This post contains mispronunciations by articulate guests and anchors on prime-time television mainly on NDTV, a popular English news channel. To a lesser degree, the post also covers instances of mispronunciations on platforms outside NDTV.

(Note that I’ve treated a word as mispronounced only if its pronunciation didn’t match either British or American pronunciation.)

These are some of the mispronunciations I’ve have picked while watching these programs. Note that I don’t watch to pick mispronunciations. I, like anyone else, watch for content and my ears subconsciously pick words that are pronounced different from the norm. This, however, wasn’t always the case. I used to be a serial mis-pronouncer, but then I improved it to the extent that I’m writing this post.

The idea of this post is not to point out pronunciation mistakes of others. People featured here are good speakers and anyone can make few odd mistakes. The idea is educational. The idea is to show that anyone can improve their pronunciation to a level where they can start noticing mispronunciations (while focusing on content and not pronunciation) even among persons with solid command on the language.

Here is how this post has been structured:

  • Each entry starts with name and brief introduction of the person who mispronounced one or more words.
  • This is followed by the word, the incorrect pronunciation, and the correct pronunciation. The pronunciations have been written in non-phonetic form (example: al-guh-rithuh m) so that you make them out even by reading. Also, the small part that makes a pronunciation incorrect has been highlighted in red font (like this: algoh-rithuh m) so that you can easily spot the difference between the correct and the incorrect. Note that in these pronunciations uh (or schwa), which appears in almost every second pronunciation, is a neutral sound that is not stressed and syllables in bold (al in algorithm) are stressed.
  • If you want to check the source where the speaker has mispronounced these words, I’ve included a reference list at the end of the last entry in this post. The reference contains links to source videos, mentioning one-minute (sometimes longer) range that contains the mispronunciation(s).

    In the reference, I’ve also provided links to correct (British) pronunciations of these words on Cambridge Dictionary.

Let’s jump right in.

1. Shivam Vij

Contributing editor, ThePrint | Formerly contributing editor, Huffington Post India

Word 1: Potato

He pronounced: pohtey-toh

Correct pronunciation: puhtey-toh

Word 2: Deliberately

He pronounced: dehlib-er-it-li

Correct pronunciation: dih-lib-er-it-li

2. Shaurya Doval

Private equity professional | Public policy thinker | Former Director, India Foundation

Word: Hyperbole

He pronounced: hahy-purbol

Correct pronunciation: hahy-pur-buh-lee

3. Prannoy Roy

Co-founder and executive co-chairperson of NDTV | India’s most recognized TV journalist | Known for his coverage of elections

Word: Algorithm

He pronounced: algoh-rithuh m

Correct pronunciation: al-guh-rithuh m

Note that it is not that difficult to pick mispronunciations where the departure from correct pronunciation is significant (example: see ‘potato’ and ‘hyperbole’ in the above two entries), but not so easy where the departure is subtle, like in this entry.

4. Meera Shankar

Indian Foreign Service | Former India’s ambassador to United States

Word 1: Robot

She pronounced: rohboat

Correct pronunciation: roh-bot

Word 2: Reciprocal

She pronounced: resip-ruh-kuh l

Correct pronunciation: ri-sip-ruh-kuh l

5. Sanjay Manjrekar

Former Indian batsman | Ace cricket commentator on television

During the 4 PM IPL match between Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils on 20 May 2018, Rohit Sharma injured his hand. Sanjay Manjrekar described his pain as ‘ri-thing’ (for the word writhing). A fellow foreign commentator within few seconds pronounced it correctly.

Word: Writhing

He pronounced: rithing

Correct pronunciation: rai-thing

6. Shashank ND

CEO, Practo

Word: Chasm

He pronounced: chazuh m

Correct pronunciation: kazuh m

7. Amitabh Kant

CEO, Niti Aayog | Former secretary, Government of India

Word 1: Comparable

He pronounced: kumpairuh-buhl

Correct pronunciation: kom-per-uh-buhl

Word 2: Competitive

He pronounced: kompit-i-tiv

Correct pronunciation: kuh m-pet-i-tiv

8. Few panelists, including lawyers

Of the five on the panel who spoke the word, three pronounced the word incorrectly multiple times. Only the anchor and the reporter pronounced it correctly.

Word: Devotee

They pronounced: divouhtee

Correct pronunciation: dev-uhtee

9. Manish Tiwari

Senior lawyer, Supreme Court of India | National spokesperson, Indian National Congress | Former minister, Government of India | Member of Parliament

Word 1: Adjudicate

He pronounced: adjoo-di-keyt

Correct pronunciation: uhjoo-di-keyt

Word 2: Rhetoric

He pronounced: rhito-rik

Correct pronunciation: ret-er-ik

Word 3: Pyrrhic

He pronounced: pyr-ik

Correct pronunciation: pir-ik

Word 4: Demonstrate

He pronounced: demon-streyt

Correct pronunciation: demuhn-streyt

10. Shekhar Gupta

One of the most well-known and respected journalists in India | Founder, ThePrint

Word: Rhetoric

He pronounced: rhito-rik

Correct pronunciation: ret-er-ik

11. Ajai Sahni

Counter terror expert | Executive Director, Institute for Conflict Management

Word: Record

He pronounced: ri-kord

If the word was used as a verb, his pronunciation was correct. But here the word has been used as a noun.

Correct pronunciation: rek-ord

12. Richa Chaddha

Hindi cinema actress

Word: Statistics

She pronounced: statis-tiks

Correct pronunciation: stuhtis-tiks

13. Shaina NC

National spokesperson, Bharatiya Janata Party | Fashion designer

Word 1: Rhetoric

She pronounced: rhito-rik

Correct pronunciation: ret-er-ik

Word 2: Improvise

She pronounced: impro-vahyz

Correct pronunciation: im-pruh-vahyz

14. Jaiveer Shergill

National spokesperson, Indian National Congress | Lawyer, Supreme Court of India

Word: Juxtapose

He pronounced: juhksta-pohz

Correct pronunciation: juhk-stuh-pohz

15. Ashwini Kumar

Senior lawyer, Supreme Court of India | National spokesperson, Indian National Congress | Former minister, Government of India

Word: Competitive

He pronounced: kompit-i-tiv

Correct pronunciation: kuh m-pet-i-tiv

16. Srinivasan Jain

Managing Editor, NDTV

Word 1: Divisive

He pronounced: dih-vi-siv

Correct pronunciation: dih-vahy-siv

Word 2: Ignominious

He pronounced: ig-nominuhs

Correct pronunciation: ig-nuhmin-ee-uhs

17. Sanket Upadhyay

Senior Editor, NDTV

Word 1: Instrumental

He pronounced: in-stroomen-tl

Correct pronunciation: in-struhmen-tl

Word 2: Contest

He pronounced: kontest

Correct pronunciation: kuhn-test

If contest was used as a noun, his pronunciation was correct. But here the word has been used as a verb.

18. Rajiv Dogra

Former Indian Ambassador to Italy and Romania and Consul General to Karachi, Pakistan

Word: Wand

He pronounced: waind

Correct pronunciation: wond

19. Sonia Singh

Editorial Director, NDTV

Word: Divisiveness

She pronounced: dih-vi-siv-ness

Correct pronunciation: dih-vahy-siv-ness

Jay Panda, a guest on the show, pronounces the same word correctly.

20. Raveesh Kumar

Spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs

Word 1: Project

He pronounced: projekt

Correct pronunciation: pruhjekt

Note that here project has been used as a verb – and not noun. Therefore, its pronunciation is different from what most are used to.

Word 2: Provocative

He pronounced: provokay-tiv

Correct pronunciation: pruhvokuh-tiv

Word 3: Rhetoric

He pronounced: retor-ik

Correct pronunciation: ret-er-ik

21. K C Singh

Former Diplomat and Strategic Affairs Expert

Word: Cleansing

He pronounced: kleen-zing

Correct pronunciation: klen-zing

22. Abhishek Manu Singhvi

Senior lawyer, Supreme Court of India | National spokesperson, Indian National Congress

Word: Homogeneity

He pronounced: hoh-muh-juhnai-tee

Correct pronunciation: hoh-muh-juhnee-i-tee

Reference

1. Prannoy Roy

Source. Watch in the range 40-41 and 63-65 minute.

Listen correct pronunciation of algorithm here.

2. Shivam Vij

Source. Watch in the range 7-8 minute.

Listen correct pronunciations of potato and deliberately here and here, respectively.

3. Shaurya Doval

Source. Watch in the range 12-13 minute.

Listen correct pronunciation of hyperbole here.

4. Meera Shankar

Source. Watch in the range 4-5 and 11-12 minute.

Listen correct pronunciations of robot and reciprocal here and here, respectively.

5. Sanjay Manjrekar

Source. Watch in the range 3:15:00-3:18:00 hours.

Listen correct pronunciation of writhing here.

6. Shashank ND

Source. Watch in the range 9-10 minute.

Listen correct pronunciation of chasm here.

7. Amitabh Kant

Source. Watch in the range 3-4 and 7-8 minute. Another speaker pronounced the first word – comparable – correctly in the range 11-12 minute.

Listen correct pronunciations of comparable and competitive here and here, respectively.

8. Few panelists, including lawyers

Source. Multiple times throughout the video.

Listen correct pronunciation of devotee here.

9. Manish Tiwari

Source. Watch words 1 and 2 in the range 21-23 minute.

Source. Watch words 3 and 4 in the range 17-19 minute.

Listen correct pronunciations of adjudicate, rhetoric, pyrrhic, and demonstrate here, here, here, and here, respectively.

10. Shekhar Gupta

Source. Watch in the range 43-44 minute.

Listen correct pronunciation of rhetoric here.

11. Ajai Sahni

Source: I couldn’t find the video of this show, but it was aired on 22 April 2019 at 9 PM on NDTV.

Listen correct pronunciation of record here.

12. Richa Chaddha

Source. Watch in the range 28-29 minute.

Listen correct pronunciation of statistics here.

13. Shaina NC

Source. Watch in the range 10-11 minute and then 47-48 minute.

Listen correct pronunciations of rhetoric and improvise here and here, respectively.

14. Jaiveer Shergill

Source. Watch in the range 29-30 minute.

Listen correct pronunciation of juxtapose here.

15. Ashwini Kumar

Source. Watch in the range 57-58 minute.

Listen correct pronunciation of competitive here.

16. Srinivasan Jain

Source. Watch word 1 in the range 1-2 minute.

Source. Watch word 2 in the range 49-50 minute.

Listen correct pronunciation of divisive and ignominious here and here, respectively.

17. Sanket Upadhyay

Source. Watch in the range 4-6 minute.

Listen correct pronunciations of instrumental and contest here and here, respectively.

18. Rajiv Dogra

Source. Watch in the range 29-30 minute.

Listen correct pronunciation of wand here.

19. Sonia Singh

Source. Watch Sonia Singh in 36-37 minute range and Jay Panda in 42-43 minute range.

Listen correct pronunciation of divisiveness here.

20. Raveesh Kumar

Source. Watch in the range 3-4 minute.

Listen correct pronunciations of project, provocative, and rhetoric here, here, and here, respectively.

21. K C Singh

Source. Watch in the range 17-18 minute.

Listen correct pronunciation of cleansing here.

22. Abhishek Manu Singhvi

Source. Watch in the range 18-19 minute.

Listen correct pronunciation of homogeneity here.