This question solicits the most annoying mispronunciations people have heard. My initial reaction is that this is not suitable for EL&U — but I wanted to check with everyone else before unilaterally closing the question.

This question seems to amount to nothing more than complaining about the way people pronounce words in certain dialects that we find annoying, and doesn't provide any useful information at all.

Does everyone agree?

Edit: Allow me to explain the steps I went through in ultimately closing the thread, since one user questioned my motives.

I was looking for confirmation that this thread is considered off-topic for the site. Since this site is (a) in beta, (b) I am new to moderating a StackExchange site, and (c) my vote to close a topic is immediately binding and unilateral, I wanted to double-check with the community to confirm that this thread is, in fact, off-topic. Based on previous meta discussions, it was very likely to be so. When Robert Cartaino pointed out that it is actually off-topic for ANY StackExchange site, this confirmed that my hunch was right to begin with.

At that point, the community consensus or opinion is irrelevant, because if everyone in EL&U liked that kind of question and wanted to keep it and have more of them, then we probably would not be a StackExchange site anymore, as we would no longer fit with the purpose of these sites.

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    Update: I closed the thread — Robert Cartaino provided me with the justification I was looking for.
    – Kosmonaut
    Nov 18, 2010 at 19:52
  • Next time please do not post a question only to look for a supporter. Nov 18, 2010 at 21:01
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    @Tsuyoshi Ito: why? Surely it's a good thing if moderators seek consensus before making decisions. Nov 18, 2010 at 23:25
  • @Steve Melnikoff: It seems to me that Kosmonaut just wanted to find an easy-to-use reason for what he/she had wanted to do. It is very different from seeking consensus. Nov 18, 2010 at 23:32
  • @Tsuyoshi: Added an edit to my question post.
    – Kosmonaut
    Nov 19, 2010 at 0:04
  • You are right because Robert Cartaino agrees with you? Your logic sounds pretty fragile. I stopped trusting what they call “policies” or “guidelines” after they switched a not-so-reasonable policy about domain names to another not-so-reasonable policy, but if you believe them, go ahead. By the way, I would have had no complaint if you had not asked whether everyone agrees or not. Nov 19, 2010 at 0:13
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    @Tsuyoshi: I don't think your comment is a fair characterization of my response. I'm not sure why asking if people agree is problematic. I got two responses. One was you, saying you were indifferent to closing the question. I got another saying that this comment was extremely off-topic, and linking to guidelines that reinforce this. My opinion was that this was off-topic according to previous meta discussions about peeving (e.g. meta.english.stackexchange.com/questions/135/…). It seemed clear after Robert's link that this was an obvious one to close.
    – Kosmonaut
    Nov 19, 2010 at 0:40
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    I think the mispronunciation question should be not just closed, but deleted (along with its sibling, which has been discussed elsewhere and already has 2 delete votes). Kudos to Kosmonaut for seeking consensus first, but he didn't really have to — that's why his close vote is binding to begin with. See this question on the meta Meta, and especially the top answer by Aarobot.
    – RegDwigнt
    Nov 19, 2010 at 13:24

2 Answers 2


Yes, thank you. This question just reeks of everything that can possibly go wrong with a Q&A thread. I would direct everyone to this blog post:

Good Subjective, Bad Subjective

This question breaks just about EVERY ONE of the guidelines for good subjective questions. Check it out… At least 5 (if not all 6) out of 6 stipulations missed.


I agree that the information posted there is pretty useless. To be fair, I do not think that everything posted there counts as a “dialect” (for example, I think that pronouncing “ask” as /æks/ is simply a mistake), but I do not think that this challenges your point.

However, if that question (and answering it) makes some people happy, I personally do not mind if it is kept open as long as there are not too many questions like that. This might be because I visit the site only occasionally.

(As an aside, if the question keeps appearing on the top page and annoying me enough, I will probably write a Greasemonkey script to make it invisible some day, unless someone has already written one.)

Edit: Kosmonaut explained in a comment that the pronunciation of “ask” as /æks/ is a dialect. Thanks! By the way, while I do not mind if the question is kept open, certainly I do not mind if it is closed, either.

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    As a matter of fact, [æks] has a long history and is not a speech error: languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=2734, it is part of a dialect. This is an example of metathesis. Many established words have undergone metathesis from their original forms: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metathesis_(linguistics)#English (see last paragraph of the English section). Metathesis can be done in error, but ultimately, if the alternate form becomes established in some dialect, it is hard to argue that every person doing it is making an error.
    – Kosmonaut
    Nov 18, 2010 at 19:44
  • I would post this in the thread in question, but I personally think it should be closed. This kind of thread just spreads misconceptions. But if people decide the question should remain up, I will give responses.
    – Kosmonaut
    Nov 18, 2010 at 19:45

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