Want to sound like a good old boy who doesn’t give a hoot what foreigners think? Say “EYE-rack.” But if you want to sound knowledgeable, say “ear-ROCK.” Politicians who know better sometimes adopt the popular mispronunciation in order to sound more folksy and down to earth.

Similarly in standard English, Iran is not pronounced “eye-RAN” but “ear-RON.”

On a related matter, the first syllable of “Italian” is pronounced just like the first syllable in “Italy,” with an “it” sound. “Eye-talian” sounds distinctly uneducated.

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Common Errors front cover