When I was pretty young, probably under 10, (It’s been quite awhile now, so my elderly brain can’t remember these things so well) my dad came home and told me he’d just heard about an animal that he thought might become my new favorite animal. Up until that time my favorite animal had been the giraffe. Then my dad introduced me to the okapi. A very rare animal and the only living relative of the giraffe. While it didn’t replace the giraffe it did become almost equally loved.
About a month ago, I was reading an article about the birth of a baby okapi. For anyone interested you can read it HERE. (The baby is beyond adorable!) Within the article was a video, and the news anchors kept pronouncing the name o-COP-i. Ever since dad had first told me about it I have pronounced it o-CAP-i. That was what he had called it, so that was probably how whoever had told him about it had pronounced it, and I never had heard of it anywhere else so I naturally called it that as well. When the first anchor called it an o-COP-i , I thought to myself, “Self, this guy is so dumb! He doesn’t even know how to say its name!” Then the narrator of the footage began pronouncing it the same way. again I thought, “Oh these poor misinformed people. They really should have done better research.”
Then the zookeeper pronounced it o-COP-i.
Suddenly my entire outlook on life was changed.
If the zookeeper, the woman who cared for these animals and knew everything about them, was pronouncing it o-COP-I, it could not be wrong! I had to know for sure. I was on the internet, finding the correct pronunciation was only a click away. I rushed to dictionary.com.
–noun, plural -pis, (especially collectively) -pi.
an African mammal, Okapia johnstoni, closely related to and resembling the giraffe, but smaller and with a much shorter neck.
I was wrong! All these years my whole family has been wrong! It was actually really shocking to find out! I still am trying to un-train myself from saying o-CAP-i. I got in some good practice on my last trip to the zoo though. You may recall my post from last May about the okapi. (You can read that HERE) The situation had not improved one bit, so once again I found myself surrounded by people who were just sure that this was a really strange zebra, a zoney, or a Zorse. I explained again, to those who looked like they might be open to knowledge, that it was an okapi, and this time I was pronouncing it correctly.
Next week I’ll be going back to the zoo again. I can’t wait to see my o-COP-i. :)