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Say What You Hear

by Branden Huxtable

Originally published in the July 1996 issue of the CSCDHH GA Newsletter


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Several years ago when Boeing first started designing the 777, my department in the Boeing Defense and Space Group was experiencing cut-backs. To keep me within Boeing, my supervisor spent time arranging interviews for me with other departments. Several interviews later, still no new job. Then one day, he called me in his office to tell me about another interview he set up for me.

The interview was in the 777 Electrical Systems for a supervisor named Terri Fraser. The only problem I found was that I kept mispronouncing her last name.

"Fraser?" I asked.

"Frazhour," my supervisor said. "Like Fraser River and Fraser Valley."

"Right. But I just never learned to pronounce it before."

"It's pronounced Frazhour."

"Frazher."

"Frazhour."

"Frashor. Frazhooor. Frasher. Frashooor."

I couldn't seem to get it right. "Frazheeoor. Frasheer. Freshor. Fraazheer."

Five minutes later. "Frashuhr. Frashur. Frazheeoor. Frosheeur."

I still had no idea what sounds I was suppose to hear. My supervisor tried writing it down, saying it slowly, explaining the sounds, but nothing worked. Finally he had an idea.

"Do you know how to pronounce soup du jour?" he asked me.

"Sure. Soup du jour_."

"Same thing. Frazhour."

"Frazhour?"

"That's it!"

I practiced for five minutes, went to the interview and got the job. After all that trouble, I never did say her last name during the interview. A week later, my new supervisor got married and changed her last name to Morse.

Some good did come out of learning how to pronounce Fraser. The next time I go to the Lower Mainland British Columbia, I can impress all the locals in Fraser Valley.

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