Why is it that so many people can’t seem to wrap their tongues around the oy/oi diphthong? Now it may be a local phenomenon (southern United States), where I live, but I almost NEVER hear “Toyota” pronounced correctly, even by people who ought to know better. Worse, I hear it mispronounced in radio and TV commercials!
There are at least three variations: TAY-ota, TYE-ota, and TEE-ota. Is that the way these people HEAR the name? Why is it so hard to say “TOY-ota?” Is it a case of “lazy tongue?” Or is it because that’s the way “everyone else” says it?
Which brings me to another word that is almost universally mispronounced due to ignorance: “TINNITUS,” the term for abnormal noises or ringing in the ears. It is not “tinn-EYE-tus”, since it is not really an “itis”, like “arthritis.” It is correctly pronounced “TINN-it-us,” with a short i. Normally, it just grates on my nerves, being a word geek. But when I started hearing commercials with the word being pronounced “Tinn-EYE-tis,” I had to wonder if the people pushing their product (which claims to *cure* the condition) did not actually know how to pronounce it, or worse, they were condescending to the level of potential customers who both believed that it was an “itis”, and that there was a quick, “all-natural” cure?
Well, this gives me two pet peeves that are up there with the all-time champ, “NOO-kyu-ler!” “GAG!”