You say aluminium, I say aluminum

We have a CD that gets a lot of play in our car. Too much if you ask me. It’s by the infamous Wiggles, and it features catchy little songs about going to the dentist, digging in the garden, walking in Central Park, and the like.

There’s one about airplanes, too, which has grated on my nerves for months. Not because it’s an annoying song, because it doesn’t bug me all that much, but because of the way Greg, the yellow Wiggle, pronounces “aluminum”: ah-loo-mini-um.


I keep railing to my husband, and sometimes even to Devin, about this incorrect pronounciation. How, how, how could they come up with that when it’s spelled aluminum. Ah-loo-mi-num. Stupid yellow Wiggle!

Tonight, as I scanned the periodic chart for a branding assignment, I came across the element aluminum and did a double take. The spelling? Aluminium. With an asterisk that reads: aluminum in the U.S.

Of course! The yellow Wiggle is completely sane. It’s ME, the American, who’s got it wrong. Go figure.

3 thoughts on “You say aluminium, I say aluminum”

  1. Others:

    US: “Schedule” = “skee-jool”
    UK: “Schedule” = “shed-yool”

    US: “Vitamin” = “vi-ta-men”
    UK: “Vitamin” = “vitt-a-men”

    US: “Clerk” = “klurk”
    UK: “Clerk” = “klark”

    US: “Privacy” = “pri-vas-see”
    UK: “Privacy” = “pry-va-see”

    …not that “The Wiggles” are from the UK. But a few of their pronunciations mirror our friends on the other side of the pond.

  2. Love this…So glad I’m not the only one bothered by these kinds of things!!

    Mind you, I’m don’t suffer from anglophobia. One of my best friends is British. However, I go absolutely nuts when I hear the UK pronunciation of “schedule” (see Kevin’s handy guide above).


  3. Thanks, Kev and Melinda!

    I’ve always been fond of the variances in pronounciation, although I agree with you on schedule. Totally annoying. But I think it’s funny that we actually spell aluminum differently than the rest of the English-speaking world. Americans are such rebels! I really, really thought the Wiggles were crazy. Really.

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