It’s one of those embarrassing things that must happen to everyone when they are not speaking their mother-tongue. There are some things I just can’t say. Like ‘rabid’. Does it rhyme with rabbi? I never remember. Thankfully it’s not a word I use regularly.
There are others that I have to use on a daily basis that cause me just as much trouble. Take ‘muslin’ for example. When I used it the first time, I thought it would be so simple. It looked simple. Unlike plough, which I now know doesn’t sound anything like drought, but rhymes with cow (I mean, how does that even work?). And don’t talk to me about ‘sauce’, it took me months to master that one. And Thompson. I worked for a bank in my early days in England and had to call someone called Thompson. They were a bit confused when I asked for Mr Thump-son…
Back to ‘muslin’. I picture the word in my head, imagine myself saying it, and I still can’t figure out how it goes. And believe me, we have a lot of muslins around what with the Babykins puking and dribbling all over the place. I get lots of practice. And yet every time, every single time, I say it wrong.
‘Pass me the muslin, hubby please, the Babykins has dribbled milk on my black sleeve again!’
‘The what? The Muslim? We don’t have one of those around but I don’t think he’d be able to help.’
Some words are just there to confound me.