The English language is funny in the sense that we’re constantly borrowing words from other languages and cultures. As a result, native English speakers usually end up butchering a lot of words and names, mostly due to ignorance. It’s a common occurrence, one that’s sometimes hard for some to break. You might be one of those people, which is why you should take a look at some of the words and names that you might be saying wrong.
Quinoa is one of the healthiest foods in the world and goes all the way back to the pre-Columbian American period when it was first grown; in the Andes, at least 7,000 years ago, to be exact. It was ignored for a very long time, but has surged in popularity in recent years, especially among vegans and vegetarians because of its wide range of health benefits. Now enough of the nutrition talk. Want to know how it’s pronounced? You’ve most likely said “kee-no-wuh” in your head, haven’t you? It’s actually “keen-wah.” Keep this in mind when you’re munching on some.
2. Joaquin Phoenix
Joaquin Phoenix is the younger brother of late actor River Phoenix, a talented and young rising star. Given his profession as an actor, you’ve most likely heard his name a bunch of times. So it is “joe-keen?” Sadly, no. Even Hollywood gets his name wrong. It’s more like “hwah-keen,” sort of like a reversed quinoa. Joaquin is Puerto-Rican-born and his name is the Spanish version of Joachim, a Hebrew name meaning “lifted by Yahweh.” This is most likely due to his mother’s Jewish heritage.
To native English speakers, this word is pronounced “broosh-etta.” Italians on the other hand say “broos-keta.” This is because the Italian “sh” sound is written as “sc” as in lascia (pronounced la-sha). However, in bruschetta, we have the typical Italian pronunciation of “ch,” which is pronounced the same as the letter “k.” By the way, a bruschetta is a delicious piece of toasted bread that is often topped with equally delicious spreads.
4. Kim Jong-Un
Kom Jong-Un is the current dictator of North Korea. Koreans, like most Asians, write their names with the last names first and the first name last. Kim, his surname, is very obvious and easy to pronounce, so is the “Jong” part of his name. What many of us seem to mispronounce is the simple two letter “Un” part of his name. Most of us would say “oon” or “uhn” but it’s more like a cross between “err” and “uhh”. It’s hard to describe since it doesn’t really have a counterpart in English.
“Es-preh-so.” Seems simple enough, right? If that’s how you say it, then congrats, you’re not part of the majority of people who find themselves saying “expresso,” even though there is a clear ‘s’ after the first ‘e.’ One possible reason for the mispronunciation is due to the fact that “espresso” comes from the Italian word which means “to express,” because the coffee flavor is expressed from the beans. The two words seem so similar which is why many accidentally misuse it.
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