Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Phonetics & Ibuprofen

Yesterday I gave some Ibuprofen to one of the Chinese teachers in the office. After explaining that it's a great drug and telling her it's name, Chris, my buddy and co-worker, snickered when I pronounced it as "I-byoo-pro-fen". He said that it's "I-boo-pro-fen". We are always having debates on the pronunciation of words, it's a good distraction from the usual crap we deal with on a daily basis. While I like to think that my phonetic skills are first-rate, he made me question my stance in this argument. After a quick search on Google, I was vindicated. It is indeed "I-byoo-pro-fen"!!

Looks like I have the bragging rights for the time being...


Chris said...

Lol Dave, and that's why you are the head foreign teacher at Gram!!!

Thoth Harris said...

David, it could also be an American vs. Canadian thing. But I would pronounce it like you do.

But it is a relatively new word, as it's kind of a neologism invented by researchers and pharmaceutical companies. This word will be pronounced differently in different countries.

Actually the more I think about it, the more I am unsure whether I would pronounce like you do or like I do. As I say, google or the dictionaries put out on the internet might not necessarily have THE last word. We all have a hand in creating the accepted pronunciations for our various dialects. I was just reading a book about language and it's evolution (entitled The Power of Babel), fairly recently, in fact.

Thoth Harris said...

Oh, duh. You say in your profile you are American. Well, there goes that argument.

One thing I cannot tolerate, haha is that American way (and it is promoted in many schools here in Taiwan - bloody lazy, too-lazy-to-write-ou-in neighbour, American English)that darn tyoobe when saying tube, or dyooke!


It is toobe for tube, damn it! Saying tyoob is just darn antiquated and perverse. Or Southern (S-uth-ern).

David said...

hey thoth,

i have never heard "tyoobe". that sounds more like a canadian thing...lol.

thanks for your input, it's an interesting argument.

David said...

like it or not, people that take english lessons usually want to speak the "american" way because that is the prevailing way of speaking in business, entertainment, and life in general...

this is not to say that it is the best way, just the way it is.

Vincent Brown said...

Butane = Byoo-tane
Albuterol = Al-byoo-ter-all
I wonder how he says these other chemical names? Boo-Tane?