Friday, May 13, 2011

subtle hints

allen and i just got home from two awesome days at Catalyst in dallas. its an event for church leadership and we got to hear from andy stanley, matt chandler, donald miller, just to name a few. the band gungor was also there, and theyre pretty stinkin awesome. i encourage you to check them out if you like the new wave of folk-type music thats steadily growing in popularity.

anyway, on our way home, i was reading to allen out of jon acuffs book, stuff christians like. super sarcastic, super funny, and super up my alley. i had read several points, and the title of this one in particular was "developing subtle signals to let people know youre a christian."
i read, and have always (not that its a word i have cause to read on a regular basis) read subtle with the B sound. i pronounced the B. suBtle.
allen: "um...just for future reference, the B is silent."
me: "what?"
allen: (points to the word, and says it correctly, as in [suttle]) "subtle"
me: "really? thats [suttle]? i thought it was suBtle. you say the B."
allen: "no, the b is silent. you said it that same way a few pages back, but i didnt think anything of it. then you just read it with the B again, and i realized, 'wow, she really thinks suBtle is a word.'"
me: "its not?"
allen: "no!"
me: "why is that B there? thats just confusing."
allen: "i dont know. im not webster."
me: "i thought [suttle] was s-u-t-t-l-e. and this word was suBtle. "
allen: "you know what that word, or those words in your case, mean?"
me: "yeah. i thought there were just two words."
allen: "that mean the exact same thing...."
me: "but one of them has a B. [suttle] and suBtle. but that really doesnt make sense, does it?"
allen: (laughing, at my expense, mind you) "no."
me: "thats just retarded."

and after further review, this book utilizes the word subtle (with a silent B) several more times. he even uses subtly a few times, which really throws me off. i'm having to rethink everything.
i mean, why do we have so many useless silent letters hanging around, really?
knife? gnat? gnome? knee?
at first i was going to blame the english language, which i do still believe is the most confusing thing ever, besides perhaps algebra II, but even the bible does it with psalm.
what about you? have you ever found after years that you had been pronouncing a word wrongly?


Dawn said...


Seriously... I pronounce it like it is spelled melk.

The other 3 people in this house give me serious grief over it. Hard to avoid when it's often served multiple times in a day to multiple people. Ha!

I've tried to retrain myself to say it correctly but it just won't seem to stick. On a recent visit to my parents' home, I realized that my mom says it the same way. That just means that I've had it drilled into my brain this way for more than 46 years. So, it's not likely to change!

Lori said...

Try teaching phonic rules to 20 second graders, only to then almost immediately come across a word that is an exception to the rule.

"But Mrs. McCoy, you just said..."

So frustrating!

The Bug said...

Love this post! I can't remember any recent mispronunciations (although I KNOW there was at least one not that long ago), but when I was a kid I remember being astounded that it was chimney, not chimley :)

Southwest Arkie said...

I can't imagine who decided that the word subtle ever needed a "b" to start with! I always stumble over that b.

Humbly Surrendered said...

How about the "l" in salmon being silent?? There's another one for you!

Lisa said...

I first learned of the major shortcomings of the english language in 8th grade when I started studying spanish. Then I developed a new dislike for it when my daughter was learning to read. Makes NO sense!