Language-learning platform Preply has used Google search data to reveal a list of the world’s most mispronounced holiday destinations – and the capital tops the list.
Amy Pritchett, Learning Success Manager at Preply, said, “There’s nothing more embarrassing than arriving at a new vacation destination and mispronouncing its name in front of a local, especially if you’re messing up the regional accent. .
“To avoid this awkward encounter, we’ve researched the most commonly mispronounced places, so you never have to worry about those tongue twisters again.
“When you learn to pronounce these place names correctly, I encourage you to speak like a native – or at least a savvy tourist.”
The ranking of the best places presents the most difficult places to pronounce, by analyzing a list of 68 places.
Correct: ed-in-bruh or ed-in-buh-ruh
Incorrect: ED-in-berg or ED-in-buh-row or EED-in-berg
If Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is pronounced “PITTS-berg”, then Edinburgh, Scotland is pronounced “ED-in-berg”, right? Bad.
The two most common and accepted pronunciations in the Scottish capital are the short ‘ED-in-bruh’ and the longer ‘ED-in-bur-uh’.
Scots warn that they talk fast and tend to swallow unnecessary vowels, so be sure to start loud with “ED-in” and then end quickly and softly with “bruh” or “bur-uh”.
Incorrect: CON or CONZ or CON-es
The first mistake is to state the “s” at the end of the word (which is rarely done in French), so start by completely removing the “es”. Next, make sure you never pronounce the remaining word as “con” (eg, “He’s a crook”). Instead, Cannes should sound like “Kan.”
It’s natural to look at the name “Thames” and assume that the “th” is pronounced like in many other English words: thick, theatre, three. However, when referring to the Thames in England, the “th” is articulated as a “t” and the “ames” turns into “emz”: “TEMZ”.
4. Yosemite National Park, USA
Correct: yoh-SEH-muh-dee or yoh-SEH-muh-tee
Incorrect: yoh-SEH-mi-nee or YOH-se-might
Start with “yoh”, like yo-yo. Next, stress “seh” as if you were beginning the word “set”. Finally, end with “muh” from “mother” then “tee” from “teeth”. When you put it all together you get “yoh-SEH-muh-tee”.
5. Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Incorrect: LOOV or LOO-vray or LOO-vraa or LOO-ver
Some travelers opt for “LOO-vray” while others try “LOO-ver”. Many skip the ending completely and say “LOOV”. However, the best way to approximate the French pronunciation in English is to say “LOO-vruh”. So now you are ready to discover the Mona Lisa!
Incorrect: ver-SALES or ver-SAY-les
Just like the pronunciation of Cannes, French speakers attack the “es” in Versailles. But they don’t stop there: the double “L”s at the end aren’t pronounced either. After that, there are only two syllables left in the word: ‘ver’ is articulated like ‘vair’ and ‘sai’ sounds like ‘sigh’. This leaves you with “vair-SIGH”. On the other hand, if you ever find yourself in Versailles, Kentucky, stick with “ver-SALES.”
7. Seychelles, East Africa
The name of this African archipelago may sound like a hard word to pronounce due to its unique spelling, but it’s surprisingly easy to say: “SAY-shellz.” All it takes is to string together two common English words, and voila!
Incorrect: ih-BEE-za or eye-BEE-tha or ee-BEE-za
To pronounce this name like a Spaniard, use “ee-BEE-tha”. If you’re wondering why ‘za’ turns into ‘tha’, it’s because the Spanish dialect requires ‘Z’s to be pronounced as ‘th’, while Latin American Spanish speakers voice ‘Z’s. as “s” (i.e., ee-BEE-sa).
Incorrect: FUE-ket or fue-KET or FUH-ket
To some people’s dismay, the actual pronunciation of Phuket is “poo-KET”, starting with a hard “P” and emphasizing the second syllable. Nevertheless, this name might still make mischievous school children and adults laugh.
10. Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua should be expressed as “an-TEE-guh” – as if the “U” had never been there. But chances are that once you stroll along the white-sand beaches of this Caribbean paradise, you’ll forget you’ve ever been bored by what to call it.
The classic Dubai Arabic version replaces the “bye” sound with “bay”: “doo-BAY”. Again, around 85% of Dubai’s population is made up of expats and immigrants, so the anglicized pronunciation of Dubai (“doo-BYE”) is actually the most common pronunciation.
The emphasis is on the dominant syllables.