Why candy bars are bad for your English

If you are over 30 and live in the non-English speaking part of Europe (also known as the Continent in the UK), there is a good chance that you remember the times when the Twix candy bar was called Raider. The name was changed to Twix in 1991 (see here), but Raider bars have recently become available again as part of a rather clever marketing campaign.

The product name Raider is quite interesting because, despite the existence of the English word raider, the product name was pronounced as [ˈʁaɪ̯dɐ] rather than [ˈreɪdə(r)] (listen here) by both the producer and the consumers. You can hear the pronunciation in this original German commercial:

The pronunciation of Raider had an interesting effect on some people in my age group and beyond. Perhaps the best example is that many of my friends pronounce(d) the computer game Tomb Raider incorrectly. Instead of pronouncing the English word Raider as [ˈreɪdə(r)] (listen here), they either pronounce(d) it just like the candy bar, or like the English word rider [ˈraɪdə(r)], listen here. Remarkably, this mistake is also made in the very first German video I found when searching for Tomb Raider on youtube:

Finally, the first part of the name Tomb Raider also turns out to be quite hard to pronounce for non-native speakers, with many people missing the fact that the letter b in tomb is silent. The correction pronunciation is [tuːm], see here.

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