The Curious Case of Pronunciation Book

This is not game related. Well actually, it might be game related! It’s definitely a weird thing that is happening on the internet.

Since 2010 YouTube user PronunciationBook has been producing videos with the pronunciation of (American) words that are either hard to say or are in current events. The videos are all quite simple: the words are written in black on a white screen while the same man says them slowly. Here’s a good example:

Pretty straight forward, right? Occasionally the PB announcer uses the word in a sentence. Sometimes the sentence seems a little odd, but hey, they’re correct and no one can blame the guy for wanting to have some fun with it. Check out the first contextual sentence for the yummy pepperoncini, for example:

A little strange, and quite evocative, but still useful for figuring out how to pronounce words! Pronunciation Book continued producing these videos on a regular basis for three years, earning almost 30,000 subscribers and even a parody channel.

Two weeks ago, something changed. This video is titled “How to pronounce 77″:

… yeah. Creepy as hell. Let’s listen to the following day’s video, “How to prounce 76″:

The videos have continued, one every day, with weird sentences and a threat or warning that something is going to happen on September 24th.

So just what the heck is going on? One popular theory is that we’re catching the beginning of an ARG. Maybe it’s for Battlestar Galactica, or perhaps for a new Halo game. The latter seems more likely, as Bungie has already proved themselves to be fans of the ARG genre with I Love Bees.

(Speaking of ARGS, one of my favorite internet moments ever is the day someone uncovered a phone number during The Beast, the 2001 ARG associated with the movie AI, and people called in trying to convince a real live person to “save” a captured character. I spent all day reloading the Cloudmakers theorycrafting forum, holding my breath. It all seemed so real.)

Of course September 24th could just be the day the Pronunciation Book guy posts his viral marketing resume, or a photo of his cat, or .. anything really. Three years is an awful long time to create a backstory, if this is all an ARG.

I do love a good creepy internet mystery though, and no matter what the final event turns out to be one thing is for certain: Something is going to happen in 57 days.

Author: Jessica Cook

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4 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for posting this! I just listened to the whole number sequence. It’s stunning. 66 is my favorite.

    I really hope this whole thing was set up three years ago just to build to this climax. That would pretty much restore my faith in art!

    Post a Reply
    • Hooray! I’m glad I could help spread the mystery. I tried to avoid using the “a-word” in my post so I’m glad you did: I definitely feel like there is some Art going on here.

      Post a Reply
  2. I confess that ARGs unnerve me; I spent too much time growing up in “gov’mint is conspiring against us” territory (and the associated detritus of borderline-paranoid schizophrenics that seems to collect) to find them fun at this point.

    I will spend most of the rest of the 66 days hoping this fellow isn’t a pepperoncini-inspired terrorist, or something. Here’s hoping for some Art!

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