Radio Inspire

How To Learn Sign Language

This Man Can Pronounce Every Word in the Dictionary


– [Narrator] Pardon me, professor. Maybe you can help me out here, is this word pronounced cache or cache? – Cache.
– Appreciate it, doc. You see, when Jacques
Bailly pronounces a word, he pronounces it right, he can pronounce this thing. – Smaradine. – [Narrator] He can pronounce this thing. – Scherenschnitte. – [Narrator] He even pronounces words, that don’t make a lick of sense. – Albumen. – [Narrator] And when you’re
that damn good with words, sooner or later, someone’s
gonna pay you to say ’em. – Hi, Dr. Bailly. – [Narrator] This is Jacques Bailly, the official pronouncer of
the National Spelling Bee. – Luxembourg. – [Boy] L-U-X-E. (lively Western music) – Gala. Sherbet. Gyro. G-I-F. – [Narrator] Before Jacques’ days as the world’s foremost
pronouncer of persnickety words, he began a spelling career on the other side of the microphone. Jacques was a competitive speller and in 1980, he found
himself in the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. His word, elucubrate, so he said. – E-L-U-C-U-B-R-A-T-E and it means to burn the midnight oil, to study all night. – [Narrator] And with those 10 letters, Jacques became a champion. Twenty-three years later,
Jacques had elucubrated all the way to the big show. – Propiophenone. Roquefort. Pyroclastic. – Can I please have the definition? – [Narrator] But sometimes even Jacque’s meticulous pronunciations
don’t tell the whole story. – English words are not
always spelled as they sound. One thing that makes English
words really hard to spell is the schwa, the schwa is that uh, like
in butter or unutterable. – [Narrator] The Y in syringe, the A in balloon, the O in freedom, they all sound the same spoken out loud, a speller’s nightmare. – The longer and weirder a word is, the easier it is to spell, take the state fish of
Hawaii, the humuhumunuku, ah, the humuhumunukunukuapua’a, that’s an easy word to
spell, it’s just long, it’s a weird word and
weird things stand out and are easier to remember. – O-N-O-M-A-S-I-A, paronomasia.
– Correct. – Let’s go! (audience applauding) – [Narrator] For a man with perhaps the most legitimate claim as
the authority on pronunciation, Jacques takes a rather agnostic approach to the right and wrong ways to say things. – A lot of people are kind of amazed, that I know how to
pronounce all these words, but I don’t, I read them
from the dictionary. Well, how does the dictionary
know how to pronounce a word? Because they go out there and
listen to native speakers, if there are a whole bunch of people, who pronounce a word a certain way, that makes it a correct pronunciation. People have very strong opinions, that there’s an incorrect
way to pronounce a word, but it’s like saying
that dog barked wrong, that’s not a bark, well,
the dog gets to decide. (barking dog) – [Narrator] Thanks Jacques, I reckon you got more wisdom, than all the books in the library. (light melodic music)

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