No one likes looking like a fish out of water, and one of the dead giveaway is when you pronounce the name of the town you’re in incorrectly. I’ll never forget my English husband calling Ulladulla “You-LA-doo-la”, or my mother-in-laws attempts at Woolloomooloo, Mooloolaba even Coogee, but they got their own back when we went to Wales!
The New York Post recently compiled a list of the most commonly mispronounced names from around the world and, while Australia is barely represented (or Wales for that matter), there’s plenty of lessons and giggles in the list.
Here are some we may have mangled from time to time…
New Orleans, US
NYP says never, ever refer to the home of blues as NAW-lins because “only tourists chugging Sazeracs in the French Quarter say it that way”. Insteaed, say: New or-LINZ or New or-LEENZ.
Colombia, South America
There’s no ‘U’ in Columbia, therefore, it should be pronounced co-LOM-bee-ah not co-LUM-bee-ah.
According to locals, the capital of Germany should be pronounced bear-LIN or bear-LEEN instead of “berr-LIN”.
The capital of this peculiar northern European country is pronounced REY-kyah-vik not RAKE-ah-vik.
Popular with divers, honeymooners and people who generally love staggering beauty, these islands are called the Mawl-deevz or mol-deevz, not mal-DIVEs.
Qatar, Middle East
If you’re stopping over here on the way to Europe, say kuh-TAR; KUH-tar or cutter – they’ll all work!
Just ignore the “j”s! The Slovenian capital is pronounced Lyoo-BLEE-AH-nah.
Various French cities
Save yourself the snooty look of an offended French person by getting these right:
- Reims: ranse
- Aix-en-Provence: ex-on provOHnce
- Cannes: cann or kenn
- Rennes: ren
So you’ve probably got this one, but it’s good to see that someone is taking the time to tell American people they should say Ed-in-burrah, instead of ed-in-bore-oh — or, God forbid, ed-in-burg.
Another highlight of the list is the inclusion of the three cities our American friends tend to get wrong: “It’s mel-buhne, not mel-born; briz-bin not briss-bane; and though hotly debated, most pronounce Cairns cans or kenz (just don’t drop an “r” in there).”
How did you go? Have you been pronouncing any of these place names incorrectly? Is your town a mouthful that often gets mangled? What are some of the funniest mispronunciations you’ve heard?