Pronouncing drug names

Barbara Need nee1 at MIDWAY.UCHICAGO.EDU
Tue Jan 29 19:34:58 UTC 2008

There have been ads on TV in the last several months for two drugs
which I would say were, initially, mispronounced, based on their
spelling. The drugs are Humira and Chantix. Until this past week, the
former was ALWAYS pronounced with a lax mid-front vowel in the second
syllable: [E]. The latest ads have, as far as I can tell, a lax high-
front vowel [I]. The latter was, in the first ads early in the Fall,
pronounced with an initial stop [k]. Soon, affricate pronunciations
[tS] began to appear, in random variation with [k] in the same ad.
Now, only the affricate pronunciation is used. I know that drug
companies work very hard to get names that sound right, but why do
they then end up with pronunciations that don't match the spelling.

(OK, <ch> is pronounced [k] in some words, but I don't think it is
the first pronunciation that comes to mind to an English speaker when
those letters are seen together.)


The American Dialect Society -

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