Vicissitude—I have always taken this to be a Mississippi word, with three short is: "vis-Sis-sit-tood." As prolific audio-book reader Nadia May pronounces it, however, the first i is long: "vye-Sis-sit-you'd." There is a ring of rightness to this.
Sinecure—This word mainly appears in British prose, such as the novels of Anthony Trollope, describing a career situation exacting light labor for a heavy salary. So the Brits probably have the right of it when, as in the above example, they make the first i long: "Sign a cure," rather than "Sin a cure." Still, it's a bit of a surprise for a self-taught Yank who guessed how to pronounce most of his vocabulary after acquiring it in books. I'm used to that kind of thing by now.
|Nothing to see here. Move along.
Amenities—I'm pretty sure this word, in America, is pronounced like "a Men it ease," where it usually has something to do with cable TV, clean towels, and a continental breakfast. I'm pretty sure I heard Nadia May, just today, saying it with a long e: "a Mean it ease." And given that she was reading George Eliot, I doubt that she had the same examples in view.
Distribute—In American English, the stress goes on the second syllable: "dis-TRIB-yoot." And although you would think denizens of the cradle of the English language might be onto something when they stress the first syllable—"DIS-trib-yoot"—I can't help feeling that they've blundered, somehow. It strikes my ear as clumsy and foreign, like an attempt by someone who speaks English as a second or third language to cover his or her ignorance. I think it must sound even more unwieldy with "-ed" and "-ing" suffixes added. It seems to run counter to the principle of euphony that made my late professor's pronunciation of "adversary" and "controversy" sound so right.
Merino—this word designates both a breed of sheep and the wool that it produces. Both sheep and wool are more of an English thing than an American, so I'll take their word for it when I hear British actors read the word with the stress, and a short e, both in the first syllable. I was just a little surprised by this, though, because I've met people with the family name Merino, who pronounce it "muh-REE-no." But coming from a country where the word "chops" is not automatically understood to mean mutton chops, they may be as mistaken as I was.