A correspondent writes to ask if there is a term to describe the situation when someone insists that two words should be pronounced differently because of the spelling. She recalls a case from her childhood when a teacher told her to pronounce the words threw and through differently because they are spelled differently. She remembers the teacher haranguing the class: 'an educated person pronounces the letters in a word'. And she has since come across it many times (she writes from the USA) - people who believe they pronounce the l in half or the b in debt, and so on, even though they do not.
My correspondent suggests the term 'Holofernizing', after the pedant in Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost - which is not a bad idea. She worries about the legitimacy of using Holofernes' name in this way, for he was someone who (judging by the text) really did pronounce the b in debt. But I wonder if he did. Certainly I have never seen a Holofernes on stage where the actor took that character-note seriously, and spelling-pronounced all his words. It would probably produce an unintelligible performance.
I don't know how much Holofernization there is among teachers in Britain, but I imagine it is there. It is unfortunately quite common to find people whose beliefs about language run contrary to their practice. Even more common, of course, is the reverse situation to the one described by my correspondent: people who condemn a usage which they do unconsciously practice themselves - such as those who condemn an 'intrusive r', and take pains to avoid introducing one in law and order, but do it all the time in such less noticeable cases as Africa and Asia. I don't have a term for that either.
Is there an alternative term to 'Holofernization'? I don't know of one. Linguistic terminology focuses on language realities, not imaginings. There are very few terms for states of mind about language - hypercorrection is one, when people over-compensate for an uncertain usage (as in the case of between you and I). It would be good to formally identify this problem - for, according to my correspondent, many American children are being berated by teachers for failing to make distinctions which have no basis in reality.
Perhaps a reader of this blog will come up with a better one.