Follow TV Tropes

Following

It Is Pronounced Tro PAY / Real Life

Go To

It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY" in real life.


    open/close all folders 

    People 
  • At the celebrity roast of William Shatner, George Takei introduced himself to the guest of honor with the following line: "Hello, Bill. My name is George Takei (TAH-kaye), as in rhymes with toupee (TOO-pay), and not, as you have insisted on pronouncing it for the last forty years, tak-EYE!" (The "EYE" being drawn out in mocking reference to Kirk's "KHAAAANNN!!! KHAAAAAANNN!!!" line is just toupee-shaped icing on the cake at that point).
  • Allegedly actress Jean Harlow was at dinner with Margot Asquith (widow of a former UK Prime Minister) and kept pronouncing her name with the "t". Eventually Asquith told her "No, Jean, the 'T' is silent, like in 'Harlow'".
  • In England...
    • 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". (In case you're wondering, this is because of a massive change in how we pronounced vowels from the 13th to 18th centuries.)
    • The surname "Featherstonhaugh" and the location from which the name derives is pronounced "FAN-shaw".
    • 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", as is the town where the hunt is actually based.
    • No one is quite sure how to pronounce the name "Wriothesley", the surname of the former Earls of Southampton. Interpretations include: "ROTTS-lee", "RYE-es-lee", "Wri-oth-es-ley", and the almost certainly incorrect "Risley".
    • Gloucestershire is pronounced "GLOSS-TER-SHIRE".
  • 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 as "Rafe" is the old traditional British pronunciation, still found in individuals like Ralph Fiennes and Ralph Vaughan Williams.
  • Henry ("Harry", which is now considered a nickname) and Agnes ("ANN-iss"), though the latter is "AG-niss" in the States.
  • Scottish actor Gerard (JAYR-id) Butler played King Leonidas in 300, whereas Joisey-born Gerard (juh-RAWRD) Way is the lead singer of My Chemical Romance.
  • The Welsh girls' name Siân is pronounced "shahn". Outside the UK, many people will pronounce it how it's spelt.
  • John Boehner, who retired from his post as Speaker of the (U.S.) House in 2015. His last name is pronounced BAY-ner, not "boner". Anyone trying to search The Other Wiki for "John Bayner" will get redirected to the correct page.
  • Jared Lee Loughner's last name is pronounced LOFF-ner, not "loner". Same for actor Alex O'Loughlin.
  • 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.
  • Former Rice halfback Dicky Moegle later on changed the spelling of his last name to Maegle to look the way it's pronounced, since many people said it as "MOH-gle".
  • 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)
    • Related, given there are a lot of French Canadians in hockey, goalie Guy Hebert is American but opted to pronounce his name like someone from Quebec would (Ghee He-behr).
  • Mike Krzyzewski, coach of the Duke Blue Devils men's basketball team. Apparently, "Krzyzewski" is pronounced "Sheshefski".note 
  • Many non-Polish citizens have trouble pronouncing the surname "Szczepaniak", opting instead to write it as "Stepaniak" and pronounce it as "Steh-paw-nic".
  • 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).
  • Like Slovak, Czech also has "S" and "Š" in its alphabet, and the Czech Republic has its share of NHL players who have the same issue. Just to name two, Dominik Hasek's last name is HAH-shek (native form Hašek) and Patrik Elias' is ELL-ee-ahsh (native form Eliáš).
  • Dallas Mavericks guard Monta Ellis' first name is pronounced "MON-tay."
  • The name Danielle is pronounced dan-YELL... unless you're Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (yes, a man; after all, Daniel in Italian is Daniele). In his case, it's duh-NEEL.
  • Kirsten Dunst is pronounced KEER-stuhn, not KUR-stuhn. This is the German and Scandinavian pronunciation of the name, not completely surprising as her father is German and her mother is of German-Swedish extraction. (However, she apparently does not go so far as to insist on her surname being given the proper German pronunciation, which would be more like "doonst").
  • 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". In Pittsburgh, it and the many things with his name have always been pronounced Carnegie's way, to the extent of re-recording a recent bus announcement.
  • 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.
  • 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".note 
  • 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-rone" to make it sound fancy, saying that it's simply pronounced "thair-in". The sound of it is actually quite different and almost impossible to transcribe even phonetically in English. [1]
  • Arab is supposed to be pronounced "Air-rib," not "AY-RAB" like the way Huckleberry Finn pronounces it. In British English it's pronounced "A-rəb."
  • Likewise, both Muslim and the older spelling Moslem come from an Arabic word that English speakers often pronounce wrong based on how it's transliterated. The "u" in Muslim is pronounced like the "u" in pudding or butcher, or the "oo" in foot or book. Think of how someone from Oop North pronounces up north.
  • Stephen J. Cannell (rhymes with "channel")
  • Matt Groening (rhymes with "raining")
  • There is an actress named Karen Cliche ("kleesh")
  • George Dzundza ("zoonza")
  • "Deborah Kerr is the star."
  • Martin "Rekkles" Larsson is pronounced as the word "reckless". It does not rhyme with "shekels" or "heckles."
  • The "Seuss" in Dr. Seuss is pronounced Soyce (rhymes with voice). Dr. Seuss himself stated this many times during his life, but nobody seems to remember or care (the producers of Seussical most certainly didn't). A collaborator of Seuss's wrote of him:
    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 Condoleezza 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."
  • 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-yon-na.
  • 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 , pronounced PEA-ness, but we all know what that really sounds like. To avoid awkwardness abroadnote , he often claims it’s pronounced like the plural tree type.
  • Standard British pronunciation of Maurice is "Morris" rather than "more-ees".
  • English novelist Oliver Onions would have you pronounce it "oh-NYE-onz".
  • Cillian (KIL-ian, not SIL-ian) Murphy definitely qualifies. (Names starting with C are always a hard C in Irish.)
  • Major League Baseball outfielder Matt Diaz has gone on record to state that it's pronounced "DIE-az", even though the typical Spanish pronunciation for this surname is "DEE-ath" (for European Spanish) or "DEE-ahs" (for Latin American Spanish).
  • Former Major League Baseball catcher Jorge Fábregas 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". And by "historically", we mean "his father, probably, and if not his grandfather": his dad was a Franco-Ontarian (i.e. French-Canadian from Ontario) from London (the one halfway between Windsor/Detroit and Toronto) who came to Britain as part of the forces during World War II and settled there after the war.
  • 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 (rhymes with "starve", not "favor")
  • Actor Peter Krause 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'.
    • Which makes sense: Flake and the other members of Rammstein are Germans, and "flah-kuh" is the standard German pronunciation of said nickname.
  • 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.
    • Toews' ex-teammate Dustin Byfuglin is pronounced Buff-lin (to the point his nickname is "Big Buff").
  • 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 mispronunciation is "SHAR-day", which has even led to several children being named Sharde after the band.note 
  • 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.
  • The winemaking Mondavi family of Napa Valley originally used the Americanized pronunciation of "mon-DAY-vee". Then in 1965 amid family turmoil, eldest son Robert left to start his own winery, and began pronouncing it "mon-DAH-vee".
  • The name "Koch" is normally pronounced like "Coke" with a softer K at the end. Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch pronounced his last name as "Kotch", and Baltimore Ravens punter Sam Koch is pronounced as "Cook", which actually is the literal translation of Koch.
  • Linguist Noam Chomsky's last name is a common Russian one, and is supposed to be pronounced with a Russian kh-sound. It seems he doesn’t care, though, and even in the linguistic community they pronounce it with an English ch-sound.
  • Some English-speaking people with the last name of Benoit, which is French, give it the traditional French pronunciation of "ben-WAH". Others pronounce it the way it looks to English speakers, "Ben-OYT".
    • See: Wrestler Chris Benoit (ben-WAH) versus bowler Bob Benoit or former NBA player Benoit Benjamin (both ben-OYT).
  • Patrick Brontë, father of the famous Brontë Sisters was Anglo-Irish and born as Patrick Brunty. At some point, he decided to change the spelling of his name to Brontë, which indicates the pronunciation of the root word Gaelic surname (as well as of course sounding "posher"). It's also been speculated that the change was inspired by Horatio Nelson being awarded the title Duke of Bronté.
  • Actor Ian Ziering's first name is pronounced "Eye-An" rather than the more usual pronunciation, though weirdly enough his surname is pronounced the way you'd expect it to be. He lampshaded this while on Celebrity Apprentice, when Geraldo Rivera completely mangled his name during an all-important presentation, causing Ian to snark "Maybe you should just call me 'Eee-an,' it'd be easier for everyone."
  • Mel Blanc (pronounced "blank") and JB Blanc (pronounced "blonk"). Mel's surname was spelled with a "K" originally, but he later changed the spelling because one of his teachers said that he was just like his name: blank. "Blonk" approximates the correct pronunciation of B-L-A-N-C; it is a French surname (a nasalised "blah") and JB was born in France despite being English.
  • The two US presidents with the last name Roosevelt both pronounced it slightly differently. Teddy said roʊzəvɛlt (roh-zuh-velt), whereas FDR went by roʊzəvəlt (roh-zuh-vuhlt).
  • It's a running gag among mathematicians that if you can pronounce "Constantin Carathéodory" correctly then you are one yourself. (Actually, it isn't that hard, just lay the stress on the -ry. But if it comes out like "He works at Carathéodory's down on Sullivan Street"...you failed.)
  • Beatrice Rana doesn't look hard, but if you're not Italian, it gets confusing. While Americans say "BEE-uh-tris" or "BEE-tris", Rana and most Italians prefer "Bee-uh-TREE-chay". One interviewer felt they had to include a pronunciation guide at the beginning.
  • Most English speakers nowadays call the famous Roman JOO-lee-us SEE-zer. This can cause consternation for Latin scholars, who either go along with this pronunciation (which sounds completely ridiculous in Latin), or risk sounding pretentious by talking about YOO-lee-us KAI-sar.
  • NBA player Stephen Curry pronounces his first name as "Steffen".
  • Former NBA player Mark Aguirre's last name is pronounced as "A-gwyre", instead of the traditional Spanish pronunciation "Ah-gi-rre".
  • Comedian David Koechner pronounces his surname "Keck-ner" not "Coke-ner".
  • The McCaughey family of Iowa, which includes the first set of septuplets that all survived infancy (born in 1997), pronounces its name "McCoy".
  • Filipino volleyball player Alyssa Valdez. You pronounce her first name as "A-lye-sa", not like you would the first name of Alyssa Milano.
    • And while we're at it, Filipino actress Bea Alonzo's first name is pronounced "Bei-ya", not like westerners would the first name of singer Bea Miller or the character Bea from Fish Hooks (both pronounced as in "bee").
  • You know that round, hard hat known as a bowler in England and a derby in the US? It was created in 1845 by the hatters Lock & Co of St James's Street in London for Edward Coke, Earl of Leicester, who wanted a hat for his gamekeepers which would protect them from overhanging branches. Lock & Co is still trading and you can still buy such a hat there but it is neither a bowlernote  or a derby but always a coke after the original client. It's pronounced COOK.
  • Recess co-creator Joe Ansolabehere— his surname is not as unpronounceable as it looks. It's pronounced "Anso-leh-bare".
  • Redwall author Brian Jacques' surname was pronounced "Jakes," despite using the French spelling.
  • Two NFL players and Hall of Fame inductees with the same first name pronounce it differently. Terrell Davis, a running back inducted in 2017, puts the accent on the second syllable. Terrell Owens, a wide receiver inducted in 2018, accents the first syllable.
  • Football manager José Mourinho (Portuguese, not Spanish) is pronounced Joe-say by speakers in England; they often referred to the great player of the past as Peel instead of Peh-lay. The first actually comes close to the native pronunciation (more like Joe-zay). The second... not.
  • J. K. Rowling's name is properly pronounced "rolling" (she says in interviews "as in pin"), though is often mispronounced "RAU-ling". Stephen Fry has suggested that if you have trouble remembering it, just think of her rolling in money.
  • Mixed Martial Arts gives many people their first understanding of Portuguese pronunciations, given the impact Brazil has had on the sport. In the early days, the announcers often got it wrong.
    • The founding family of the UFC is the Gracies, who have had a tradition of sons with names starting with R, which in Portugese, is pronounced like an H at the beginning of the word. Royce Gracie, the first UFC tournament winner, is properly pronounced "Hoyce".
    • Former UFC featherweight champ José Aldo's first name is pronounced with a hard J ("Joe-zay"), not a soft J like the Spanish version of the name ("Hoe-zay"). During Aldo's feud with Conor McGregor, McGregor repeatedly and intentionally mispronounced it. This had been a longtime stumbling block for UFC color commentator Joe Rogan; he consistently forgot and said "Hoe-zay" while his broadcast partner Mike Goldberg always used "Joe-zay".
  • Related to Brazil, supermodel Gisele Bündchennote  has a surname that in her country, following the German pronunciation, is said BIN-tchen, though Americans just pronounce the way it's spelled (Buhnd-chen).
  • Emily Ratajkowski has said people are often afraid to mispronounce her last name when they meet. Emily (Rata-cow-ski) with the "J" silent.
  • Bethany Joy Lenz of One Tree Hill and Guiding Light fame used to go by Joie Lenz during her days on Guiding Light, but got tired of correcting people's pronunciation of her name. They'd often pronounce it in the French way "jwah" or worse, "Joey" if they were unfamiliar with French. It was just pronounced "joy", and now she just goes by her real name but goes by Joy in Real Life.
  • Actor Steven Seagal pronounces his last name as "Sea-GALL" instead of the usual "SEA-gull". According to an interview, he used to pronounce it the latter way until he was inspired by an exhibit of the painter Chagall.
  • British actor Adam Nagaitis pronounces his surname as "na-GUY-tis", rather than "na-GATE-is" like some media outlets have pronouced it.
  • Neil Gaiman has said in the past that he's heard both "GUY-mun" and "GAY-man" for his last name. His phonetic rendering is "GAME'N".
  • Conan O'Brien pronounces his first name as "CO-nan", and has on a few occasions noted in amusement how whenever Regis Philbin appeared on his show, he would always insist on pronouncing it as "Co-NAN", like the barbarian.
  • Children's author, Louis Sachar, pronounces his surname as "Sacker" with a "K" sound. The beginning of the second Wayside School book gives the correct pronunciation as well as commenting on how teachers all over the country get it wrong.
Advertisement:

    Places 
  • Québec, Canada. It's "keh-BECK". In French "qu" renders a hard /k/, and as there is an acute accent on the first syllable, it is pronounced with a clear "eh". Pronouncing the "Qu" as in English is still common and accepted in English-speaking Canada, although here too second syllable is stressed, so there are two "correct" English pronunciations, "kwi-BECK" and "kuh-BECK" (in the first one the vowel is a short "i", in the second a schwa).
  • During WWI, there were proposals to change the name of Berlin, NH due to anti-German sentiment at the time. This was dropped when it was pointed out that Berlin, NH is pronounced as BER-lin instead of the German Ber-LIN. Ironically, Berlin, NH has a high population of French Americans and French Canadians.
  • ESPN guys love to pronounce Detroit as if it were still a French word ("Day-twa"), just for a joke. And you're free to fight amongst yourselves as to whether it's pronounced "Duh-TROIT" or "DEE-troit".
  • 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 Māori 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).
    • Ohio is sort of wonky with its place names: Lima = LIE-ma; Rio Grande = RYE-o Grand; Bellefontaine = Bell Fountain; 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.
  • In Nebraska:
    • Beatrice: the stress goes on the second syllable (bee-A-tris). Rumor has it, we can thank train stations, back before amplification: the flat "AAA" is easier to hear over a crowd than "EEE".
    • Norfolk: pronounced nor-fork. The town was named after the North Fork River, but the United States Postal Service assumed they meant "Norfolk". The original in England is pronounced something like Narr-FUCK by people who live there and its county town sounds like "Narridge".
    • Papillion: "pa-PILL-yon". Originally a French name, papillon (butterfly), which would be pronounced papyo(n). The nearby river is called "Papio".
  • 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" (which, for English English pronouncers, is like the "ar" in "larder"). In at least parts of the deep South, it can even be "NEH-vuh-duh".
  • If a place in an English-speaking country ends with the suffix -cester (as opposed to -chester or -caster) you know it's going to be irregular. That includes American places that have inherited the irregular pronunciation from the English places.
    • Worcester, in both England and Massachusetts, is pronounced "WUSS-ster". That is, with a "u" sound like in "puss", not like in "nut". Hence Worcestershire Sauce (WUSS-ster-sher).
    • Gloucester is "Gloster".
      • And whilst you are in "Gloss-ter-shire," make sure that you pronounce the town of Berkeley "Bark-lee". Pronouncing it "Berk-lee", as the Americans do with one with California (which is named after the one in England), will just get you a lot of blank looks from the locals.
    • Others include Leicester ("Lester"), Bicester ("Bister"), Towcester ("Toaster"), Alcester ("Olster") and Rocester ("Roaster")...
  • Leominster is "Lemon-ster" in Massachusetts, and "Lemster" in England.
  • The (somewhat fairy-tale) name of the village of Appletreewick in North Yorkshire, UK is pronounced "Ap-trick" by locals.
  • 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.
  • In Northumbria there's a town called Alnwick "Anne-Nick" not far from the coastal village of Alnmouth "Anne-muth".
  • 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. Just to confuse visitors there's also Costessey (Cossey) and Happisburgh (HAW Sboro).
    • 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.
    • Marylebone in London. Which can be said quite a few ways. Mary-le-bone, Marry-le-bone, Marleybun (the right one, says Wiki), Mairbun, Mbn.
    • 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.
      • In the opening scene of On the Town, Chip demonstrates that he knows New York City only from a guidebook by pronouncing the name of one neighborhood "Green-witch Village".
    • 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.
    • Blackley in Manchester is pronounced "Blakely".
    • Should the 'l' in Holme be silent or not?
    • The surname St John is pronounced "Sinjin", like Jane Eyre's cousin.note  St Mary Axe, a street in the City of London, is likewise pronounced "Simmery Axe", as in the Patter Song from The Sorcerer.
    • Plymouth is pronounced "Plimmuth".
    • Wymondham is pronounced "Wind-um".
    • The North Yorkshire village of Chop Gate is pronounced "Chop Yat"note note .
  • 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 has 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. The former was named after William Houstoun, and the latter named after Sam Houston.
    • 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, Milan, Michigan 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. Missouri also has Versailles ("ver-SAILS") and Vichy (somewhere between "vit-shee" and "vishee", definitely not "VEE-shee"). There's also Rolla, pronounced "RAH-luh", named after Raleigh, North Carolina but spelled phonetically.
    • Speaking of Madrid, the small artsy town of that name in New Mexico, between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, is pronounced "MAH-drid" (seen in the film Wild Hogs).
  • Many non-native Minnesotans have trouble pronouncing "Mahtomedi", "Wayzata", "Duluth", and "Shakopee". Well, maybe not Duluth, but the others...
  • 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 "shartr", but one 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).
    • Not to mention the region called Plaquemines Parish (parishes are the equivalent in Louisiana of counties), pronounced "PLACK-er-mans".
    • The small town of Welsh, Louisiana, is pronounced "welch".
  • Texas has several places and roads with odd pronunciations:
    • Burnet is pronounced so that the mnemonic "It's Burnet; Durn it! Learn it!" rhymes.
    • Montague County is pronounced "Mon-TAYG" instead of the European "MON-Tuh-Gyu".
    • Gruene is pronounced "Green" according to websites about the town, and was founded by German immigrants.
    • Austin has several places with interesting pronunciations. The Pedernales River is frequently pronounced "PER-duh-na-lis"; Manchaca Road is "MAN-shack", and the nearby suburbs of Buda, Pflugerville, and Leander are pronounced "BYEU-duh", "FLOO-gur-vil", and "LEE-an-dur", respectively.
    • Refugio is "Re-fur-ee-oh". When first settled, it was pronounced as in Spanish, but that changed thanks to a large influx of Irish settlers in the 1830s. Nowadays, even local Spanish speakers use the "odd" pronunciation.
    • Bexar County is "Bay-err" or "Bear".
  • Trevor, Wisconsin 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 following World War II. 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 capital 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 is Kuykendahl. Pronounced KIRK-en-doll.
    • The H at the beginning of the name of the Houston suburb Humble is silent.
  • 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).
  • 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". Toronto, New South Wales is pronounced the same way. Don Cherry (who grew up on the other end of Lake Ontario in Kingston, Ontario) tends to call it "trah-na".
  • Vancouver is pronounced as "Vangcouver" by locals, while outsiders tend to say it like two distinct wordsnote , 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 ("mon-HAY-ah-le").
    • It's subject to debate among ourselves, with "Mon-rayhal", "Mont-rehal" and "Mon-treal" being the most common way to pronounce it.
  • 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".
  • Speaking of streets in Canada, Dundas St. in Toronto rhymes with "class", not "bus".
  • 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 its first half as well.
    • The name Pittsburgh was chosen by General John Forbes when he made plans for a town at the site of Fort Duquesne in western Pennsylvania in 1758. Since Forbes was a native of Scotland, he undoubtedly intended it to be pronounced as "Pittsborough" or "Pittsburra". In fact, Forbes originally spelled it "Pittsbourgh". But with the combination of waning Scottish influence in the area, and the city charter which inadvertently omitted the H from the name, the "berg" pronunciation of "-burgh" became the accepted one. But it wasn't just Pittsburgh. Cities like Newburgh and Plattsburgh, New York have always used the "-berg" variation.
  • 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. However, the name is pronounced "North Vur-SAYLZ".
  • The Rainier in Mt. Rainier is pronounced "Rai-NEER", not "Rai-ni-er". It's only pronounced "Rai-ni-er" if you're camping on the west side of the mountain.
  • Aloha, Oregon is pronounced with a silent H, unlike the Hawaiian word.
  • Arab, Alabama is pronounced "AY-rab" (just like Huck Finn's pronunciation of said word, noted in the "People" folder above).
  • Boise, Idaho. Newscasters call it Boy-ZEE, but its Boy-SEE, to the irritation of its residents and repeated corrections.
    • And the small town of Boise City, Oklahoma is "Boyce City" (more often slurred into "boycity").
  • 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", especially when discussing the "Conshohocken Curve" (note that "Conshohocken" is pronounced as spelled but can be a tongue-twister anyway).
    • 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 pronunciation 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, not Ports-mouth.
    • Norfolk: Nohr-fick, Nohr-fuhk, or Naw-fick, 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
  • Norfolk, Nebraska is pronounced "nor-fork". (It's named after the North Fork River and was supposed to be 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".
  • The Other Wiki makes 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 (though Brisbane, California is pronounced Briz-bain even though it was named after the Australian Brisbane).
    • Same with other Australian cities: Melbourne is Melbin, not Mel-born, Canberra is Canbra not Can-bear-ra, and the first syllable of Fremantle is "free".
  • French fur trappers brought the word butte, meaning "small hill", to the American West in the 1800s. The French pronunciation is "boot". Americans shifted it to "byoot", most famously in the city of Butte, Montana. People not aware of that sometimes assume that it's supposed to be pronounced "butt".
  • 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) and Newark, Ohio is more like "Nerk" (also 1 syllable). None are pronounced "NEW-erk".
    • If you're looking for a Newark that actually is NEW-erk, go to the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills is pronounced "roh-DAY-oh". There's also a suburb of San Francisco called Rodeo with the same pronunciation.
  • 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, Georgia (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, Georgia, unlike Kentucky, pronounces the -s.
  • One of Atlanta's main thoroughfares is Ponce de Leon Avenue, but locals pronounce it "PONTS duh LEE-on".
  • DeKalb County, Georgia is pronounced as "De KAB" County, with a silent 'l'. DeKalb County, Illinois is pronounced as "Di-KALB" County, with a pronounced 'l'.
  • 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.
    • Contrast with Montana's state capital of Helena, which is "HEL-en-uh".
  • 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 soft "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 "Ken doll".
  • In the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte, there is a Raja Gabaglia Avenue. It's commonly referred as "Raja", but the surname is usually pronounced the way it's spelled instead of the proper Italian ("gab-alley-ah").
  • Whereas the Thames River that flows through London is pronounced "temms", the Thames River of New London, Connecticut is pronounced "thayms". That pronunciation carries over to the historic Thames Street of Newport, Rhode Island.
  • Michigan:
    • Grand Blanc is pronounced as if it were the English phrase "Grand Blank". rather than the Frenchy "Gron Blon''.
    • Lake Orion, Orion Township, and associated roads, etc., are pronounced "OR-ee-uhn," rather than "oh-RY-an" like the constellation.
    • The constellation is pronounced "OR-ee-on" if you go by the original Greek pronunciation.
    • Canton is pronounce "CAN-tuhn" even though it is named after the old name for Guangzhou (pronounced "can-TON"). (That region of Wayne County also had townships named Pekin and Nankin, which have since split off into a number of other municipalities.)
    • Saline is pronounced "Sah-LEEN", not "SAY-leen" like the nasal spray. (The derivation is from French: there are salty springs in the area historically used for salt production.)
    • In the Detroit area, Dequindre Road is always pronounced "De-KWIN-der" (rather than the French, which is more like "deh-KANDR''), and Livernois Road/Street/Avenue is universally pronounced "Liver-noy" (a sort of half-French, half-English compromise). However, the pronunciation of Lahser Rd., five miles to the west of Livernois, is the subject of frequent disagreement among area residents.
  • Speaking of "Saline", counties in Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska are also pronounced with the accent on the second syllable, for much the same reason as the Michigan community. In the case of Illinois, the salt springs first gave their name to the Saline River, which in turn gave its name to the county.
  • The well-known French city of Nice is pronounced "Neese" (rhymes with geese), not "Nice" (rhymes with ice).
  • While Sydney's pronunciation is fairly straightforward, some of its suburbs can get a bit confusing. It's gotten so bad that in some cases, no two people from different ends of Sydney can really agree on pronunciation:
    • La Perouse is universally "La Pe-RUSE" rather than "La Pe-ROWSE"
    • Sans Souci is universally "San SOO-chi" instead of the French "Sun Soo-SI"
    • Campbelltown is universally called "CAM-bull-town".
    • Here's the fun part: For Mosman, is it "MOSS-man" or "MOZ-mun"?
    • Minto, much like the Toronto example above, is pronounced with a silent T, sounding like "Minno".
  • Welcome to Maine. It's "BANG-gore", not "Banger" (Bangor). It's "CAL-us", not "cal-LAY" (Calais). If you want to go to "MY-KNOT", head for the Dakotas because this is "MY-nut" (and neither is ever "min-NOH").
  • More from Scotland: The prosperous Glasgow suburb of Milngavie is pronounced "Mul-GUY". Kirkcudbright in the far south is "Kuh-KOO-bree". Anstruther, on the coast of Fife, is "AIN-ster". The town of Wick in the far north-west is pronounced as you might expect but if you catch the ferry to the Western Isles from the little port village of Uig on Skye you might be surprised to find it pronounced just the same as it's the English version of the Gaelic rendering (Ùige) of the norse-rooted "wick" meaning a bay or an inlet.
  • The Britons pronounce Ibiza as "eye-BEE-tha", referencing the Spanish lisp.
  • Pronouncing "Mojave" (as in the Mojave Desert or the Mojave Tribe) as "Mo-haVAY" or "Mo-haveh" will get you funny looks from locals. Pronouncing the final "e" as "eh" is a hyperforeignism (even though the English spelling is borrowed from Spanish, the word itself is Native American in origin). Furthermore, the word has three fully spoken syllables. Generally, the only accepted pronunciations are "Mo-ha-VEE" or "Muh-ha-VEE."
  • Wyoming has DuBois, pronounced by locals as DOO-boys. This was the source of much frustration when the University of Wyoming got a new president named Philip DuBois, who prefers the standard French pronunciation (duh-BWAH). There is a good chance that hearing his name pronounced the same as the town contributed to his hasty exit from the university.
  • CNN announced a disaster in the Taiwanese city of Kay-oh-see-ong. In the alphabetic system used in Taiwan it's spelt Kaohsiung but is pronounced Gow-shung.
  • A suburb of Altoona, Pennsylvania called Coupon is sometimes pronounced "q-pawn" reflecting the way locals say the word. Much like the Wyoming town, Pennsylvania also has a Du Bois in Clearfield county pronounced "do boys".
  • Scammon Bay, Alaska is pronounced like "salmon" is but with a 'c' added in. A popular dish in Scammon Bay that developed by taking advantage of local resources is known as "scrambled salmon" or "scammon" (which led to folk etymology about the origins of the town's name). The dish consists of scrambled eggs with chopped, cooked plain salmon blended in.

    Other 
  • "Cache" and "stash" aren't just synonyms; they rhyme as well. If you say "cashay" you mean social prestige (cachet).
  • The M1 Garand, the signature rifle of the US armed forces in WWII, was named after it's designer, John Garand. Very often, laymen and even firearms experts pronounce it as "Guh-RAND". But in his life, Garand preferred "GAIR-und".
  • "Tarzhay" (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 "Tarzhay" also tend to shop at Jacques Penne (J.C. Penney).
  • 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, Michigan.
    • And Farm Report host Orion Samuelson.
    • 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.
    • That's because Orion was originally a Greek word, which was indeed pronounced "oh-ree-on". "Oh-rye-on" is an artifact of the sound changes that affected English in the 14th and 15th centuries.
  • Cornell University is universally pronounced "cor-NELL" now, but Ezra Cornell, its founder, pronounced it "Corn'l".
  • Dr. Jekyll was originally pronounced "JEE-kull".
  • Japanese in general tends to be mispronounced by English speakers, mostly due to how Japanese only has one way of saying vowels while English has multiple ways. Examples include:
    • Anything ending with an e, which usually gets spoke with a long e (ee sound). Words include Karaoke (kah-rah-O-keh), sake (sah-keh), karate (kah-rah-teh), and kamikaze (kah-mee-kah-zeh). A helpful rule is to always imagine an accent over the E (like Pokémon).
    • "Manga" should be pronounced "mahn-guh," but is often pronounced like "mane-guh" "mayng-guh." or "man-guh."
    • On the flip side, Japanese features many English loan words that have been so completely transformed that most English speakers won't recognize them at all. For example, "irasuto" is "illustration."
  • Another Asian word via the conflicting Chinese romanization systems that tends to fall into this is "kung-fu", which is the Wade-Giles reading. The actual way to say it in pinyin is "Gongfu" (Goh-ng-foo).
  • "Ouija" is pronounced "wee-yaw," yet many still refer to them as "wee-jee" boards.
  • 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", most notably Text-To-Speech software. The latter pronunciation is also used to mock people who childishly or overuse memes.
  • 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).
  • 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". Then there are those that pronounce it "Jag-wire".
  • 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 Sonic the Hedgehog where a chorus sings the company name in the loading screen: "Say-Guh!"
  • 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 . "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 University of Illinois 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".
  • Infamously, the term Chorizo. In most of the Spanish-speaking world, this word is pronounced "Chor-ee-so", while in most of Spain it's "Chor-ee-tho"; while in English it's widely accepted as "Chor-eetz-oh". The less educated pronounce it "Cho-RIH-zoh". Everyone will insist that theirs is the correct way.
  • Scots and some English people get very annoyed 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 Anglophone and Francophone tourists. The correct pronunciation is "TAHM-peh-reh".
  • 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 pronounces "bicycle" as "bi-cycle" (as opposed to the usual "bi-sickle").
  • Colonel is pronounced "kernel". Which means that despite being spelled with an L, it's homophonous to the Spanish and Portuguese equivalent, "coronel".
  • In July 2011, during the American debt ceiling crisis, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann was quoted as saying that President Obama had "lots of chutzpah," pronouncing "chutzpah" as "CHOOTZ-pah", instead of "HOOTZ-pah".
  • The British pronounciation of "lieutenant" is "lef-TEN-ant". This is actually an Inverted Trope because that's the wrong pronunciation while the Americans say it the proper way ("LYU-ten-ant"). The word is from French origins, with "lieu" meaning "place" and "tenant" meaning "holding" (as in, holding a position). Back in the Middle Ages, the U in some words was interchangeable with a V, so the word was initially pronounced as "LYEV-ten-ant" and finally, "lef-TEN-ant".
  • The sudo tool to access root privileges in Unix is pronounced "soo-doo", although a lot of people pronounce it as "pseudo". The confusion comes from the fact that it allows an ordinary user to have root privileges without having to log in as root, in other words, "pseudo root," but the name is derived from substitute user do.
  • The High Speed Rail company "Thalys" that operates between Benelux, France and Germany chose a name that is easy to pronounce in all adjacent languages, but then they had to screw it up by using a "fancy" spelling - the h is non-phonetic and the "y" is pronounced like the "i" in "hit", making it come out pretty much the way a German would think it should be pronounced even though such a word would more likely be spelled "talis", but that just looks too "pedestrian".
  • The actual Swedish way to pronounce "Ikea" is "Eee-Keh-Ah", not Eye-Kee-Ah.
  • North Dakota State University's sports teams are nicknamed "the Bison", but the "s" is pronounced like a "z" instead of a hard "s". Woe be to any outsider not aware of this. It's been speculated that this is due to a lingering French Canadian influence in the area. Contrast with the other NCAA Division I schools nicknamed "Bison(s)"—woe be to anyone from North Dakota who speaks of the Bucknell or Howard "BYE-zon", or the Lipscomb "BYE-zons".
  • Pasta, being an Italian word, is normally pronounced "pahs-ta", except in Canada, where the first "a" is pronounced as in "past". Canadians do the same to the Japanese auto manufacturer Mazda, eh?
  • Chick-fil-A: Many from outside the US who’ve not heard of the brand before tends to pronounce the brand as “Chick-fillah” (as in “chick-filler” with a gangsta slang) and are surprised to learn that it’s actually pronounced “chick-fillet”. (The idiosyncratic capitalization should be a hint...)
  • Canadian transportation company Bombardier was pronounced Bom-BAR-Dyeh by international news; in western Canada where it's known as a maker of snowmobiles it's called Bom-buh-DEER. Of course neither fully gets the French pronunciation right, which in addition to the "dyeh" ending has a silent "m".


Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report