapele. Heck, I don’t know how to pronounce this one.
5. “Rebate,” the English spelling of the American word “rabbet.” Early English books say you should pronounce this word like “rabbit” not “rebate.”
6. Holtzapffel. It’s not an easy one to say. Say “holtz,” then “apple.” That’s close enough.
7. “Crochet.” It does not have the word “crotch” in it. Just say it like the word for a knitting needle. Yup, the word means “hook” in French.
8. Roorkhee pronounced as “rookery.” Think of it instead as rhyming with “dorky.”
9. “Jameel Abraham” of Benchcrafted. There is no end to the wacky ways people say his name. While I was with him in Georgia this week, someone sent a package to him that was addressed to “Jamal Alabama.”
10. We had an editor at Popular Woodworking who always pronounced “mortise” as if he had an outrageous French accent: “mor-TEESE.” And tenon was “TEE-non.” Oui oui, we made great fun of him.
— Christopher Schwarz
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