In my mind, the words collaborate and corroborate are tied together. I would always mispronounce corroborate as “coraborate,” with a short-a sound. Maybe this was just because I never saw them together in print. In fact, I can’t remember seeing corroborate in print at all. I certainly didn’t know how to spell it, and maybe that’s why I couldn’t pronounce it properly.
My mom has corrected me twice this month (once yesterday) and so I’m making a post to remind myself ;-)
Her correction yesterday (we were working on dishes in my kitchen) led her to reminisce about when I was learning to read, and the first times I’d come across one of those words that aren’t pronounced as they’re written.
I could remember two: Colonel (as in, Mustard) and quay, as in, a landing place. Both times I remember coming across the word and not finding meaning in the sounds from the page. And both times my mom would (without even looking– maybe with a smile in her voice) inform me of the proper pronunciation and say that’s just how it’s done, and I’d just have to memorize it.
She asked me yesterday if those things were troublesome (not her word), and I (in one of my moments of spontaneous discovery) said, “English is kind-of like a rich, eccentric old uncle. He sort of does what he wants and we just get used to it.”
I would add to that, the reason we put up with him is because he’s so rich. I wonder if we’d put up with so much if he didn’t enable us to do just about anything we want.