Nick and I were talking about saunas this morning.
Or rather, I was talking about sitting in the sauna. And Nick kept asking me to repeat myself. Which I did several times, until I got to the point where I was speaking really loudly and clearly. Like maybe he had a head injury.
Because how, right across the breakfast table, could he not hear me so many times?
He was, however, asking me to repeat myself so that he could be sure, when he made fun of me, that he'd heard me right.
Because I pronounce sauna "SOW-nə" (you know, sow, rhymes with cow). Actually, what I say sounds a little more like SOUW-nə. But "sow" is close enough.
He insists it's "SAW-nə" - "saw," definitely not "SOW," and with slightly less emphasis on the first syllable.
He contends he's right - and offered up all kinds of "au" words with his pronunciation: Caught, fraught, cause, pause...The list goes on.
And I had no examples on the tip of my tongue for "au" pronounced "ow" - can't, in fact, think of a single one. Except sauna.
I thought back to where I learned the word, which would be one Duluth, Minnesota. Where my relatives - my Scandinavian relative - were big fans of the SOW-nə. That's how they always pronounced it. So maybe this is regional? And maybe my regional pronunciation (which I always want to spell pronounciation) is in fact correct. Because didn't saunas originate with my people, or somewhere around there?
I headed to Wikipedia, and their pronunciation - a Finnish one, as they apparently started this sauna business - looks like it would be "SOY-nə" - unless I'm misunderstanding their chart.
So I'm figuring our respective pronunciations are regional American...but I still feel like I'm right.