Someone tries to class up something by "pronouncing it poshly". Most commonly this is done as response to other people pronouncing the word in such a way that it sounds much sillier. Whether the fancy pronunciation or the obvious yet silly one is "correct" is usually beside the point. The point is, that for some people, keeping a name filled with aristocratic airs is Serious Business.
This practice likely originated (at least as far as we know) in the Middle Ages among upper class families who had common surnames and didn't want to be associated with their lowly upbringing. The Featherstone-Haughs for example were named for a poor farming village, so in order to make themselves sound posher, they changed the pronunciation of the name to "Fanshaw".
Usually the "high-class pronunciation" uses French pronunciation, with varying accuracy. Today this is probably because Everything Sounds Sexier in French and as we all know sexy people can't be made fun of. The original reason for this is likely because from the 17th Century all the way until the mid 20th century, French was considered the Common Tongue of European diplomacy.
This trope is related to the linguistic phenomenon known as hyperforeignism.
May overlap with My Nayme Is but not every name that's pronounced differently than its spelling would indicate is this trope. Compare also with Ac CENT Upon The Wrong Syl LA Ble and Insistent Terminology, with which it sometimes overlaps.
NOTE: Saint Tropez actually is pronounced Tro-pay. "Trope" isn't, though, obviously.
Contrast No Pronunciation Guide. See also Uranus Is Showing.
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One A&W rootbeer commercial features a particularly clueless job candidate repeatedly referring to his interviewer as Mr. "Dumbass". Eventually, the interviewer states that his name (clearly visible on a nameplate as "Mr. DuMass") is actually pronounced "DOO-Mahss"note Which is itself incorrect, according to French-language rules. The final consonant is almost always silent; so in order to be pronounced the way the interviewer claimed, the name would have to be spelled "DuMasse".. Then he says behind the candidate's back, "What a dumbass."
In one commercial for Glade-scented candles, a woman tries to pass off her new candles as fancy foreign candles. She removes the label and attempts to throw it away, but struggles with the adhesive and it ends up sticking to her skirt in the vicinity of her rear end. After she responds to questioning about whether it was a Glade candle with, "No, it's, uh, French. From France," one of her friends pulls the label off of her and sarcastically asks, "Haven't you ever heard of glah-DAY?"
This ad for the Hyundai Genesis luxury sedan ends with "Win one little award, and everyone gets your name right. It's pronounced "HOHN-day", like Sunday." In the UK, the adverts actually pronounce it "High-OON-die". In Korean, it's "HYUN-dae." ("Hyun" being one syllable, kind of like "Fun" but actually a vowel sound that's halfway between "ah" and "oh", and the "dae" being pronounced the same as "day", though Koreans have heard foreigners used to Japanese names say it as "die" so often, they occasionally say it that way, too, at least when speaking English).
McDonald's is running a couple of commercials for their McCafé coffee drink which has random words getting an "é" pronounced "a" stuck on the end, with whispering voices humming "a, a, a, a" in the background. For example: They show a man hosing down his car in his driveway. He looks bored. The voiceover says "Rinse." But when the guy takes a sip of his McCafé, he feels much livelier, and the voiceover says "Rin-SAY."
A series of ads several years ago for the everything-shop Argos featured a (mysteriously Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen-esque) rock star (played by Richard E. Grant) making "helpful" suggestions to his PA (played by Julia Sawalha) about how to have his flat decorated. As soon as he leaves, she calls up the store and they soon deliver furniture, wall hangings and so on. When he returns, he's impressed and inquires as to who she hired to decorate the place. She casually says "Argos", but then backpedals, trying to impress him, saying that of course she was referring to a Lithuanian designer called "Argús" (AHR-goos).
Lampshaded in a Kiwibank advert where an Australian banker tries to say the town-name Whakatane (properly "fah-cah-tah-neigh") as "whack-a-tain"
Subverted by this commercial for Labatt Blue Light.
Just about any lingerie advert that uses the pronunciation "lohn-zher-ay." The correct French pronunciation is closer to "lan-zher-ee."
Target department stores did an ad that co-opted the commonly-used facetious pronunciation of "Tar-ZHAY" to jokingly act posh.
The blaxploitation-satire movie I'm Gonna Git You Sucka had a TV ad with classical music and a PBS-grade announcer presenting it as a highbrow art film with the title "I Am Going to Get You, Sucker".
A UK advert for Tesco featured a Mrs. Belcher, who insisted "It's pronounced 'Bell-SHARE', actually," though no one seemed to believe her.
On loaves of Bimbo's bread, the slogan "Say beem-bo!" is displayed prominently, because the original name is Italian, where 'Bimbo' is the diminutive of 'bambino', or child.
An advert in Sweden for Swedish clothes manufacturer Blåkläder (pronounced "Bloh-klay-der") featured an American who consistently mispronounced it as "Black-lah-der". After about 30 seconds of this, a Swedish guy approaches him and says "Say after me: Blåkläder!" The guy responds "That's what I said. Black-lah-der!"
Italian-American restauranteur Ettore Boiardi opted to market his canned food line under the name "Chef Boy-Ar-Dee", later Boyardee, specifically to avert this trope's confusing aspects. (He also Anglicized his first name to "Hector").
The most common American pronunciation still gets it wrong, by putting the Ac CENT Upon The Wrong Syl LA Ble. The 2013 commercials where they're actually saying his family name pronounce it slightly differently than the brand name (basically boy-AR-dee vs. BOY-ar-DEE).
The new cider—er, cidre—from Stella Artois is pronounced SEE-DRA.
In a Walmart StraightTalk commercial, a woman insists a certain vegetable is "absolutely pronounced ahn-deev" because of her supposed new riches after cutting her cell phone bill in half.
On the Sprint "Framily" commercials, the older son has a weird friend named Gordon who insists that his name is pronounced 'Gor-DAWN.'
Anime & Manga
In Haibane Renmei, one character corrects the fact that Rakka refers to him as Hiyoko, pointing out it's "Hyohko", with exaggerated emphasis on the "oh" sound to make the pronunciation difference clear.
In Umineko: When They Cry, French readers are usually baffled when they hear Ange's name pronounced "enjeh". You normally pronounce it ɑ̃ʒ, which in Japanese should have given something like "anju" (no, not that one). Maybe it was less pretty.
Stephan in Pokémon Best Wishes wants you to know it's "Stef-AHN", not "Steven" or "STEPH-an."
The words anime and manga themselves get this. In Japan, anime would be pronounced "AH-nee-may" not "ANN-im-ay" and manga would be pronounced "MAHN-guh" not "MANG-guh." In North America, while the correct pronunciation of "manga" is pretty common (it's about half-and-half with the incorrect pronunciation among fans), "anime" is almost universally pronounced incorrectly (even among fans pronouncing "manga" correctly). Although it's mostly out of habit, since the pronunciation is so ingrained in North American anime culture, the "correct" pronunciation can sound unusual.
Brian Regan has a comedy routine in which he has trouble remembering names, and he stresses the difficulty of making a mistake when somebody else's name is similar to another.
"Oh, hey there, Carolyn." "It's Caroline. It's Caroline, Brian." "It's Bri-awnh! Yes, my name is Brauaaagh! It's very hard to say my name correctly, because my name is Brynamengenjah! Can you say that? Very few can."
Dawn French had a bit where she would show off her new dress saying "It's by Pinay — J.C. Pinay"
Jimmy Carr had a joke where he mentioned how he read the word "chav" before actually hearing it, and thought it was pronounced "shav".
In one skit, Tim Wilson begins talking about hummus, which he pronounces "hoo-moos". After an audience member tells him that it's pronounced "hum-us", he defends himself by saying that his wife's Israeli and serves it all the time, then questions how much "hoo-moos" the audience member has eaten in his lifetime.
Key And Peele have this in the form of their "Substitute Teacher" skit, where a substitute teacher with a Hair-Trigger Temper mispronounces the name of every student (except one, the black kid that serves as the punch line) and flips out whenever he's corrected. Unusually for this trope these are all normal names with the normal proper pronunciations; the sub simply taught for many years in the inner city and thinks every name is a Ghetto Name and that the kids are hazing him when they correct him. "Balakay?" "...Do you mean Blake?"
Writer Christopher Priest added a recurring character named Dr. Vilain during his run on Steel. The doctor wasn't really evil, just ruthless, and would constantly remind people. "It's French, it's pronounced 'will-HAYN'". Of course, it's not pronounced like that in French. For the record, "vilain" does exist in French, but an accurate translation would be something like "naughty" or "ugly" (or even "peasant"), not exactly fitting for an evil alias.
Make no mistake, Victor Fries' last name is pronounced "Freeze" (off-topic, but just like Charles Fries of Fries Entertainment).
Now if only we can resolve whether it's "RAYSH" or "RAZZ"-al-Ghul. Word of God pronounces it "RAYSH" on one of the DC animated movie special features. And in this case, it's the character's actual creator: Denny O'Neil. And yet, the actual Arabic pronunciation is "RAZZ," which makes things confusing. Batman Begins follows this loosely and goes with "RAHZ". The people at DC are confusing the word "Ra's" with the letter "Resh", which is not even used in the spelling. Considering the character is from the Middle East/South Asia, has a name that is an actual Arabic phrase (with both correct spelling and grammar) and the foreign letter (represented by a ' in western writing) is barely audible when followed by a consonantnote The character (called the Hamza), is pronounced like a click in the throat and is mainly used to separate vowels the same way the letter N does in the English phrase "an apple"., pronouncing his name as "Raysh" is comparable to calling a South American character "el Hombre Roja" and pronouncing his name as "Al Khom-bre Row-ya".
An issue of The Batman Adventures had Commissioner Gordon seeking out a crime informant named "Wiesel". Gordon, like every other character this man had ever encountered, pronounces the name to rhyme with "weasel". He tries to tell Gordon that the accent is on the second syllable, but gets cut off.
In the Marvel Mangaverse, Benjamin Grimm's first name is pronounced as it is in Hebrew: "Ben-ya-MEEN". Johnatha goes out of her way to emphasize the unusual (to English speakers) pronunciation every time she talks about him, as an insult.
Ghost Rider: Heaven's on Fire features an Antichrist who actually goes by Anton Satan, pronouncing it [ʃatan] ("Shuh-TAN") like Miroslav Šatan of the Boston Bruins and Slovakia.
Hellblazer: John's last name is pronounced Constan-TYNE ("rhymes with 'fine'") in keeping with the British pronunciation, not the American Constan-TEEN that many fans often use. This gets a bit muddled when you consider the movie adaptation switched his nationality to American which means it should be pronounced Constan-TEEN for purposes of the film.
Even more confusing is that the TV version of the character, who is British, also uses the Constan-TEEN pronunciation.
In The Order of the Stick's prequel book Start of Darkness, Big Bad Xykon repeatedly corrects people who spell his name "Zykon"... even in their speech balloons. It's possible that the two names actually are pronounced differently, though.
Hellboy's father. His name is Professor Trevor Bruttenholm. It's pronounced 'Broom.'
Mi-Tse (villain from German comic Nick Knatterton) is not pronounced "Mieze" (typical name for cats in Germany).
According to Mykan the author of My Little Unicorn, Celesto's name is pronounced "CHE-les-tow".
Films — Animation
Megamind seems to have this as something of a Verbal Tic. Most notably, he pronounces Metro City as "Metrocity" (rhymes with atrocity) and School as Shool. Well, he is an alien, and one who was kicked out of school pretty early.
In the first Lilo & Stitch movie, one of the aliens mispronounces Earth as "Ee-Arth."
Happens in Hoodwinked when Twitchy pulls out the dynamite and goes "Dee-na-mee-tay. Hmm, must be Italian."
In Frozen, the Duke of Weselton insists it is pronounced "Wessel-ton" when everyone pronounces is "Weasel-town".
Films — Live-Action
Better Off Dead. When Lane Meyer (John Cusack) invites the French foreign exchange student from across the street to dinner, his mother, seeking to impress, serves exotic dishes like "Frahnch fries" and salad with "Frahnch dressing". And to drink: Peru! [Perrier]
Coincidentally in another Cusack film, Serendipity, his character continues to pronounce mignon as "minion" despite a Frenchman's protests to the contrary.
In the film The Bank Dick, W.C. Fields once played a character named "Sousé" and had to keep correcting people with "It's pronounced Sous-Ay! Accent grave over the e!"note Except that would be an accent aigu. The grave is this one, è. The pun doesn't really work nowadays, but back then souse was a slang term for a drunkard.
It's a Gift, in which W.C. Fields plays a shop owner Harold Bissonette, "Bis-son-NAY in front of the wife."
For the first third or so of Mel Brooks's Young Frankenstein, Frederick Frankenstein consistently corrects people's pronunciation of his surname: "Fraun-kon-shteen." This causes his assistant Igor to insist on "Eye-gor", and calling him "Froderick" instead of Frederick. Ultimately Frankenstein accepts the traditional way of pronouncing his name when he takes up the family trade - Eye-gor sticks with his.
Another Mel Brooks example: the protagonist of High Anxiety addresses his mentor as Professor Little Old Man (accent on Man), and is corrected: Little-Oldman (accent on Old).
Apparently, Mel Brooks really liked having fun with this one. Reversed in The Producers: "Jacques Lepideux... Jacques Lepideux... Jack Lapidus?"
An let's not forget Hedley Lamarr from Blazing Saddles. People tend to leave off the l in his first name.
At the end, when someone actually is talking about Hedy Lamarr, he still corrects them.
Honey Horneé in Wayne's World 2. It's pronounced "hor-NAY", but Garth calls her "Ms. Horny" even after hearing it pronounced correctly.
In The Comedy of Terrors, the central characters had several exchanges along these lines:
Gillie: Mr. Tremble... Trumbull:Trumbull! Gillie: But that's what I said.
In Corky Romano, the title character's FBI alias changes his surname to "Pissant" after a bumbling hacker misinterprets an insult as the answer to his question of what the name should be. It then becomes a running gag as Corky tries to convince people that it's pronounced "Pis-AHNT... it's y'know... French."
In the comedic slasher film Santa's Slay, when checking in at an airport, the attendant reads Santa's name as, "Mr. Satan", to which she is corrected. "Actually, it's pronounced Shuh-TAN."
Inverted in LA Story: Harris (Steve Martin) and his friends agree to meet at a trendy new restaurant whose name is pronounced "leed-YO", but when the scene shifts there, we see that it's actually spelled "L'Idiot", and that is the correct pronunciation in French.
The Last Airbender. Director M. Night Shyamalan instructed actors to pronounce several words ("Ong", "Ahvatar", "Soaka", "Ee-roh") as though their written forms followed transliteration conventions for Asian languages, rather than being intended to best approximate their actual pronunciation with conventional English spelling. Except "avatar" has long been an English word, and one can probably assume that the original creators of the animated series didn't have the voice actors incorrectly pronounce names they made up.
In The Comebacks, George Johnson insists his name is pronounced "Jorge Juanson" in a feeble attempt to accentuate his Latin heritage.
The Specials: Minute Man is constantly correcting people that it's "My-noot Man! Do I look like a soldier from the Revolutionary War? I don't think so! Am I wearing a three-cornered hat? No! I turn small. Think!"
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian has a security guard named Brandon who insists his name is pronounced "Brundon" despite being spelled with an A.
A Christmas Story: "Fra-gee-lay...that must be Italian." "Uh, I think that says 'fragile'." Even funnier as the Italians wouldn't even pronounce it like that.
True Grit: La Boeuf insists his last name is pronounced "La Beef", though that wouldn't be the French pronunciation.
In the French movie Mesrine: L'ennemi Public n°1, which is about the life and death of the famous French 70s gangster Jacques Mesrine, the title character is often annoyed that the media pronounce the s in his name. It's pronounced MEH-rine, (insert French curse word of choice)!
In The Third Man, Dr. Winkle has to keep reminding Martins that his name is actually pronounced 'Vinkle'. Of course, Martins seems prone to these Accidental Misnaming moments as he keeps referring to Major Calloway as 'Callahan'.
Major Calloway: That's Calloway, not "Callahan." I'm English, not Irish.
Gnorm of A Gnome Named Gnorm (akaUpworld) pronounces his name (and that of his race) with a hard G. He meets a human detective who corrects him, claiming that the G is silent. Gnorm first replies "No it's g-not!" but later doesn't object to being called "Norm".
At the end of My Fellow Americans, the Vice President, whom everybody thought was a bumbling idiot, reveals that it was all an act. Specifically, he calls that it was a "façade" but pronounces it "fah-KAY-d" instead of "fah-SAH-d".
In Crazy Stupid Love, several characters pronounce David Lindhagen's last name as "Lind-hey-gen", even after he corrects them that it is pronounced "Lind-hah-gen".
Also from the Tiffany Aching subseries: Roland de Chumsfanleigh, pronounced "Chuffley". Usually footnoted with, "It wasn't his fault."
One more Discworld example: Edward d'Eath. This is a Real Life surname, though. And originally almost always spelled "Death". The surname derives from men who played the character of Death in the medieval mystery plays each English town put on — the roles were lifelong and hereditary. The "d'Eath" or "d'Ath" construction is meant to make the name sound Norman French (and therefore snooty).
Lord Peter Wimsey has two middle names: Death and Bredon. The first is supposed to be pronounced "deeth". This actually matters in one of the novels. In Murder Must Advertise (and in at least one other story: "A Matter of Taste" perhaps?) he uses the pseudonym Death Bredon and remarks, more or less, "It's usually rhymed with teeth but I find it so much more fun to rhyme it with breath."
From Harry Potter: Word of God states that the entire "Her-MY-oh-nee" discussion in Goblet of Fire came about after J. K. Rowling learned that fans were having trouble pronouncing Hermione's name. And people still call her "Her-my-nee", probably because its smoother (and because of the films). It's still wrong, but better than pronunciation that was challenged: "Herm-my-own", "Her-mi-own", or even "Her-me-wan". But it is pronounced correctly, as "Her-MY-oh-nee", in the films. The third syllable is subtle, but present. The reason JKR inserted that scene was because the usual pronunciation people were coming up with was "Her-my-own".
From the first book, the "Wingardium Leviosa" scene during the "Halloween" chapter.
The author's name is properly pronounced "rolling" (she says in interviews "as in pin"), though is often mispronounced "RAU-ling".
In Anne of Avonlea, the second Anne of Green Gables book, the mother of two of Anne's students insists on their last name being pronounced Donnell, accent on the second syllable. (She also insists on her son being called St. Clair, although he prefers his birth name of Jacob. Poor kid.)
In the Victorian novel Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope, one character has the last name Slope, which the narrator informs us was originally Slop (he is supposed to be the descendant of a character from Tristram Shandy) but was changed for "euphony". The literary scholar John Sutherland posited that this may have been a self-deprecating reference to the author's own last name, which minus the "e" is a synonym for whore.
Inverted by Chris Cwej in the Doctor Who New Adventures novels. His surname should be pronounced "Shvay", but because everyone pronounces it "Kwedge" he's decided to go along with it. In his first appearance, although his new partner Roz Forrester pronounces it correctly, he corrects her.
In Don Juan by Lord Byron: In order to rhyme with such phrases as "new one" and "true one", the name Don Juan has to be pronounced "don-DZHU-an". It was pronounced that way in England during Byron's time.
Sneaking onto Imperial Center as a battered, partly cybernetic Imperial pilot, Wedge Antilles goes by Colonel Antar Roat, and has to tell a customs official that it's pronounced Ro-at. The buzz of the voice modulator — cybernetic, remember? — makes him all but unintelligible.
In M.L.N. Hanover's Black Sun's Daughter series, the main character, Jayné, is used to people mispronouncing her name as "Jane" when it is actually supposed to be pronounced "Zha-nay" in the French manner.
P. G. Wodehouse had lots of fun with this. A particularly memorable example would be in Indiscretions of Archie, when the title character explains that his surname, Moffam, is pronounced "Moom". To rhyme with Bloffingham.
Achilles from the Shadow series of the Enderverse is indeed pronounced as the French "A-sheel".
This provides a small plot point, when Sister Carlotta is asked by Colonel Graff about Achilles and pronounces it in the American fashion. Carlotta immediately calls him out on reading Bean's journal instead of hearing the name from Bean himself. And that's not even close to the worst mistake Graff makes regarding Achilles.
Also, Bonzo Madrid is not to be pronounced as "bone-saw" but in the Spanish way.
Robert A. Heinlein included an involved discussion of the real life surnames of Tolliver and Talliafero in The Cat Who Walks Through Walls. Essentially, the two names are related, but represent three surnames. Spelt the long way and pronounced the short way makes you old money southern. Spelt short and pronounced short makes you white trash. Spelt long and pronounced long makes you a damn carpetbagger yankee scum. There's some truth to this, as the name is prominent in the south, and should be pronounced "TOL - i - ver", and spelled "Taliaferro". So spelling it the short way means a period of ignorance, including illiteracy (hence white trash) in one's family history, while pronouncing it long means moneyed ignorance (a Johnny come lately, or one who's not from the south), while the correct pronunciation and spelling mean a long history with the name with no periods of illiteracy (old money).
Slightly different version in John Brunner's "Coincidence Day" with Madam Senior-Jones. That is her NAME. Her father insisted that HIS family was the ORIGINAL Joneses, and she finally added the "Senior-" to make sure everyone got the point. He also named his daughter "Madam" because it is used to address queens... being unaware of the unfortunate implications of the other sense of the word.
Lord Faucet from The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place insists his name is pronounced ''Fausay".
Russian translators of the Vorkosigan Saga went out of their way with this trope in order to Keep It Foreign. Up to converting Ivan Vorpatril from Russian (ee-ONE) to Scotsman (EYE-van).
Surfaces in A Brother's Price, where one of the Whistlers' neighboring families thinks the Whistlers put on airs by keeping the same pronunciations that the Queens use. Eldest Whistler prefers careful diction. A younger sister who fancies those neighbors imitates them to say, "Nay neighborly of 'er" and is corrected immediately.
In V.S. Naipul's novel The Mystic Masseur, the main character, born Ganesh Ramsumair, goes from a nobody to an influential politician. At this point, he starts going by G. Ramsay Muir
In the children's book Mr Stink and its television adaptation, the protagonist's family name is Crumb, but Mrs. Crumb, who is snooty and has political ambitions, insists on pronouncing it "Croome".
At the start of Stephen Leacock's parody of 18th century English romantic novels "Gertrude the Governess, or Simply Seventeen," we are informed that the setting is Knotacentinum Towers (pronounced Nosham Taws), home of Lord Knotacent (pronounced Lord Nosh)...
Hyacinth Bucket from Keeping Up Appearances insists that it's pronounced Boo-KAY. "The Bouquet residence! The lady of the house speaking!!" Note that her husband always pronounces it Bucket when she's not around. Well, the sisters are all named after flowers... Apparently inspired by a real-life acquaintance of Roy Clarke who insisted their surname ("Bottom") was pronounced "Bo-TOME".
In an episode of Happy Endings, the gang meets their old friend Shershow's fiance, and this exchange occurs.
Melinda: I am so happy that you guys were able to make it on such short notice. I'm leaving next week to deliver solar ovens to Hondooras.
Max: Wow, Shershow, you hit it out of the park. She's both beautiful and says Honduras the fancy way.
On the BBC's Wings, Lieutenant Gaylion's surname is pronounced GAY-lee-un. For much of the first season, Captain Triggers refers to him as gay-lion, pronouncing it as though he were a predatory cat that prefers the company of other male predatory cats.
In an episode of Frasier, after a family embarrassment, Niles Crane's wife Maris tries to save face by adding an accent to the "e" of her name on her memos, so that her name is read as Maris Crah-NAY.
The Colbert Report (Cole-BARE RE-pore). In one of the earlyadverts for the show, Colbert tries to justify it by saying that "It's French, bitch!" Colbert himself has said that the pronunciation is a way for us to tell the difference between his real personality (by pronouncing the T) and his stage personality (not pronouncing it).
A common Running Gag involves the particularly hirsute background character "Dr. Beardface". It seems like a nickname until Dr. Beardfacé corrects them that it's "Beard-FA-SAY, dammit!"
Keith Dudemeister's last name is from German, properly pronounced "Doo-de-MY-ster". Keith and Elliot have both said it means "Master of Dudes".
A Saturday Night Live sketch involved a couple trying to decide on a name for their expected child; the husband ends up rejecting practically every common name because it's too prone to being mocked. It's revealed at the end of the sketch that the husband's name is "Asswipe"... pronounced "ahs-WEE-pay".
Another sketch has Jon Hamm and singer Michael Bublé doing a TV spot for their new restaurant that serves "fine pork dishes and sparkling Champagne," Hamm & Bublé. Jon pronounces Michael's last name as "BUH-blee." Michael corrects him: "Actually, it's pronounced BOO-blay," but Jon counters, "Well, boo-BLAY doesn't work, so now it's pronounced BUH-blee."note While Jon is busy delivering an order to a table, Michael explains (to the tune of "Haven't Met You Yet") that a drunk Jon kidnapped him and he's being forced to participate in this venture.
Dr. Spaceman (who, as it turns out, is a certified — or rather uncertified — quack) pronounces his name "spa-CHEMM-'n". So does everyone else except resident Cloudcuckoolander Tracy Jordan, who calls him "Doctor Space-man."
Subverted later on with Jeffrey Weinerslav, a human resources sexual harassment councilor, who assures Liz that his name is not "Weiner-slahv" but "Weiner-slave", and another time, when Liz called an NBC page "Ah-mohn-daah", only to be corrected "It's... Amanda".
In another episode, Jack says he can't remember the name of the black kid on Community. Liz informs him it's Don-AHLD Glover.
At one point Toofer gets put in the writers' punishment corner because he said, "Time to end the char-ahd and adjust my shed-ule to buy a new vahse."
Rik Mayall's character on The New Statesman, Alan Bastard, spells his surname "b'Stard" just to make sure everyone pronounces it the way he prefers.
Mr. Looney ("Loo-NAY. It's French."). This one actually would be pronounced like that in Frenchnote Just like Mickey Mouse is pronounced "Mee-kay", though the French dub simply uses the US pronunciation for all names anyway.
Steve Urkel's "cool" transformation, Stefan Urquelle.
Guy Secretan from Green Wing went to Whiteleaf Public School, but call it that and face his wrath: it's pronounced Wit-lehf.
Also appears with the suspiciously rare sport Guyball (pronounced Gee-ball) which may or may not be completely made up by Guy.
Torchwood mentions the "estate agent pronunciation" of the Cardiff district of Splott. "Splowe" is a reasonable approximation of the estate agent pronunciation. The real pronunciation is phonetic.
Summer Heights High Jamie Louise King adds an apostrophe to her name “in year 8”, and becomes Ja’mie. Pronounced “Juh-May”
Warren Buffett has appeared several times on All My Children since the early 90s. Opal always pronounces it Warren BOO-fay.
Are You Afraid of the Dark? has two recurring characters who play to this trope. The first (and definitely the most memorable) was Doctor Vink ("with a vvvuh, vvvuh!") who was constantly referred to as "Doctor Fink". The other (and more in line with the trope) was Sardo, who would constantly berate people for emphasizing his name's first syllable, as well as adding the honorific ("It's Sardo! No "mister", accent on the do!"). The two actually met in one episode (and were surprisingly slashy...).
Shaun Micallef played with this once in a sketch about Dracula: (heavy Romanian accent) "It is actually pronounced, Dra-coo-la."
Bertram Wooster, from Jeeves and Wooster, always has his name pronounced like Birdie Wooster (rhyming with rooster) by the American characters on the show. (Usually British actors pretending to be American.)
Parodied on an episode of QI. After Rich Hall suggested the existence of a town called "Satanismymaster-on-Rye", Bill Bailey claimed that the correct pronunciation was "Simster".
The title of the New Orleans-set HBO series Treme is pronounced "Tre-MAY", and is based on a real place in The Big Easy.
An ad for Psych had Gus find a number for "Dr. Kissyface" on Shawn's cell phone. "It's Dr. Kissy-FAH-chay," Shawn insists. At the end of the ad, Gus has called the number in disbelief, only to hang up in embarrassment when he gets a receptionist cheerfully answer, "Dr. Kissy-FAH-chay's office."
Grunchlk, a character in two episodes of Farscape, as well as the Made-For-TV movie Peacekeeper Wars. Despite stating several times that it's pronounced "GROON-shlick," the crew still pronounces it wrong; probably because they don't care for him.
One of Crichton's hats is his utter inability (or unwillingness) to pronounce alien names correctly. This only serves to enforce the "dumb human" stereotype many have of him, despite the fact that he's easily the smartest person on the ship (he has a degree in astrophysics and designed and built Farscape One). At least nobody tries to pronounce his name as "Kreechton", but that would require the aliens to be able to read English.
In Monty Python's Flying Circus, there is a sketch about a man whose name is spelled "Raymond Luxury Yacht", but is actually pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove". In typical Python style, this is a parody, and the man is subsequently mocked and humiliated by the frustrated interviewer.
On Arrested Development, Maeby convinces her prospective boyfriend, Steve Holt, that her mom is actually a man. She then buys her mother a shirt, with "Shemale" emblazoned across the chest. As her mom sees it, Maeby responds, "It's a she-mah-lay!"
An example on the earlier Star Trek: The Next Generation: in Doctor Pulaski's first episode, she calls Data "Data", with a short A (dah-tah). He corrects her, as it is "Data" with a long A (day-tah). She asks what the difference is. He replies "One is my name, the other is not." Which is a Development Gag, since in the original series bible, the "correct" pronunciation was the other way around.
One of the jokes on Kath and Kim involved the "correct" pronunciation of "Chardonnay" as "CAR-d'nay", because "it's French: the H is silent".
In a different episode, Joey pretends to own the Porsche parked right outside their apartment building, and every time someone says Porsche, he corrects them "It's por-SHUH!".
In Community, Britta insists the proper pronunciation for bagel is "BAG-uhl".
In the In Living Color! skit "Spike's Joint", Spike Lee (Tommy Davidson) tells his sister Joie (T'Keyah Crystal Keymah) that now that they're back in Brooklyn, her name is pronounced "Joy", not "Jwah".
"It's not Jac-KAY (Jackée), all right? It's JACKIE. It's not Shah-DAY (Sade), all right? It's SADIE! What you gonna call me next, Spi-kay?"
Captain George Mainwaring in the British Sitcom Dad's Army, whose name is pronounced "Man-er-ing". This is lampshaded in later series when the Welsh Pvt. Cheeseman joins the platoon, as he pronounces the captain's name phonetically - "Mane-ware-ing". As does Mainwaring's rival Captain Square, much to Mainwaring's frustration. The snobbish, upper-class Square may be doing this deliberately to emphasise Mainwaring's lower-middle-class background.
In the third and final episode of the prequel Only Fools and HorsesRock and Chips, "The Frog and the Pussycat", Freddie Robdal manages to allay Joannie Trotter's (perfectly correct) suspicion that a diamond ring in a box from "Margate Jewellers" is stolen from a jeweler's shop in Margate by claiming it is the work of a French jeweler pronounced "Mar-jay".
Inverted in a sketch on The Two Ronnies where one character very carefully pronounces a newcomer's name as 'de Ath', only to be cheerfully told that it is, in fact, pronounced 'Death'.
The miniseries adaptation of Tales of the City includes dialog about the social embarrassment caused by not knowing the traditional correct pronunciation of Beauchamp's name ("beecham").
Oliver Trask uses this to woo Marissa Cooper in The O.C., pronouncing mojito and crudités with a Spanish and French inflection, respectively.
Parodied in a sketch on A Bit of Fry and Laurie, featuring a man whose last name is pronounced by dropping an object onto a desk. "It's as it sounds." It's spelled Nippl-hyphen-e. He's very offended when called "Mr. Nipple." Worse, his address (22 ..., King's Lynn) "..." is pronounced by doing a soft-shoe dance step and slapping you in the face.Just watch it.
In Bones, episode "Mayhem on a Cross", crime evidence was found in the possession of a Norwegian black metal band named Skalle (Norwegian for skull). Dr. Brennan keeps correcting co-workers, she insists on "Skall-eh" pronunciation, up to the point where Cam avoids using "skalle" in her sentence, she uses pronoun "they" rather. Hilarious.
When asked if she speaks Norwegian, Bones claims she knows how to say "skull" in any language.
The Stargate franchise is a serial offender, while there are many accepted pronunciations of the name Daedalus, "Dead-alus" is not one of them. Only once in the series did anyone ever pronounce it right and that guest character never appeared again. Obviously he didn't get the wrong pronunciation key with his script like the rest of the cast.
Not so; "Dead-alus" is actually correct, or at any rate in accordance with the older traditional English pronunciation, which had a rule shortening original Greek or Latin long vowels in words of this shape ("stamina" is another example - the "a" is long in Latin.) The Other Wiki has this right.
They also constantly mispronounce "Goa'uld" as "goo-ld", to the point where someone who's unfamiliar with the correct spelling writes a report to Senator Kinsey with "Gould" in it. Most main characters pronounce it like that, with the exception of Teal'c, an alien. Even the resident linguist Daniel Jackson pronounces it incorrectly, which is unforgivable.
The implication is that they're doing it intentionally to disrespect the evil alien overlords posing as gods. None of them are ever confused by others who pronounce it correctly, and Colonel O'Neill of all people corrects Senator McKenzie (which, not in line with this trope, is pronounced as written); apparently Jack likes said evil alien overlords more than the resident Obstructive Bureaucrat.
Not entirely this trope, but Daniel Jackson (to reiterate, a linguist with a Ph.D. fluent in dozens of languages) pronounces the name of Captain Daria Voronkova as "Captain Voronkov".
In the Doctor Who two-parter "The Sontaran Stratagem"/"The Poison Sky", it's Son-TAR-ans, not SON-ter-uhns.
Subverted in Drake & Josh, where during a rainstorm, Josh's dad tells off one of a myriad houseguests for pronouncing "touché" with the correct French accent.
Kelly meets the man who made her parents' couch. His name is "Mary" but he corrected her, insisting it's "Mar-AY". She then comments about being Bus-AY.
Kelly seems to have a lot of trouble with pronunciation generally. In the episode where a fitness guru tries to get the Bundys to exercise and eat more healthily, she looks at his jar of "wheat germ" and pronounces it with a hard g.
When she was a weather girl, she pronounced their city as "CHICK-uh-go" and read another Midwestern city as "Street Louis."
Mystery Science Theater 3000 tends to have a field day with this. In Puma Man, Donald Pleasence's character keeps pronouncing the hero's name as "Pyew-ma" Man, leading to Mike and the Bots to launching into various mocking riffs. As well, the Hamlet episode has Tom renaming himself "Htom Serveaux", leading Crow to reply in frustration, "Hey, Htom, why don't you hlick me?"
On a short dealing with winter sports, the announcer says that skiing is correctly pronounced "she-ing" - Joel replies "Yeah? Well, you're full of skit!" Tom reads the title card "Cross Country Sheing Amid Skenes of Winter Magnifishence in Sanada's Shnow-Sovered Playgroundshs!"
On MLB Network's show Intentional Talk, a running gag arises from the multiple ways to pronounce the "Got Heeeeem!"note an imitation of an excited broadcaster announcing an out segment. Variations have included "Got Him," "Goatem," "Got Hema," Gotta Himma," and many more especially that the segment is now usually preceded by a fan or MLB player saying the segment's title.
Key And Peele inverts this in the substitute teacher sketch - a black Inner City School teacher is angered when calling roll because his students not only fail to recognize his overstyled pronunciations of their names but repeatedly insist on the standard ones. ?He thinks they're pranking him...
One The Golden Girls episode had a character who insisted his name, Pfeiffer, was actually "Puh-Feiffer" with the P pronounced.
On the Singaporean parody TV show The Noose, news correspondent Jacques Ooi subverts this by insisting that his first name be pronounced "Jackass".
In Storage Wars, the Harris Twins debate about the pronunciation of the words "badminton" ("bad-min-ton" or "bad-min-tuhn") and Bocce ("Bow-chee" or "Buh-chee").
In the second "Comics Come Home" stand-up special, Eddie Brill was talking about hockey player Patrick Roy, which is pronounced "Patrick Rwa".
Eddie: Your name is "Roy", pal, cut the crap.
Russel Berger on Royal Pains pronounces his last name "Ber-jay" in a very posh French accent. Except for when he gets fired from his job as an interior designer, in which case he pronounces it like "burger" until he's given a freelance job, in which case he goes back to the French.
Agnetha of ABBA's name is supposed to pronounced like 'An-yeh-ta', but everyone from Britain (and probably other places) pronounces it 'Ag-nee-tha' anyway. It isn't quite helped that she added the 'h' to her name because she liked the way it looked. When ABBA first were marketed overseas, she was referred to as Anna, but this caused confusion with Anni-Frid (Frida), so it never stuck.
The synthesizer manufacturer Moog rhymes with "vogue." Robert Moog pronounced his name as in original German, "mowg". This is used as a shibboleth amongst hard core synthesizer fans.
"Björk" is actually pronounced "Byerk", which the Icelandic singer has pointed out rhymes with "jerk".
Classical composer Aaron Copland's name is actually pronounced "Air-un Cope-lund". It is rare to find anyone called Aaron that pronounces their first name in this old fashioned way anymore, instead being pronounced like "Ah-ron".
Old-school announcer Gordon Solie, trying to class things up, would pronounce "Suplex" as "Souplay". (It's pronounced "souplay" in amateur wrestling, partly because of the sport's European origins.)
Japanese wrestler Taka Michinoku's name is often typed TAKA Michinoku. (In Japan, his character used to insist that the "Taka" be in "American letters", while the "Michinoku" (like most other names) was printed in Kanji.) While it isn't pronunciation per se, it is a character trying to distinguish himself and "social climb" through a name difference.
This trope might also apply to KENTA (Kenta Kobayashi, not to be confused with Kenta Kobashi) and CIMA (Nobuhiko Oshima), who're referred to as such, never using kanji or katakana. Averted by Shingo Takagi in Japan (where his name kanji are used), but he fell right into it in ROH where he was billed as SHINGO.
This is fairly common in Japanese wrestling, and generally only done by heels.
John Cena is partly of Italian descent, and his last name, which means "supper," should really be pronounced "Chayna." But Santino Marella, who in Kayfabe is an Italian national, has been the only one to not pronounce it "Seena."
Norman Smiley of WCW once insisted that, since he was British, his last name should be pronounced "Smee-LAY." Especially ridiculous since the British pronunciation of that name is, in fact, exactly the same as the American.
Stacy Keibler spent her entire career getting called "Keebler", just like the baked goods company. Apparently, this is how her family has always pronounced their name. However, in German (the language the name seems to come from) it would be pronounced "KYE-bler."
It's become common for Superstars with Spanish names to enter arenas with their names pronounced exactly as they would be in Spanish, even if spoken by a non-Hispanic announcer. Thus, Rey Mysterio has gone from "Ray Misteereeo" to "Ray Meestairreeo." (Announcer Lilian Garcia, being something of a language buff, goes even further, perfectly mimicking the accent of whichever language the Superstar's name is derived from, whether English, Spanish, Italian, or whatever.)
Fandango's gimmick revolves around refusing to wrestle against anyone unless people pronounce his name right (Fahn-Dahn-Gohh, not Fan-Dang-Oh). He even corrected the ring announcer after he had taken a savage beating!
Fandango: No, no, no. It's Faaaaaaaaahn-daaaaaaaaaahn-gooooooooooh. You have to breathe the A's.
In a story from The Book of Pooh called "Chez Piglet," Rabbit convinces Piglet to open a restaurant called Chez Piglet, pronounced "Chay Piglay." He sings a song about all of the dishes being served at the restaurant, ending with "peanut butter and jel-lay."
The host of That Puppet Game Show is Dougie Colon, who insists on his surname being pronounced "Cologne". Ian the Armadillo always pronounces it "Colon", and is convinced that Dougie finds this endearing.
The bulette, whose name is "pronounced Boo-lay." If it were really a French word, that is exactly how it wouldn't be pronounced. Apparently, it's now back to being the "bullet", as the person who wrote the 2nd Edition caption was being pretentious. In his last podcast before he left Wizards of the Coast, Dave Noonan joked that he pronounces it "land shark."
There are also the evil fish-men called the sahuagin, which is frequently pronounced "sa-HWA-gin" but is officially (according to the sourcebook The Sea Devils) supposed to be "sa-HOO-a-gin".
Also in the Monstrous Manual are the tabaxi, panther-like humanoids who are pronounced "ta-BAX-ee" or "tah-BAHSH-ee" depending on the clan.
Writers for D&D tend to have lots of pronunciation misconceptions. It's listed in the Player's Handbook that the coup de grace action (correctly pronounced coo-duh-grahss, meaning strike of mercy) should be pronounced "coo-day-grah" (translated roughly as "bowl of fat"). You'd think they would check before printing it in the book. Not to mention that this particular mistake has been repeated over several editions of the game.
One larp system dealt with the constant mispronunciation by introducing "coo-de-grah" as an actual call (as well as coup de grace) — effect: "your target is covered in butter and cannot be grappled for the remainder of combat, now stop being a moron and get your calls right!" Sadly this rule was open to abuse and had to be removed.
In the future setting of Chaos, the pronunciation of the word "meme" (memes have become an even much more important concept in the future than they are today) has changed to "mem" (rhymes with "gem"), as opposed to today's "meem" (rhymes with "dream").
Rifts has an alien race called the Xiticix. The books state it is meant to be pronounced "zeye-TICK-icks," but gaming groups (as well as many staff members at Palladium Books) almost never get the pronunciation right. As an example, Kevin Siembieda mentioned that his father called them "City Chicks." Siembieda has said that he dislikes the name himself, but they were named by the artist who did the concept art for them, so he kept it.
As very little guidance (save various video games) exists to the pronunciation of a variety of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 names, players tend to call them as they see them.
There has been some debate of the pronunciation of the Chaos God Tzeentch, with most people agreeing it to be a single syllable with a "tz'" hissing sound following by "zeentch" (as if the speaker were going to say "Zeentch", but had their tongue in a position to make a "T" sound), but others pronounce it "TER-zeentch", "Teh-ZEENTCH", "Teh-ZENCH", "Zench" or "Tench" in rough order of reading ability. As far as Tzeentch goes, it's explicitly said in various fluff sources that (in both fantasy and 40K) different cults and cultures have different pronunciations — indeed often different names — for the different Chaos gods. Which, makes sense, given that they're the gods of freakin' Chaos.
Similarly with "lasgun" or "lascannon", most say "Laz", but a few go by the root of "Laser" and pronounce them as "Layz-guns". This was noted among some gaming communities as a point of contention in the otherwise well-received Dawn of War series, where Imperial Guardsmen mentioned "Layzguns", although not as egregious as the pronouncing of the Greek word "Chimera" as "Shimmerer"...
Apparently it is Catachan is cat-a-can, no idea why.
Wicked: "My name is GAH-linda, with a GAH!" (and later, ""In honor of Dr. Dillmond, I officially change my name! From now on, I will be known as Glinda, without the GAH, because that's how he always pronounced it.")
In H.M.S. Pinafore the first name of the character Ralph Rackstraw is pronounced Rafe, as was usual in the UK. (The name is rhymed with "waif" in "A many years ago.")
In Ruddigore, Robin Oakapple's real first name is always pronounced "Rivven" except once, in the second act opening song:
With greater precision (Without the elision), Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd—ha! ha!
Pop/Buddy does this all throughout We Will Rock You, most memorably with "Harley-Davidson" and "video tape".
In "Sonatina" from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Admiral Cockburn corrects the pronunciation of his name:
And "Co'burn", not "Cockburn"; Though for that you are excused. 'Tis spelled c-o-c-k But only half the cock is used.
Derby [pronounced "DAR-bee"] in Bully. Which is how you pronounce the horse race, the city, or half of the county Derbyshire (DAR-bee-shur) in England.
Charmles in Dragon Quest VIII refers to himself as "Sharm-LAY". He's the only one who does — everyone calls him "CHARM-ulz", or Charmless when he's not looking.
The character of Dudley Cholmondely in Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon. His name is pronounced "Chumley"; justified in that "Cholmondely" is actually pronounced that way (see the Discworld example above).
Qix = "Kicks". On the other hand, Japan pronounces it "Quicks" when written in katakana
Taito (the company that released the above game) is pronounced "TIE-to", and not "tay-to".
Ys is pronounced either "ease" or to rhyme with "peace" (or "yeece" as in the localization of Ys VI). Not "wise". (The spurious apostrophe the Sega Master System version added doesn't help at all.)
Faxanadu is pronounced "fah-ZAN-uh-doo", not "faks-AN-uh-doo", being short for Famicom Xanadu.
The obscure adventure Gene Machine features the main character Pierce Featherstonehaugh, pronounced Fanshaw. The phonetic variant is used for most of the game. The name is Truth in Television, though.
Galaga (GAL-a-ga), similarly to how you would pronounce "Gallagher" (the comedian best known for his "Sledge-O-Matic" routine)
Because of Japanese double consonants, Tekken is pronounced "Tek-KEN", and not "TEK-ken".
Unlike English and many other languages, Japanese doesn't place emphasis on one particular syllable in a word. Instead, each syllable is supposed to be pronounced clearly and with emphasis.
Yes and no. Japanese doesn't have loud stressed syllables (the "emphasis" part) or vowel reduction (the "clear" part) as in English. But it does have a pitch accent ("stressed" syllables are a downstep in the pitch of the sentence). In an English pronunciation of a Japanese word it'd be only natural to render the pitch accent as a normal English stress.
Metroid: It's not "Zeebs", or "Zeebees", or even "Zeebus", it's "ZEH-behs".
The villain of the third season of Telltale GamesSam & Max: Freelance Police is an albino gorilla from space named General Skun-ka'pe (skoon-KAH-pay), so naturally our heroes call him "Skunk Ape". However, everyone understands who they mean, and no one corrects them.
Not mentioned in the games themselves, but "Pokémon" is pronounced po-KEH-mon. Not po-kee-mon, not po-kay-mon, not po-kee-man, and not po-kay-man. Yeah, the accent over the e makes all the difference* The romanization of Pokémon adds the accent so that e will be pronounced similarly to résumé or café. And for the love of Arceus, that's an o at the end of the word. Not an a. And po-kuh-mon, that's also a common mispronunciation of the franchise's name. In fact, North Americans tend to use the silly-sounding po-kee-mon or po-kay-mon more, while the Brits often say it as po-kuh-mon (although po-kuh-mon is also spoken quite a bit by Americans, including older American Pokémon fans).
And then there are some of the Pokémon themselves whom people from the games and anime have trouble deciding pronunciation on. For example, Bonsly alternated on being called "bonz-lee" or "bonz-lie", before it seemed settled on the latter. Arceus was either "Ar-see-us","Ar-say-us" or "Ar-kee-us" at times. Then there are other glaring mistakes, such as how the announcer in Stadium can call Ekans "Ee-kenz" when the mini-game featuring Ekans in Stadium 1 and the characters in the anime referred to it as "eh-kanz". (Or perhaps there's an in-universe potayto-potahto dialect difference.)
In the series, there's a running joke about the pronunciation of Guybrush Threepwood's name. It should be noted that most of the people who pronounce Guybrush's name wrong are doing it on purpose as a way of showing their disrespect for him. Rise of the Pirate God even lampshades it.
Galeb: Don't worry, Carniferouswood— Guybrush: Oh, come on, that doesn't even sound like "Threepwood."
Also, in Tales of Monkey Island the Marquis De Singe (and Joaquin D'Oro) pronounces his own name as "deh SANJ" (with the short "a" sound in "apple"), and the Voodoo Lady and Hemlock McGee pronounce the name as "day SAHNJ" (with the "a" pronunciation in "father"). Guybrush and Morgan LeFlay, on the other hand, pronounce De Singe's name poorly, coming out only as "deh SIHNJ", like the word "SIHN-jee" without the "ee", or like the English word "singe". It's possible this may have been them pulling a Malicious Misnaming with him, though. The correct pronunciation, incidentally, is how he says it himself, and it means "of Monkey" (not "of the Monkey", that would be "du Singe") in French.
Tales also has every single character pronounce "La Esponja Grande" with "esponja" pronounced with a J sound (es-pon-JA). Not until the very end of the final episode does Elaine FINALLY say "Actually, it's pronounced 'es-pon-HA' with an 'H' sound at the end?"
And of those who pronounce the word "Caribbean" as "CA-ri-BEE-an", only Morgan pronounces it as "cuh-RIH-bee-an".
It's a good thing the game has voice acting, otherwise everyone would be pronouncing the store name "Junes" as "Joonz". The correct pronunciation is "Joo-NESS".
Similarly, Rise is pronounced "Ree-Say" rather than rhyming with "Size".
The MMORPG RuneScape has lots of odd names that had remained unexplained in terms of pronunciation for numerous years; forcing players to use whatever they considered correct. When the game developers begun to explain the REAL pronunciations, needless to say, people got a little confused. It all came down to the creation of an actual official pronunciation guide to patch up the confusion. Good example is the infamous "Ardougne" pronunciation. "Arr-DOYN"!
Chrono Trigger: It's "Ay-la", not "Eye-la" (the katakana for her name is Eira).
Final Fantasy IV: Cecil is officially pronounced "Seh-sul"note which is the British pronounciation of the name.
The title of the Toaplan shmup V-V is pronounced "V five" according to the furigana.
In Fallout: New Vegas, Caesar is pronounced in the Latin form "Kai-Sarr" by members of Caesar's Legion while most other characters simply call him See-Zer.
Chinese names tends to be mispronounced. Even Dynasty Warriors and other games tends to call them wrong.
In Dark Cloud, which predates Dynasty Warriors 3, "Xiao" can be pronounced as "Zya-oh", "Zee-oh", "Tsia-oh" or "Tsia-ow". It was supposed to be called "Shao". Didn't help that it's an uncommon name for an Asian group, which calls it "Tsia-ow".
Cao Cao and Cao Pi were called "Cow Cow" and "Cow Pi" until Dynasty Warriors 6, while it's supposed to be called "Tsao Tsao" and "Tsao Pi"
Lu Bu, is called "Lu" as in the "LO" in Lose, where it's supposed to be called "Lee" Bu.
Mortal Kombat has several characters with Chinese-sounding names that are all pronounced wrong. (Liu Kang, Quan Chi, Shang Tsung, Kung Lao) For instance, "Liu Kang" is pronounced "Loo Kayng" when it would actually be pronounced closer to "Lee-oo Kong."
Neverwinter Nights 2 suffers from this. Examples include: 'Qara' pronounced as 'KWAH-rah'; 'Katalmach' pronounced as 'Ka-tal-MAK' (where it should be pronounced 'Ka-tal-MAKH' or 'Ka-tal-MACH'); 'Kalach-Cha' pronounced as 'Kalak-CHA' where it should be pronounced as 'Kalach-CHA'...
Apparently, for the longest time, some people pronounced "Sega" as "Sea-ga". This is due to the fact that in Italy, it was (and still is) pronounced "Sea-ga"; this is because in Italian, "Say-ga" is slang for the act of male masturbation.
The protagonist of the indie adventure game Dominique Pamplemousse in "It's All Over Once the Fat Lady Sings!" occasionally has to remind people that her last name is pronounced "Pamp-le-moose".
Strong Bad did this for Illinois ("Eel-ee-nwah"). He also calls Texas "Tejas", pronounces "California" the Spanish way, etc. "Eel-ee-nwah" is pretty much how it's pronounced in French, though. It's a French adaptation of an Algonquin word. The silent 's' was definitely added by the French. It was probably pronounced something like "Eel-ee-nee-weh".
He also (at least once) pronounced Ohio "OH-HEE-OH". This could be a subtle, running gag about him making just as many goofs as he corrects in his SB-Emails or a part of his oft-childish personality and his accent.
In another episode he read "Kelly, USA" as "Kelly Usa" and referred to her as an "exotic lady from the far east".
In the last episodes of The Strangerhood it's revealed that Nikki's name is actually pronounced Nik-kay.
In Red vs. Blue Reconstruction, a soldier sent to retrieve Caboose is named Jones, however, his commander pronounces it "Jo-ah-nes", annoying Jones ("It's a really common name!"). Later in Recreation, CT tells one of his mooks "Great shot Jones!"; the mook responds "Thanks, but it's actually pronounced Jo-ah-nes, Sir!".
The Irate Gamer goes by the name Chris Bores (he typically pronounces it "boar-es" rather than the expected pronunciation).
In Housepets!, Bino's name is pronounced "BAI-no" and not "BEE-no", though Rick has stated that he doesn't really care how you pronounce it unless it ever spawns something with spoken words.
Basic Instructions once did a strip entitled "How to Pronounce 'Oregon'", including the statement "You can remember it by thinking 'I'll defend myself with a knife OR A GUN'" and claiming that the "OR-eh-GONE" pronunciation was wrong.
A running joke in the "Jack and Dean" videos involves Dean pronouncing Facebook "Fack-ee-book" for the sole purpose of annoying Jack.
Pulaski's insistence on mispronouncing "Day-ta" as "Da-tuh". Chuck notes this is akin to calling the ship the USS Enter-prez-say.
He's infuriated with the stories that Stuart Baird kept mispronouncing Levar Burton's name on the set of Nemesis, especially since Burton was far more qualified to direct the movie than him.
Pokes fun at the early attempts to highlight Chakotay as a Native American with an ethnic pronunciation of his name.
Torres: I've never found your twisted sense of humour funny, Cha-KOT-ay
Chuck: Did she just call him "Chocolate Day"?
In his review of Threshold, he explained how you pronounce niche in American English. And if some biche doesn't like it... well that's their problem.
In Retsupurae, a running gag is that Slowbeef will pronounce Mario's name "Mehrio", and has sometimes "corrected" himself when pronouncing it in the conventional manner.
Foreshadowing in Demo Reel, as the family who... take Donnie in get his chosen last name wrong (it's Du-pray and they say it Du-pree). It's a sign that they're not as caring about him as they first seem.
Nerd³ regularly mispronounces certain words deliberately (usually). Regulars include pronouncing gym as 'gime', and refusing to learn the correct pronunciation of 'cassowary' in his Far Cry 3Let's Play.
In the Looney Tunes short "To Hare Is Human", Wile E. Coyote introduces himself to Bugs Bunny as "Wile E. Coy-OH-Tay".
In Hercules, god-of-where-three-roads-meet Trivia keeps having to tell people "Actually, it's 'try-VEE-ah'." Unfortunately this is a SLIGHT slip-up — Trivia in actual mythology was female and a ROMAN goddess. Her name would have been pronounced something like "tree-wee-ah".
Used in Kim Possible, when Kim meets her brothers' guidance counselor.
On King of the Hill, Rad Thibodeaux, a "self-proclaimed genius", pronounces his last name as "Thi-ba-DAY-oks." This leads to Hank attempting to correct him (Thibodeaux is French — a very common Cajun name pronounced like Hank says):
Hank: Isn't that pronounced "Tib-a-do?" Rad: Well, you know, sometimes, by mistake.
Inverted when Moe makes fun of Homer for Frenchly pronouncing garage as "ga-RAJ" (the correct way in America). Moe prefers the term "car hole".
Marge's country club friends Karen, Gillian, Elizabeth, Patricia, and Susan all pronounced their names differently than the norm.
There's also Krabappel which is pronounced "Cruh-BAW-pull". Despite coming up with numerous insulting nicknames for her, none of her students ever think to call her "crab-apple". In one episode, there's a set-up where Homer is surprised at hearing the correct pronunciation of her name, only for him to cry "I've been calling her 'Krandall'!" (In reality, this name could probably never exist, as the German word for "apple" is Apfel, not Appel.) Not in Standard German, but in some German Dialects, it is indeed "Appel".
And again when Bart corrects Homer on the pronounciation of "party", insisting that it's "par-TAY".
An early episode had an argument between Freddy Quimby and a French waiter over whether "chowder" was pronounced "CHOW-dah" or "shau-DAIR".
An episode when Homer joined the naval reserve.
Instructor: Simpson, as you have experience in a nuclear power plant, you can serve on a submarine. Homer: Nu-cue-lar. It's pronounced nu-cue-lar.
"Burns, Baby Burns" has this little exchange.
Marge: Next to Spring and Winter, Fall is my absolute favorite season. Just look at all this beautiful foilage. Lisa: It's not "foilage," mom, it's "foliage." Marge: That's what I said, foilage. It doesn't take a nucular scientist to pronounce foilage.
Of course she later says it properly, and comments how she can't "ex-cape" the living "li-berry" that is her daughter.
One episode had Homer walking past a gym, somehow thinking the 'y' made a long 'i' sound:
Homer: "Gime"? What's a "gime"? (goes inside, sees exercise equipment) Oh! A gime!
Subverted: Homer makes an appointment with Marge's therapist under the pseudonym "Alias Fakename," which the receptionist pronounces Mr. Fah-kay-nah-may. Homer corrects her. She says "I'll just call you Ali-as."
Zapp: Champaggen? Leela:(sarcastically) I didn't realize you were such a coin-a-sewer.
Done again in "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings" when he pronounces "bravo" and "encore" as "BRAY-vo" and "enn-KORR".
And in "The Problem with Popplers":
Zapp:(eating a poppler, which, it turns out, are the larval form of the Omicronians) Mmm, these would go great with gwack-a-mole! Lrr: Stop eating our young! And it's pronounced "gwah-kah-moh-lay"!
Bender makes the same mistake in "Bender Should Not Be Allowed On Television", when showing off his "flawless" Spanish accent.
Parodied on Drawn Together, during one of their finale's when Captain Hero corrected the host saying "It's pronounced Kah-Pee-Tawn. The Hero is silent." This is also a reference to Captain Hero's behavior after his last name, Shero, is revealed. It's pronounced "Hero", the "S" is silent.
When Peter goes to an ultra-posh auction house surrounded of the wealthiest elite, he says "It would look really good in Lois's crapper... I mean, krah-pee-AY." This pronunciation is immediately corroborated. "Oh yes, I would simply love that in my crapier!"
Peter: Oh sweet, I'm getting an Audi! Brian: ... Peter, that says "audit". Peter: No, Brian, it's a foreign car. The "T" is silent.
And yet another:
Peter: Ha ha, you said "nuclear"! It's "nucular", you dummy, the "S" is silent.
This was done in The Critic, too. Jay goes to a fast food restaurant and addresses the clerk by the name on his nametag, "Pizzaface." The clerk of course responds with, "Hey, that's Pizza-fah-CHAY!"
An episode of TaleSpin features a shifty client named Weezelle. Although he is an actual weasel, he insists that his name be properly pronounced ("wee-ZEL!", accent on the third "e") at all times. Naturally, everyone just called him "Weasel". Eventually, this annoys him so much that he refuses to do anymore work for his boss "until you call me by my correct name." His boss, mind you, is the most feared and ruthless crime lord in the city, and has probably killed people for less than that. Clearly, Weezelle's name is important to him.
Timon & Pumbaa once met a suspicious-looking raccoon named Thief who insists that his name is pronounced "thife" (rhymes with "life").
Lilo & Stitch: The Series has the villainous Dr. Hämsterviel. Pronounced HOHM-ster-vheel, although many pronounce it like "hamster wheel". The fact that Hämsterviel is in fact a literal Intelligent Gerbil doesn't help the situation. Of course, the actual way to pronounce it in German would be "Hame-ster-feel". The umlaut works in the same way the silent "e" does in English, and in German "v" makes an "f" sound and "w" makes what is in English a "v" sound.
Also an inversion: Robert is pulled over by one Officer Douche. Despite being high, Robert has the presence of mind to call him "Doo-shay." Except the officer's name is pronounced the way it looks.
There was a lampshade parody in the South Park episode "Margaritaville," starting out with a clerk in a store called Sur La Table, which he pronounced tāb-lé, and running with it the whole episode whenever various words ending in 'able' were used by that character. Which is wrong, since in French (the store's name meaning "on the table") the correct pronunciation is something like "tabla," but with the final a-sound abruptly bitten off (thus, "tabl' ").
On Clifford the Big Red Dog, there was a story in which Jetta read Emily Elizabeth's private journal and was led to believe that Emily Elizabeth was going to Hawaii by reading one of her made-up stories. She kept dropping all sorts of hints about Hawaii to Emily Elizabeth, but kept pronouncing it in a really pompous way, with the accent heavily on the second syllable.
In an episode of Doug, Doug was trying to impress Patty by trying to look sophisticated and play classical music, only to be shot down by Judy when she corrected him on the pronunciation of the name, Chopin (pronounced SHO-pan).
In the Codename: Kids Next Door episode Operation B.R.I.D.G.E. there's a clothing store that sell extremely embarrassing kids' clothing called Les Sissy (It's pronounced Sis-SAY)
Pinkie Pie: Ooooh. They don't want to party. These ponies want to par-TAY!
An episode of Rugrats uses the "Fra-Gee-Lay" pronunciation joke.
An accidental instance of this happened in Superjail!, when a Littlest Cancer Patient accidentally got into Superjail, the resident pyro reads her diagnosis on her hospital bracelet and mistakes it for her name, calling her 'San-ser'.
An episode of Goof Troop had Goofy taking a class at the local community center to learn how to be a mime. His instructor, who spoke with an affected New England-type accent, insisted on pronouncing the word "mimes" as "meems" (which, in his defense, is the correct pronunciation in French, with the exception of the s being silent).
In Fantastic Max, a character is named "Fatso" but insists on his name being pronounced "Fah-ZO", as the T is silent.
In Teen Titans, when the Titans meet Kole and Gnarrk, Cyborg calls him "Narrk" (which is technically the correct way of pronouncing it). Everybody corrects him that it is pronounced "Guh-narrk", much to Cyborg's confusion.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars gives us the Dathomirian Nightbrother Savage Opress, with the first part of his name being pronounced "Sa-VAHJ" and the last part being pronounced just like "oppress". When a bounty hunter reads Savage's wanted poster, he mispronounces his name as "Sa-vidge (just like "savage") Oh-priss".
Real Life — People
Allegedly actress Jean Harlow was at dinner with Margot Asquith (wife of the UK Prime Minister at the time) and kept pronouncing her name with the "t". Eventually Asquith told her "No, Jean, the 'T' is silent, like in 'Harlow'".
The surname Berkley is pronounced Barkley.
Similarly, Derby is "Darby" (surname and county city. The county is Derbyshire (DAR-bee-shur)). And the word 'clerk' is "clark". There's something going on there.
And "Berkshire" is pronounced "Bark-shire". But the abbreviated form "berk" (rhyming slang: berk = Berkshire Hunt = cunt; usage: insult) is still pronounced "berk", not "bark".
Actually, it's pronounced "Burk", like Americans pronounce "Derp" as "Durp".
The rhyming slang takes its name from the Berkeley Hunt. Which is, of course, pronounced "BARK-lee".
Possible case: Nicolas Cage pronounces his son Kal-El's name as ka-LELL, despite the hyphen making the correct pronunciation perfectly obvious. More likely he simply pronounces it the same way as Brando did in Superman.
Ralph ("Rafe") Fiennes ("Fines") definitely falls into this category while at the same time being a terrible example as the two F sounds blend into one if said without thinking about it.
Also the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.
However, it should be noted that /ˈreɪf/ is the traditional English pronunciation, which was replaced with the typical German pronunciation /ˈrælf/ (which is of course what it looks like to modern English-speakers, which is why it falls under this trope).
Similar to Henry ("Harry", which is now an official alternate spelling) and Agnes ("ANN-iss")
After winning the Heisman Trophy, Tony Dorsett announced that his last name should be pronounced "Dor-SETT" rather than "DOR-set". The next year, Earl Campbell won the award and joked that his last name was "Cam-BELL".
In his senior season, Joe Theismann (originally pronounced THEES-man) changed the pronunciation of his name so that it'd rhyme with Heisman, thinking he'd get more votes that way. He failed; Jim Plunkett won that year.
The printing method known as Giclee is pronounced "Zhee-clay". Go figure.
Because it's correctly spelt giclée and pronounced as such. It was taken from the French verb, "gicler" meaning "to squirt, spurt or spray".
Remember... Guy Forget? (Ghee FOR-zhay)
Another case of a French pronunciation.
Hardly noticeable since, you know, he's French.
Mike Krzyzewski, coach of the Duke Blue Devils basketball team. Apparently, "Krzyzewski" is pronounced "Sheshefski".
It's much easier for Americans to try "Sheshefski" than the actual Polish. This is understandable, seeing as it's Polish.note For the curious, the Polish pronunciation is (approximately) "kzhy-zev-ski".
The last name of NHL player Miroslav Satan? Try sha-TAHN.
Pronounced as in his native Slovak, in which the name is written Šatan (note the difference in the first letter).
Dallas Mavericks guard Monta Ellis' first name is pronounced "MON-tay."
Louis Armstrong disliked being called "Louie", as he saw the nickname demeaning and dismissive of his achievements and talents. Even today, the pronunciation of his first name is Serious Business to jazz aficionados.
While most people say "Carnegie" with the first syllable emphasized, "CAR-neh-gee", Andrew Carnegie himself pronounced his last name with the stress on the second syllable, i.e. "Car-NAY-gee".
Thandie Newton's first name is pronounced "Tandy", like the computer.
One of Oxford's most famous colleges is 'Magdalen'. However, it is not pronounced as it's spelt, it's pronounced 'maudlin'. Same in Cambridge.
A probable case of French pronunciation over archaic (even by medieval standards) orthography. Latin Magdalena, (modern) French Madeleine (closer to "maudlin").
Halley's Comet. "Hay-lees" used to be a common mispronunciation; it's now usually pronounced "Hah-lees", but if you're following the man it's named after, it should be pronounced "Haw-lees".
Also, Walter Raleigh. It's "Raw-Lee", not "Rah-lee".
Charlize Theron has stated in interviews that she finds it amusing that people pronounce her last name in the media as "Tha-Rown" to make it sound fancy, saying that it's simply pronounced "thair-in".
You're wrong as the deuce And you shouldn't rejoice If you're calling him Seuss He pronounces it Soice
Similarly, the first name of former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, being Italian in origin, should be pronounced "cone-doh-leet-zuh" (rhyming with "pizza"). But most people shorten the first "o" and leave out the "t" sound.
The name is derived from the musical term "con dolcezza", which is pronounced "con dol-chets-tsuh", with the main stress on the (short) "e".
Scandinavian tongues have weird pronunciation rules, for example the Norwegian name Kjerstine is pronounced "cher-steen-uh".
Pretty standard across Germanic languages. English is the ugly duckling rather that the rest.
Steve Blum pronounces his last name as "bloom". He isn't known to get annoyed about it too often, though.
Many people pronounce Vic Mignogna as it is written, which is wrong. It's pronounced something like min-nya-na.
It's pronounced Min-yon-na. You can hear him pronounce it himself in thisYouTube video. If you don't want to watch the whole thing, he says his name at 1:50. However, if you want to see the hysterical Mustang-miniskirt bit, fast forward to 6:30.
A German living in England named her daughter Caroline, but spells it (unofficially) as Caro-Lynne to force the German pronunciation.
German pronunciation would be "caro-lee-nuh".
Can be subverted. Depending on where one lives, a person can officially change their name, or the spelling of their name.
There is an Israeli talk show host named Guy Pines. For you non-Israelis: it’s a corruption of the German surname Pins, since Hebrew doesn’t have word-final consonant clustersnote unless it’s a consonant that isn’t t/d and a morphemic -t, pronounced PEA-ness, but we all know what that really sounds like. To avoid awkwardness abroadnote He has often interviewed foreign celebrities, and yes, it’s gotten awkward; when he told Julia Roberts his name, she said hers was ‘Woman Vagina’., he often claims it’s pronounced like the plural tree type.
Maurice Gibb of The Bee Gees pronounced his first name "Morris". As did Maurice Evans.
English novelist Oliver Onions would have you pronounce it "oh-NYE-onz."
Major League Baseball outfielder Matt Diaz, who has gone on record to state that yes, it's pronounced "DIE-az".
A jarring example is former Major League Baseball catcher Jorge Fábregas, who pronounces his name "George Fabber-gass".
Taylor Lautner pronounces his surname as "LOWT-ner" instead of "LAHT-ner".
Inverted by Ricky Gervais — he insists on the Anglicised pronunciation of his surname ("ger-VASE") despite the fact that it's of French origin and historically pronounced "ger-VAY".
The second-to-last person to rule China during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) was the Empress Dowager Cixi (pinyin transliteration), who was a contemporary of Queen Victoria and was sometimes compared to her. Most English speakers would probably pronounce her name "Seezee", but in Mandarin it was the much less feminine-sounding (to English ears, anyway) "zuh-SHEE."
Retired American Football quarterback Brett Favre (pronounced far-v)
Actor PeterKrause pronounces his surname "KRAU-zuh," rather than the more-common-in-America single-syllable pronunciation.
The American Civil Rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois supposedly insisted that people pronounce his surname "duh-BOYSE", rather than the standard French "doo-BWAH", because he hated the racism of French society in the early 20th century.
Nickelback's Chad and Mike Kroeger's last name is pronounced Kroo-ger like Freddy, but Americans seem to say it as Kroger like the grocery store
Rammstein keyboardist Flake Lorenz (his real first name is Christian, but no-one calls him that) pronounces his nickname as 'Flah-kuh' rather than 'Flayke'.
The writer James Branch Cabell pronounced his last name CAB-ble, not ca-BELL. To correct the mispronunciation, he came up with a rhyming couplet: "Tell the rabble his name is Cabell."
Gyllenhaal, of Jake and Maggie fame, is (apparently) pronounced "Yillenhoolihay".
In an instance that takes this trope Up to Eleven, the old Southern surname "Enroughty" is pronounced "Darby." No, seriously. A newspaper clipping from ''The Nation'' in 1887 offers a more detailed explanation:
It is related that the first Enroughty who settled in Henrico County became so incensed and resentful at the mispronunciation of his surname—some calling it Enr-itjfty, others Enrooty, and others again Enrowty—that he insisted, whenever spoken to, that he should be called "Darby." ... The family has ever been tenacious of the name of Enroughty and equally tenacious of the name of "Darby," and if a stranger should happen to call any of them by any name other than that last given, he would immediately be requested to say "Darby." In all writings, bank accounts, and poll-books—indeed, wherever it is necessary to write the true name—it is spelled Enroughty, but invariably pronounced "Darby." We read, in official reports of the operations of Grant's and Lee's armies below Richmond, of "the battle of Darbytown," but, in truth, the locality was Enroughtytown.
The Chicago Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews falls into this. It's "Tayves", despite the spelling.
More NHL Examples, Toews' ex teammate Dustin Byfuglin is pronounced Buff-lin.
The surname of Major League Baseball player Kevin Pillar is pronounced like the feminine Spanish name "Pilar".
Prince Rainier of Monaco's name was pronounced "rahn-YAY", unlike Mt. Rainier (see under Places below).
There is a famous singer in Russia named Nikolai Baskov. Normally, his last name is pronounced "bus-KOFF" and means "of small and low voice". When he became famous, he changed the pronunciation to "BAHS-kuff" ("of Basque descent").
The band Sade, which takes its name from the lead singer Sade Adu (Sade being short for Folasade), is pronounced "Sha-DAY", not "Sahd" as in the Marquis du Sade. Another common mispronounciation is "SHAR-day", which has even led to several children being named Sharde after the band.
Kim Jong Un's name is regularly mispronounced in British media, creating a hyperforeignism by pronouncing "Jong" as "Yong," when really it's just plain old "Jong." Strangely less of a problem in American media.
Real Life — Places
Québec, Canada. Is it KWI-beck or KEH-beck?
"KEH-beck". In French "qu" renders a hard /k/, there's no diphthong.
Pronouncing the "Qu" as in English is still common and accepted in English Canada, although in every case the stress is on the second syllable.
As to the Mackinac Bridge - Mackinaw, that's the law. Mackinac, that's just wack!
The working class suburb Mangere in Auckland, New Zealand (pronounced MAH-NGE-RE according to the Maori or MAN-gerry in common use), is sometimes fondly referred to as "Mon-ZHER" by its inhabitants.
Louisville: If you live in Louisville you pronounce it as lul-vul. If you are from anywhere else you may pronounce it as Lou-is-ville, Lou-ie-ville or Low-ville.
Kentucky, at least. The other Louisvilles are pretty straightforward in their "Lewie-vill" pronunciation.
Except for Ohio (Lew-is-ville). But then, Ohio is sort of wonky with its place names: Lima = LIE-ma; Rio Grande = RYE-o Grand; Bellefontaine = Bell Fountain; etc. The former Georgia state capital uses this pronunciation as well.
Don't forget Versailles (ver-SALES), Campbell (CAM-ell), Russia (RUE-she), Milan (MY-lan), Conneaut (KAHN-ee-awt), Mantua (MAN-a-way), and Berlin (BER-lin). Not to mention that Ohio has both Louisville and Lewisville, and they're both pronounced as LEW-iss-vihl.
Colorado also falls firmly into the Lou-is-ville camp, as does Nebraska.
Also in Nebraska: the city of Beatrice is not pronounced BEE-a-tris, like the female name, but rather bee-AT-ris. Norfolk, NE is pronounced "Norfork," and was originally spelled with an R due to its location at the junction of the Elkhorn and North Fork rivers.
Nevada: If you live either there or in surrounding states, chances are you say "neh-VA-duh" with the vowel in the middle syllable pronounced like the vowel in "flat." If you don't, you probably say "neh-VAH-duh" with the "a" pronounced like the "o" in "bother." In at least parts of the deep South, it can even be "NEH-vuh-duh".
Again, Missouri, Ohio, and Iowa as well, are backward on this. Their little towns of the same name are pronounced "Ne-VAY-da".
The (somewhat fairy-tale) name of the village of Appletreewick in North Yorkshire, UK is pronounced "Ap-trick" by locals.
Similarly, the locals pronounce the town of Worcester, Massachusetts, "WUH-ster".
That is how the original Worcester in England is pronounced - "WORCE-ster".
It gets better: locals pronounce Worcestershire, England as "Wistasha".
Same goes for Gloucester (GLOSS-ter), Leicester (Lester), and Leominster (Lemon-ster). All named after places in England (though the English Leominster is pronounced "Lem-ster").
The Gloucestershire Airplane Corporation (one of the predecessors of British Aerospace) changed its name into Gloster as it expected foreign contracts. "Gloster" is pretty much the phonetic ortography for "Gloucester".
The village of Athelstaneford in Scotland is pronounced "EL-shen-ferd", at least by locals. What makes it slightly more bizarre is that the village is named after the medieval king Athelstan, whose name is pronounced as it looks.
Great Britain is full of this sort of thing, both in personal names and place names. For example...
Mr. Featherstonehaugh (FAN-shaw)
Mr. Menzies (MING-iss). Can also be used as a first name, as in politician Menzies Campbell (MING-iss CAM-ble)
Partly because it wasn't originally a 'z' in the middle there, but the old Middle Scots letter 'yogh'. Early Scots printers didn't have a handy yogh in their fonts, so used the similarly shaped 'z' instead.
Stiffkey (STOO-kee), Cley (CLY) and Wymondham (WIND-um) in Norfolk
Leicester (LES-tuh) and its attendand -shire (LES-tuh-shuh).
Cholmondeley is pronounced like "Chumley" (/ˈtʃʌmli/).
The town of Hednesford in the West Midlands, pronounced "Hens-fud", in a similar manner to Wednesday - not Head-Nes-Ford.
In any place name ending in 'wick' or 'wich', such as Chiswick and Greenwich, the 'W' is silent. So Chiswick is 'chiz-ick' not 'chiz-wick', Greenwich is 'gren-itch' not 'green-witch'. Also Southwark is 'Suthuk'
Lampshaded in an '80s beer commercial voiced by John Cleese — where he deliberately mispronounced Greenwich, Connecticut as "Green Witch, Connect-i-cut"
The upstate New York town of Greenwich is pronounced 'green-wich'. You know, just to be different.
And Norwich is pronounced "Norrich"
Towcester. As in the thing you use to make toast.
Also, the town Worsley (War-sley) and the surname Worsley (Wurss-ley) are both pronounced differently.
Should the 'l' in Holme be silent or not?
Newfoundland is not, in fact, New-Found-Land, it's Newfin-LAND.
That's it. Oh, and it's not to be pronounced as "New Finland" either. Many a tourist have made that mistake.
To add to the confusion, Leif Eriksson discovered "Vinland" (Wineland), which is thought to be the southern tip of Newfoundland.
Though some people pronounce it more like Newfun-land.
It's illegal in Arkansas to pronounce the final "s".
Speaking of which, the pronounciation of "Arkansas" is an easy way to tell if a speaker's from the state itself or Kansas. Arkansans say "AR-kan-saw", and Kansans use the "Ar" as a prefix, something like "ar-KAN-sas".
Then there's the Arkansas River, which begins in Colorado and is often pronounced with a final "s" outside the state of the same name.
Downtown Manhattan has Houston (HOW-sten) Street. It is not pronounced the same as the city of Houston (HYOO-stin), Texas.
Similarly, Houston County, GA, is also pronounced HOW-sten. HYOO-stin may start a fight.
Several small towns in the Midwest United States are named for more famous world cities and pronounced differently, such as Cairo, Illinois (pronounced KAY-row) and Cairo, Ohio (pronounced "CARE-oh") and Milan, Indiana, Milan, Illinois,and Milan, Ohio (all pronounced "MY-lun"). Also in Ohio there is a town called Vienna, pronounced Vye-ANN-ah... which contrasts with Vienna, Illinois (vye-ENN-uh).
In Iowa, you'll find both Madrid (MAD-rid) and Nevada (ne-VAY-da).
Same with Missouri, with New Madrid instead of simply Madrid.
In New Mexico, there's a small artsy town between Albuquerque and Santa Fe pronounced "MAH-drid". (seen in the film Wild Hogs)
And one more for Ohio: Toledo. The Northwest Ohio city is pronounced Toe-LEE-doh, as opposed to the Spanish city (its official sister city), pronounced Toe-LAY-doh.
Sorta subverted in Louisiana where half the places and surnames actually are French.
And on the subject of New Orleans, it's only Nawlins if you can say it Yat otherwise it's NEW-or-lins (pronounced as one word), not New-or-leans
It's impossible to phoneticize as one word, but it's an unaccented 'nuh oe linz' with the vowels schwa'd together. But then you have street names with spellings in familiar English that locals will insist on pronouncing "Bur-GUN-dee".
Played straight with the local pronunciation of Chartres Street, which natives will insist on pronouncing like "charters." In actual French, it's "shart."
No. In actual French it's "shartr", but I might as well write Chartres as only the S doesn't count. Chartres is a city (and possibly a title linked to whoever the street was named after), a charte is... a charter.
It became fairly easy to see who was a native of the region and who arrived after Hurricane Katrina thanks to pronunciations of words like Fortier (FOR-shay, not for-TEE-air) and Calliope (CAL-ee-oh, not the Greek daughter-of-Zeus cuh-LIE-oh-pee)
Burnet, TX is pronounced so that the mnemonic "It's Burnet; Durn it! Learn it!" rhymes.
Also in Texas, Montague County is pronounced "Mon-TAYG," instead of the European "MON-Tuh-Gyu."
Trevor, WI is pronounced "TREE-ver," not like the name Trevor. Folks from the southern half of Milwaukee County frequently leave the L out of Milwaukee (ma-WAWK-ee). Many French city names in Wisconsin are deliberately mispronounced. If you, for example, pronounce "Prairie du Chien" (means "Dog's Prairie", after the local Indian chief) in the proper French as "Pra-RIE du Shee-ohn," you'll be corrected to "Prarie du Sheen." Likewise, Fond du Lac (literally, "bottom of the lake" - it's at the southern tip of Lake Winnebago) is "Fondle-ack." Oddly, other places like Lac du Flambeaux ("Lake of Torches") and Eau Claire ("Clear Water") are pronounced as they would be in French. With Indian names in the upper Midwest, good luck. We'll be sure to make fun of you for mispronouncing "Oconomowoc." BTW, "Racine" is either "ray-SEEN" or "ra-SEEN," about 50-50 each way. Don't let the locals snow you.
Yet another Wisconsin hint: It's "New BER-lin," not "New Ber-LIN." Even though it's named after the city in Germany, the pronunciation has shifted for some odd reason. And the second "A" is silent in "Shawano." (it's NOT "sha-WA-no" - it properly has only two syllables ("SHAW-no"), not three!)
speaking of fond du lac, there is an elementary school there that is named Pier but is pronounced "pi-er" but people calling some times pronounce it as "pe-er".
And then there's Waupun, pronounced "wuh-PAHN," because of course it is.
People of Prescott, Arizona (and probably by extension, Prescott valley) say the town's name is pronounced PRES-skit, not PRES-cott.
Tooele, Utah. It may take visitors a while to realize it is the town referred to when people said, "tuh-WILL-uh." The spelling actually got changed from the closer-to-the-mark Tuilla in the 19th Century.
Hurricane, Utah, is pronounced HURR-kin (two syllables). Hurricane, West Virginia, on the other hand, is pronounced HURR-i-kin (three syllables).
Spanish Fork (Utah [again]) is said just like it looks unless you're from there, in which case it is Spanish Fark.
Weber County, Utah (and Weber State University located there) is pronounced WEE-ber.
Pierre the capitol of South Dakota is pronounced PEER Not PEA-AIR.
The western Colorado town of Ouray is pronounced "YOU-ray" It's named after a Ute Indian Chief.
A major road in Houston, TX is Kuykendahl. Pronounced KIRK-en-doll.
Head north from Houston towards Dallas, head west when you're a couple hours away, and you'll come to Mexia. Pronounced "Muh-HEY-uh"
Then in west Texas, you have Colorado City. That's "Caw-luh-RAY-doh City" (made confusing by the fact it's on the "Caw-luh-RAH-doh" River).
The city of Beaufort, South Carolina is pronounced "Buew-fert", while Beaufort, North Carolina is pronounced "Bow-fert". NC also has the town of Bahama (Ba-HAY-ma).
People who aren't British seem to have trouble pronouncing Worcestershire Sauce (WORCE-ster-shire). Even though most Brits know how to say it correctly it mostly tends to get referred to as Lea and Perrins.
Missourians are slightly divided on this issue. Most of us pronounce it "Missour-EE", but a small number of people, primarily from the southern part of the state, pronounce it "Missour-AH".
People who live in or near Toronto tend to pronounce the city's name as something rather like "Tronno".
Vancouver is pronounced as "Vangcouver" by locals, while outsiders tend to say it like two distinct wordsnote Which, to be fair, it is in the original Dutch origins of the name, in other words "Van" rather than "Vang". While this matches the spelling, it is actually the locals who are following standard English phonetic rules of assimilation (e.g. "ingcome" for "income").
Montreal, in Canadian English, is pronounced "mun-tree-ALL", while Americans use "mon-tree-ALL" - neither is an exact match for the original French.
The street "Dalhousie" in Ottawa is pronounced "Dal-HOO-zee" (as per a Scottish accent) while the university in Nova Scotia says "Dal-HOW-zie".
The Canberra suburb of Manuka is pronounced 'mahn-NAH-ka', not 'mah-NU-ka' like the plant.
The town of Florida, Colorado pronounces its name the Spanish way: fla - REE - da.
UK place names again: Edinburgh, Middlesbrough and Loughborough are in wildly different parts of the country (Scotland, North Yorkshire and Leicestershire respectively) and all pronounce the section of their names after the B as Borough despite the different spelling. Even weirder is the town of Brough which doesn't pronounce it like the similarly spelt Middlesbrough, but pronounces it as Bruff.
Arguably, the end of all of these is pronounced as "brə" with a schwa, rather than as "bərə" although it depends on where you reside. Loughborough (Luf-brə) uses the Brough pronunciation above in it's first half as well.
The Couch in Couch St. in Portland, OR is pronounced "Cooch," not "Couch."
The "correct" pronunciations of Oregon include: OR-uh-gun, OR-uh-gin, OR-ih-gun, or Or-ih-gin (not Orry-gone, Orry-gun, Or-gone, or Or-ray-gone).
Unless you're talking about the suburb of Toledo, Ohio, where it's OR-ih-gone or orry-GONE. Yes, Ohio has a pathological inability to pronounce place names the same as where they were borrowed from.
In something of an inversion: North Versailles, Pennsylvania was intended to be named for the French palace. Take a wild guess at how the natives pronounce it.
Aloha, Oregon is pronounced with a silent H, unlike the Hawaiian word.
Boise, Idaho. Newscasters call it Boy-ZEE, but its Boy-SEE, to the irritation of its residents and repeated corrections.
Many people pronounce Tokyo with three syllables (toh-kee-oh); it's more accurately pronounced toh-kyo, with the "kyo" one syllable (its name translates to "Eastern Capital"). To make matters more confusing, it's four "beats" in Japanese, as both O's are "long" vowels.
Spokane, Washington. It is not spo-KAYN (as in cane), it is spo-KAN (as in can). The musical Love Life got this wrong.
Schuylerville, New York is pronounced (SKY-ler-ville) while the Schuylkill River in Pennsylvania is pronounced (SKOO-kull). The accident-prone Philadelphia freeway next to and named after the Schuylkill river, however, is sometimes called the "Surekill Expressway."
Also in New York: The town near Rochester called Chili is pronounced CHY-ly, not "chilly" as it is commonly mispronounced by non-locals.
The East-Central PA city named after the country in the Middle East "Lebanon" (Leb-a-non) is pronounced locally as "LEB-nen" As a twofer, one famous product of the area is a kind of sweet spicy lunchmeat Lebanon Bologna, which the locals pronounce "LEB-nen bal-LOW-ee"
In Vermont, Charlotte is pronounced "shar-lot" and Calais rhymes with palace, instead of the French pronounciation Cal-lay.
In Rhode Island "Coventry" is "Cawventry" instead of "Cuhventry"
Yarmouth, Falmouth, and many other old fishing villages in New England are properly pronounces YAR-mit, FAL-mit, and so on.
"Duquesne" is pronounced "Du-KANE". But in "North Versailles", it's "ver-SALES", not "ver-SIGH". Because why should Western Pennsylvania be consistent?
Versailles, Kentucky is also pronounced "ver-SALES". The Lexington, Kentucky community of Athens is historically pronounced AY-thenz.
People from Illinois will jump down your throat if you make the mistake of pronouncing the "S".
The Virginia cities Portsmouth, Norfolk, Huguenot, and Suffolk get this too.
Portsmouth: Ports-smith or Ports-smuhth, not Ports-mouth
Norfolk: Nohr-fick or Nohr-fuhk, but not Nohr-fohlk
Huguenot: Hue-ge-not, not huh-gway-not or hoo-ge-no (or variations of the two)
Suffolk: Suhf-fick or Suhf-fuhk, but not Suhf-fohlk
Another strange variation: Norfolk, Nebraska is frequently pronounced NOR-fork. (The city's name was originally spelled "Norfork".)
People like to pronounce the city of Kobe (written in Japanese as "Koube"), Japan, and the steak that takes its name from the city, like Kobe Bryant ("koh-bee"), when it's actually "kohh-beh." In Japanese, "Koubi" (交尾) means "animal mating," and when applied to human intercourse means "very rough sex."
Probably unintentional, but Don Cherry tends to pronounce Toronto as "trah-na".
The Other Wikimakes note that the name of that town in Austria rhymes with "booking". That still doesn't stop them stealing the town sign just so they could say that they got to Fucking - what does is that the signs were replaced with theft-proof versions after the old ones were swiped too many times.
Washington state has a few of these, besides Spokane and Mt. Rainier noted above. Most famous are Cle Elum (pronounced "Clellum"), Puyallup (pronounced "pyoo-WALL-up"), and Sequim (pronounced "Squim").
Yakima is pronounced "YAK-uh-maw," not "Yuh-KEEM-uh." The tribe name is spelled Yakama because they realized settlers got it wrong.
The Australian city of Brisbane is pronounced Briz-bin, not Briz-bain.
Hobart,IN is usually pronounced "Ho-burt" by residents rather than "Ho-bart" like the one in Tasmania (note it wasn't named for that one)
Newark, Delaware is pronounced "New-ARK", while Newark, New Jersey is pronounced more like "Nork" (1 syllable). Neither is pronounced "NEW-erk".
But Newark, Ohio, is NEW-erk.
Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills is pronounced "roh-DAY-oh."
The African nation of Niger is pronounced "nee-ZHAIR", not "NI-jer" or that other pronunciation. This is justified since it had been colonized by the French.
Martinez, GA (a suburb of Augusta). The middle syllable is pronounced like "tin" with very little stress on it (it could almost be "Mart'nez, GA). Also Louisville, GA, unlike Kentucky, pronounces the -s.
One of Atlanta's main thoroughfares is Ponce de Leon Avenue, but locals oronounce it "PONTS duh LEE-on."
The town of Saint Helena in California's Napa Valley is traditionally pronounced "Saint Hel-EEN-uh", but possibly due to French influence as Napa's winemaking prestige has grown, it's shifting to something more like "santa-LAY-na", sounding like it's just one word.
Beijing is regularly mispronounced by English speakers as "Beizhing" (like the "s" in "measure") rather than the Chinese pronunciation, which is exactly how it looks (with a hard "g" like in "gin").
During the 2014 Winter Olympics, some even pronounced the Russian city Sochi (again, pronounced exactly how it looks) as "Soshi."
A street in Houston is spelled Kuykendall. Locals pronounce it "Kirk-end-all", but visitors may pronounce that first syllable to rhyme with "guy", "boy", or even "buoy", and the last two may be changed to "[[Franchise/Barbie Ken doll]]".
"Tahr-ZHAY" (Target), normally as a humorous jab at the store.
Some people think that the company is French, despite Target being headquartered in Minneapolis.
People who shop at Tahr-ZHAY also tend to shop at Jacques Penne (J.C. Penney).
aka "Jean Claude Penn-YAY". There was also a smaller mass merchandiser in the Upper Midwest called "Venture", aka "Ven-TUR-a"
In a bit of Fridge Brilliance, the "JC" in the store's name stands for "James Cash," of which Jacques is the French form (of "James," that is).
How that will be when Target comes into Canada in 2013, taking over the Canadian chain Zellers, will remain to be seen.
Orion America Inc. used to have a factory in Princeton, IN, USA, which manufactured cathode-ray tubes for televisions. The most common way for locals to pronounce the name was "or-ree-on", despite the word actually being pronounced "oh-ryan".
Same thing with Lake Orion and Orion Township, MI.
And Farm Report host Orion Samuelson.
Evidently, it is pronounced that way in the 23rd century as well, demonstrated by the "Star Trek" animated episode "The Pirates of Orion," when all the Starfleet personnel pronounce it "or-ree-on," despite the long history of pronouncing it correctly in the live-action series.
There's a Okinawan brand of beer called Orion Beer. However, it's pronounced similarly (oh-ree-on). You might get weird looks from the locals if you pronounce it oh-rye-on. See the Japanese pronunciation guide below.
That's because Orion in a Greek word originally, where it was indeed pronounced "oh-ree-on". "Oh-rye-on" is an artifact of the attempt to read its Roman spelling by the English rules.
People who don't like Kwanzaa or don't feel it's a real holiday will often pronounce it as "Kwan-zaa," rhyming with "can."
Stereotypically, people who went to Ivy League schools say "RAHW-thuh" or "RAHW-thur."
Amusingly, this is pretty much the only word on which George W. Bush does not appear to have a Texas accent. Hooray for Yale?
Cornell University is universally pronounced "cor-NELL" now, but Ezra Cornell, its founder, pronounced it "Corn'l."
Dr. Jekyll was originally pronounced "JEE-kull".
"Karaoke" (kah-rah-O-keh) is perhaps the most mispronounced word of all time.
It's actually made up of two words: "kara" (Japanese for "empty") and the English word "orchestra". Of course, it's not easy for most English-speakers to pronounce Japanese words they way they're meant to be (i.e. without emphasis on any one syllable).
"Ouija" is pronounced just as it looks like, yet many still refer to them as "Wee-gee" boards.
It technically should be pronounced "wee-yah," as in the French and German words for "yes." Admittedly, this pronunciation is quite cumbersome for English speakers, who would be apt to conflate it to simply "weeuh." Some English-speaking kids, seeing ouija for the first time, pronounce it "oyjuh."
Americans tend to pronounce sake, the Japanese rice wine, as "sah-kee". However, the actual pronunciation is more like "sah-kay".
Or even "sah-KEH".
Extra-quick pronunciation course for the Japanese-challenged Yanks: in Japanese words romanized by the Hepburn system (the one you meet most of the time) consonants are read as in English, but the vowels as in Spanish, NO stress. So "sake" is really pronounced just "sah-keh".
The word "meme" mentioned above is typically pronounced "meem"—which makes sense given its purpose (to transmit ideas and belief information, as genes transmit biological information). Some pronounce it "may-may".
Studio Ghibli's name is pronounced with a soft G, which is as it would not be in Italian.
The Navy: it's not Boatswain, it's Bosun. It's not Forecastle, it's Fo'c'sle.
This one's probably too far gone for rescue, but pronouncing "forte" as "for-tay" is straight affectation. Until the mid-20th century it was pronounced the same way in English as it is in French (where the "e" is silent).
Possibly borrowed from musical terminology (i.e. Italian), in which "forte" is, in fact, pronounced "FOR-tay."
It may also be a side effect of "fort" already being a word in English, forcing "forte" to adopt a different unambiguous pronunciation.
There are a surprisingly large number of people from England's East Midlands who are blessed with the name Shitehead. According to one member of the clan, the approved pronunciation is SHEETH – ead.
Jaguar cars and the Atari Jaguar and Jaguar CD...the ads always pronounce it "Jag-you-are" (which is the standard British and Australian pronounciation) despite the American pronounciation being "Jag-wahr".
Sega is pronounced as "SEEGA" in Australia, New Zealand, and in the Italian language. It is pronounced this way by some Brits (initially used in advertising), but the correct pronounciation quickly became known to those who played the first Sonic the Hedgehog game where it is in the intro (basically, the majority of Mega Drive players).
Many people humorously pronounce "garbage" as "gar-BAHJ".
Bologna (both the Italian city, and the food) is really supposed to be pronounced "Bo-LON-ya"note And that's no "baloney". "Weird Al" Yankovic however, pronounces it "bolohna" in order to make it sound like "Sharona" (since his song "My Bologna" is a parody of "My Sharona" by The Knack).
Celtic is supposed to be pronounced "KEL-tic", but that doesn't stop the Boston Celtics (or their fans) from pronouncing it "SEL-tic".
Or indeed the Scottish football team Celtic, who also pronounce it SEL-tic.
The Native American tribe and the Illinois University team are the "Ill-eye-nigh",not "Ill-ee-nee"...apparently in the past, a few announcers screwed it up and roused some ire.
A bit of local trivia at Texas A&M University is that Sbisa Dining Hall, on of several large student cafeterias on the main campus, is properly pronounced "Sbeezah", as it was for the person it was named for, and not "Suh-bee-sah", as most Texas A&M students will invariably say it.
Santander, the Spanish banking conglomerate which has in recent years expanded to the UK and US, has kept the Spanish pronunciation of its name: "sahn-tahn-DEHR".
Notably since it's from the UK, the Z in ZX Spectrum should be zed, not zee.
Infamously, the term Chorizo. The word is officially pronounced by Spaniards as "Chor-ees-oh", but widely accepted as "Chor-eetz-oh". Some foreigners who buy it think that "Chor-eee-tho" is the correct way to say it (mimicking the Spanish lisp), which it isn't. The less educated pronounce it "Cho-RIH-zoh". Everyone will insist that theirs is the correct way.
Scots, and some English people get very announced by 'liquorice' (liquoriss) being pronounced 'liquorish', feeling it is emblematic of lower class people.
The Finnish city of Tampere is often pronounced "Tam-PAIR" by visiting (non-Finnish-speaking) tourists. The correct pronunciation is "TAHM-peh-reh".
Brits often pronounce "salsa" as "SALL-tsa", though the correct pronunciation is "SAHL-ssa" with a soft s sound.
Mixed with Spell My Name with an S, some people prefer to pronounce the name of Disney's Touchstone Pictures division as "TUCK-stone".
Bill Cosby once made an educational short film about bicycle safety called "Bicycles are Beautiful". Here he pronouces "bicycle" as "bi-cycle" (as opposed to the usual "bi-sicle").