You say to-may-to, I say to-mah-to
You say po-tay-to, I say po-tah-to
Let's call the whole thing off.
— Fred Astaire
to Ginger Rogers in the film Shall We Dance,
The Trope Namer
When one character has his own weird pronunciation for a certain word, and everybody can't help commenting. This can be used to contrast Slobs Vs Snobs
Not to be confused with It Is Pronounced Tro-PAY
. May result in Got Me Doing It
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- In The Pink Panther, Inspector Jacques Clouseau would like to buy a "damburger" and would also like to rent a "rhume" for the night and pick up a "massage" at the front desk of a hotel. It's worth noting that he didn't do this in the original film; they were one of many embellishments of his character for the sequels.
- In Hot Rod, Rod tells his crew that his safety word is "huwisky". His stepbrother wants to know why he's pronouncing "whiskey" so weirdly, which leads to Rod pronouncing a string of words starting with 'wh' (and one that just starts with 'w') in the same way until his stepbrother gives up.
- According to the director's commentary, this was inspired by a skit on Gang Starr's album Moment of Truth.
- Rain Man is, of course, based on a child's pronunciation of "Raymond".
- In The Hangover, the future brother-in-law pronounces "ree-tard" as "re-taard".
- Lampooned in The Colour of Magic film, as Twoflower (who is played by Sean Astin, who also played Sam Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings film) goes completely overboard with the pronunciation of "potatoes".
- Megamind upon being corrected in his pronunciation responds "potato tomato, potato tomato" without changing the pronunciation at all.
- His unique pronunciation of "Metro City" (i.e. as if it's all one word that rhymes with "atrocity") serves as a Something Only They Would Say when he's trying to disguise himself as Metro Man.
- Often used by Anne Robinson when a contestant from Northern England shows up on The Weakest Link (unless that contestant is from her home city, Liverpool).
- In one episode of Wheel of Fortune, host Pat Sajak pointed out that then-announcer Charlie O'Donnel says "ca-RIB-be-an" while Pat says "CARE-uh-be-an". He then added that he says "Wheel of Fortune" while Charlie says, quote, "Wheeeeeeeeeeel of Fortune" (the way that Charlie used to announce the intro).
- The peculiarly "posh" pronunciation of words used by the Arts Curator in Discworld's Thud! draws a lot of comment from Nobby and Colon particularly, complete with its own lampshade and characteristic merciless mocking. Leads to plenty of exchanges like this:
Sir Reynold Stitched: We've had a burglareah, officer!
Nobby: A burglar rear?
Fred Colon was impressed. You could barely understand the man, he was that posh.
- It is very possible Terry was basing the character of Sir Reynold Stitched on real-life TV and heavy-newspaper arts pundit Sir Brian Sewell, who really does talk like that. Just Google on his TV appearances on heavy arty programmes like the South Bank Show and all will be made manifest.
- Similarly, in Jingo, one of the things that infuriates Sam Vimes about Lord Rust is that the man pronounces "years" as "hyahs".
- Hand hsevheral hbooks have hcommented hon the hway Mrs Hwhitlow hspeaks hwhen hsuffering hfrom hclass hconciousness. Leading to a Crowning Moment of Funny when a maid uses the word "spat", Mrs Whitlow corrects this to "hexpectorated", and the genuinely posh (but very much backwoods country gent) Ridcully calls it "gobbin'".
- In the James Bond novel Nobody Lives for Ever, it's mentioned that Bond's landlady has a problem with the m-n pairing, referring to something as "crinimal".
- Common in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories, being based on the playacting of a little boy. Notable examples include Woozles (weasels), Heffelumps (elephants), Jagulars (jaguars), Tigger (tiger) and Winnie the Pooh himself (based on Winnipeg, a bear at the London Zoo).
- Once on The King of Queens, Doug gets in an argument with Arthur when Arthur asks for the "catsup" (which is an acceptable variation of "ketchup", just not to Doug). Of course, Doug is one to talk, considering the way he talks: "Sanitasheeown." "I'm the 'onioniown' guy!"
- In one episode of 30 Rock, Liz pronounces camera as "cahmerah", and is unsure whether she's saying it weirdly or not. Also: "This is always hard to say: You have die-AB-uh-dees?"
- Mystery Science Theater 3000. They love to deliberately mispronounce names. For instance, Tom Servo said: "Chiy Chiy Rodreh-gweez".
- A Chewin' the Fat sketch featured the "actor" Ronald Villiers auditioning for The Matrix. He repeatedly pronounces it "Mah-trix".
- William Shatner's...pronunciation...oftheword...sabotage.
- On The IT Crowd, Jen pronounces "computer" with the emphasis on the first syllable (rather than as more commonly on the second syllable). This serves to highlight her lack of expertise and interest in the area.
- Ted on How I Met Your Mother has his own pretentious way of pronouncing several words. But his pronunciation of "encyclopædia" warranted comment from other characters. "En-cyc-lo-PAY-dia" because of the æ.
- As well as chameleon (shamil-e-on).
- The Community episode "Physical Education" focused on Britta's pronunciation of the word "bagel" as "baggel".
- Friends: in the What If? episode, Ross insists on calling karate "kaah-raah-Tay" instead of the U.S.-normal "kuh-rah-dee." There's also Chandler's pronunciation of the "whipped" onomatopoeia/gesture as "Whoop-pah!" (with the rest of the cast favouring "hwu-cher!").
- Drake & Josh, anyone? Walter constantly mispronouncing "touché" and "capice" was made into a running gag.
- A Seinfeld episode involves George breaking up with his girlfriend because she's pretentious, pronouncing words such as "pap-ee-ay maché" instead of "paper mach-ay" (because it's from papier-mâché, so she is right).
- In one Hancock's Half Hour episode where Tony was planning to emigrate, he was continually mispronouncing Canada (he said it as if it rhymed with Grenada) despite everyone's attempts to correct him.
- John Candy and Eugene Levy as Yosh and Stan Schmenge do this on SCTV. Each of them pronounced their last name slightly different (which was part of the joke). Candy pronounced it "Shmen-gee", while Levy's pronunciation sounded more like "Schman-gee."
- The Star Trek peculiarity, shared by Spock and Worf, in the way words such as "honor" and "valor" are pronounced - emphasis firmly on the second syllable which is emphatically drawn out (Ho-NORRRR, va-LORRR)
- Christopher Walken hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live where he performed the Trope Namer song... unfortunately, as he was reading it off of cue cards, he simply pronounced it "po-TAY-to" each time. Jimmy Fallon tried to correct him... so he switched to "po-TAH-to" both times.
- The children of The Family Circus, most often Jeffy, pronounce some words in a nonstandard way.
- BBC radio comedy show Son of Cliché subverted this, in a sketch where the two singers performing "Let's call the whole thing off" go to the producer complaining the song doesn't make sense. One, an American, complains the lines are nonsense - she proves her point by singing You say tomayto and I say tomayto, using the "tomayto" pronunciation throughout. Her English co-singer similarly says You say poh-tay-to and I say poh-tay-to is just as silly. He frankly can't see the point of the song either...
- British people do say pot-ay-to (and tom-ah-to) though; nobody actually says pot-ah-to!
- Comedian Ron White, in one of his bits, makes fun of a person pronouncing "coupons" as "KOO-puns".
- Alan Davies had this joke back when he did stand-up on how some people pronounced "falafel" as "fliffel".
- The Moon Is Blue:
Patty: Did you say "invaygled"?
David: Yes, but I assure you I...
Patty: Is that how it's pronounced? I always say "inveigled." Is "invaygled" right?
David: I think so. Inveigled—invaygled—inveigled. Now I don't know. Silly word, isn't it?
- "Zip" from Pal Joey:
Zip! English people don't say clerk, they say clark.
Zip! Anybody who says clark is a jark!
- In Achewood, there's Teodor's pronunciation of helicopter.
- One strip of It's Walky! features the eponym cracking up because of how a British character pronounces his name.
- Accent Tropes
- Children often pronounce words differently, such as "malk" for milk, "shigger" for sugar and "pasgeti" for spaghetti
- Many Americans pronounce it "nucular" instead of "nuclear," including at least two U.S. Presidents. This instability is frighteningly close to standard American, in fact.
- This goes with Accent Tropes as well. Jimmy Carter has a Gulf Coast Southern accent, and George W. Bush has a Texan Southern accent. Nuclear has a strong neutral or Midwestern pronunciation, so it feels awkward to pronounce it that way with most Southern accents.
- Check: idiolects.
- An Australian in New Zealand or a New Zealander in Australia would often be asked to say "fish and chips". This is due to the difference in the short "i" sound between the two accents. "fish and chips" allegedly sounds like "fush and chups" with a New Zealand accent and "feesh and cheeps" with an Australian one.