Saturday, November 17, 2007

Fickle and Pickle

While in the bus on the road to Baguio, we got to watch snatches of mind-numbing, inane, Philippine TV. We saw a bit of a game show and a bit of a variety show. In one of the shows, I heard the host say "pickle-minded" instead of "fickle-minded."

Now, "fickle" and "pickle" are two very different words. When you describe someone as "fickle," you're saying that he/she easily changes his/her mind. You're fickle if you go to a shoe store, pick one pair of shoes, then decide you want another pair instead. After deciding on the new pair, you change your mind again and decide to go with the first pair you chose. So, a "fickle-minded person" is someone who constantly changes his/her mind.

A "pickle" on the other hand, is a vegetable preserved in a vinegar or salt solution. It's something eaten. There is no such thing as a "pickle-minded" person. The word can also be used to describe a mess or some trouble someone is in: "He got caught cheating. He is in a pickle now."

I know that the mispronunciation stems from the "p" and "f" problem that many Pinoys have. Pinoy English speakers tend to pronounce the "f" sound for the "p" sound and vice versa. Please, if you have this problem, be conscious of it. Listen to the correct pronunciation of the words here: "fickle" and "pickle."

Actually, we don't even have to say "fickle-minded." Being fickle is a state of mind. Adding "minded" to the word just adds mental clutter.

If you're planning on working in an English-speaking country like the U.S. or Australia, learn to say "fickle" right. If not, you might find yourself in a pickle.

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