One of my students brought this up, and I thought I'd see what you all make of it.

She mentioned that both mischievous and mischievious are attested, if nonstandard, as are both pronunciations.

From Merriam-Webster:

\ˈmis-chə-vəs, ˈmish-; ÷mis-ˈchē-vē-əs, mish-\

A pronunciation \mis-ˈchē-vē-əs\ and a consequent spelling mischievious are of long standing: evidence for the spelling goes back to the 16th century. Our pronunciation files contain modern attestations ranging from dialect speakers to Herbert Hoover. But both the pronunciation and the spelling are still considered nonstandard.


—Pronunciation note
Pronunciations of mischievous  with stress on the second syllable:
or, less commonly,
,  instead of on the first:
,  are usually considered nonstandard.
The pronunciation [mis-chee-vee-uhs]
,  with the additional syllable, occurs by analogy with such words as previous  and devious.

Even the OED says:

A pronunciation with stress on the second syllable (for which compare the note s.v. MISCHIEF n.) was common in literary sources until at least 1700, but subsequently became restricted to non-standard usage; compare:
1802 J. WALKER Crit. Pronouncing Dict. (ed. 3) (at cited word), There is an accentuation of this word upon the second syllable, chiefly confined to the vulgar, which, from its agreeableness to analogy, is well worthy of being adopted by the learned... But what analogy can give sanction to a vulgarism..? In language, as in many other cases, it is safer to be wrong with the polite than right with the vulgar.
The four-syllable pronunciation represented by the β forms probably developed from this variant by analogy: the rare termination /-'iːvəs/,
found only in this word and GRIEVOUS adj., being replaced by the much more' frequent /-'iːvɪəs/ of DEVIOUS adj. and PREVIOUS adj., effectively resulting in the substitution of -OUS suffix by -IOUS suffix.
This pronunciation (and its associated spelling) is generally restricted to non-standard usage, but is also occasionally adopted by writers or speakers as a conscious affectation: see further Webster's Dict. Eng. Usage (1989) 638/2, and compare GRIEVOUS adj.

So, what do you make of this? How would you handle it?

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet