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Word of the Day – Phenomenon

“The reason the lino factories in Kirkcaldy all closed was that people couldn’t ask for ‘a roll of linoleum’. They’d say ‘a lole of ninoneum’ or ‘a nole of limomeom’ and then they’d say ‘fuck it just give me a carpet!’
(Billy Connolly)
PHENOMENON is the most mispronounced word in the English language, according to a new survey.

It came top in a study of words that Britons struggle to get their tongue round, with people mixing up the letters m and n on a regular basis.

Second place was anaesthetist, which causes problems due to the proximity of the -th to the two letters t at the end.

Remuneration, which is often mispronounced as renumeration, came in third.

The fourth most difficult word to pronounce, according to the 3,000 people polled, was statistics, with its repeats of the letters t and s. Ethnicity, which is awkward because the n follows a -th, is at five. Philosophical came sixth, followed by provocatively at seven and anonymous at eight. Thesaurus and aluminium completed the top ten.

A spokesman for Spinvox – a voicemail to text message service – which carried out the research, said: “Many words are difficult to say and when we struggle to pronounce a word correctly it makes us self-conscious about the way we speak.

“A word one person finds easy to say may be difficult for the next person. Although it’s worrying that some people find basic words such as February difficult to say.”