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Pronunciation Manual is a YouTube video series purported as short instructional videos on how to pronounce tongue-twisting English vocabulary words. In the video, each featured word is mispronounced intentionally for comedic and trolling purposes.
The YouTube channel PronunciationManual was launched on April 13th, 2011 with the release of false pronunciation videos for the words “schedule,” “barbiturates,” “Hulk Hogan,” “prerogative” and “thesaurus.”
The series was inspired by another YouTube video series Pronunciation Book which provides correct pronunciation of English words, launched exactly one year prior on April 14th, 2010. In fact, the correct editions of some of the videos featured on Pronunciation Manual can be found in the original channel:
Similar wordplays have been observed prior to the launch of the PronunciationManual series, most notably through MS Paint Icons and wurds threads on the 4chan imageboard dating back to November 2007 and December 2010 respectively.
However, the hilariously misleading videos didn’t gain viral momentum on YouTube until months later in August 2011, when the channel was picked up by a number of tech blogs including The FW, Neatorama, Lady Likes LaughingSquid and Gizmodo among others. Some of the most popular pronunciation videos range from exotic brand names like “Yves Saint Laurent” and “L’Occitane” to English loanwords that are derived from foreign languages such as “bruschetta” and “faux pas.”
On February 1st, 2012, Washington Post’s Style Blog published a Q&A interview article with the creator of PronunciationManual, who chose to remain anonymous. Throughout the month, Washington Post’s blog post triggered another round of coverage in the blogosphere, receiving mentions on The Ellen Degeneres Show, as well as on Mashable and Rhizome.
The videos are widely shared on Facebook as well as on Tumblr and the official Twitter page for Pronunciation Manual was set up in September 2011. As of June 2012, the channel has released at least 174 videos and gained more than 85,000 subscribers, 43 million total views and 98,000 average views per day since its launch. The YouTube channel has also inspired additional copycat channels like PronunciationPartner and PronunciationPooper using a similar setup with audio tracks that are blatantly misleading.
Washington Post – Pronunciation Manual videos sound it out slowly, hilariously