My blog

Gimme the cache!

Pronunciation is a funny thing. There are a lot of English accents in the world, but I’m generally OK with most accents as long as they are internally consistent. That’s a bit rich coming from me, as my accent is a strange mix of American and Australian (it rubs me up the wrong way to pronounce “r” as “ahh”). But I’m not talking about me here.

Few things irked me more when I arrived in Australia than people mispronouncing “cache”. It seems like almost everyone here pronounces it as “kaysh”—even my computer science lecturers at university! Ok everyone, listen very carefully ... “cache” is pronounced the same as “cash” ... m’kay? Not “kaysh” and definitely not “kashay”.

I’ve been pondering why the word is so commonly mispronounced. Perhaps people are applying that common pronunciation rule of thumb that when an “e” appears at the end of a word, you make the preceding vowel “long”. Perhaps people think that it can’t possibly be pronounced the same as “cash” because ... well, because ... it’s spelled differently. Perhaps they just think it sounds too American to say “cash” and therefore it can’t be right.

Whatever the reason, Australians, you’re mispronouncing the word. It’s from French; go look it up. When words are adopted from other languages, generally an attempt is made to pronounce the word as close to the original language as possible.

This is where we get back to accents. Some hypothetical people might say that that is simply the Australian accent. I would disagree with said hypothetical people, despite my accent being a mess. That would be like claiming that “eye-rack” (Iraq) and “nucular” (nuclear) are just simply the American accent. At least I mix correct pronunciations from two different accents.

To highlight the folly of my Australian brothers and sisters mispronouncing this word, I’ve decided to undertake an experiment. I will be pronouncing “cache” as “cake”—well, why not? ... how else would you pronounce “c” followed by “ache”?

I shall delight in saying phrases like “go into your browser settings and clear your cake” and “how much L2 cake is there in that box”.