Christmas is around the corner, and it seems to be that time of the year when you discover you had been pronouncing a word wrongly all this time.
The word is awry, which I had always thought of as awe-ry, instead of its actual pronunciation a-wry (əˈraɪ).
The funny part is that I learnt of the correct pronunciation while reading someone else’s account of how he had been making the same mistake (for a much longer period than mine).
I realize I’ve never heard this word spoken—neither by an Indian speaker nor a foreigner. But I strongly suspect that a lot of Indian speakers would also have awe-ry in their heads. How do you pronounce it? The comments section is open!
Retrospectively, [əˈraɪ] does make more sense as it fits the general pattern found in similar words. As Dictionary.com explains,
[a- is] a reduced form of the Old English preposition on, meaning “on,”“in,” “into,” “to,” “toward,” preserved before a noun in aprepositional phrase, forming a predicate adjective or anadverbial element ( afoot; abed; ashore; aside; away ), or beforean adjective ( afar; aloud; alow ), as a moribund prefix with averb ( acknowledge ), and in archaic and dialectal use before apresent participle in -ing ( set the bells aringing ); and added to averb stem with the force of a present participle ( ablaze; agape;aglow; astride; and originally, awry ).
But then, hindsight is 20-20.