Have you been saying these place names incorrectly? 17



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These places may seem obviously to say but there’s a good chance you are saying them wrong. In fact, most of us are. Has anyone ever taught you the correct way to say ‘Dubai’? If you aren’t from the place or know a local person, how are you supposed to know?

For instance, how many of you have hear foreigners pronounce ‘Melbourne’ incorrectly? We know to say ‘Mel-b’n’ but they always say ‘Mel-BORN’. It comes down to intonation, emphasis and accent, which explains why sometimes we get words very wrong.

Tell us, have you been pronouncing these places wrong too? If so, find out how to say them properly so you can teach your friends.


  • Wrong: BANG-kok
  • Right: Bahng-Gawk

Phuket, Thailand

  • Wrong: Foo-kit or Fuh-ket
  • Right: Poo-get

Beijing, China

  • Wrong: Bay-zhhhing
  • Right: Bey-Jing


  • Wrong: Boo-da-PEST
  • Right: Boo-da-PESHT


  • Wrong: Doo-BYE
  • Right: Du-BAY

Thames River, United Kingdom

  • Wrong: THAYms
  • Right: TEMs

Colombia, South America

  • Wrong: Co-LUM-bee-a
  • Right: Co-LOHM-bee-a

Louisville, Kentucky

  • Wrong: Loo-iss-vill
  • Right: Loo-i-vul

Tijuana, Mexico

  • Wrong: TEE-uh-WAN-na
  • Right: Tee-WHANNA


  • Wrong: EYE-rack
  • Right: ee-ROCK


  • Wrong: PAK-uh-Stan or PAK-ee-Stan
  • Right: PAH-kee-Stahn

The River Thames, UK

  • Wrong: THAYms
  • Right: TEMs


  • Wrong: TEE-uh-WAN-na
  • Right: Tee-WHANNA

Worcestershire, UK

  • Wrong: Wor-chester-shyr
  • Right: Wusta-sheer


  • Wrong: Kah-TAR
  • Right: Kuh-Ter

Versailles, France

  • Wrong: Ver-SAYLZ
  • Right: Ver-SYE


Have you been saying any of these places wrong? Were there any surprises on this list?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I really have nothing to say about the pronunciations – right or wrong – but, thinking back to Graham Kennedy, it would have been interesting to hear him say Tijuana Phuket… :-p

  2. Yea I say them all wrong and will probably continue to do so, it’s my Australian accent.

  3. What about some Australian place names ? It was sometimes fairly embarrassing being corrected while travelling around !!

  4. Bangkok is wrong, it hasn’t been called that in Thai for over 100 years, it’s Threm Shep, spelling uncertain.

  5. mike here-visited Canberra once & found out from a local that Canberra meant “place where high cost bludgers go to, a-hem, serve & rip off the tax paying population”.

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