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Joe Riley

43 Most Mispronounced Food Words

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I would disagree that there is a definitive way to pronounce "caramel", both Radom House and American Heritage dictionaries list three correct pronunciations: [kar-uh-muhl, -mel, kahr-muhl].

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I would disagree that there is a definitive way to pronounce

Several of the comments note that, from a linguistic standpoint, there are no errors, only variations. ;)

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I would disagree that there is a definitive way to pronounce "caramel", both Radom House and American Heritage dictionaries list three correct pronunciations: [kar-uh-muhl, -mel, kahr-muhl].

Another example of this French-style word might be "pecan" which has up to four pronunciations: PEE-kahn, PEE-can, puh-KAHN, and puh-CAN.

I'm pretty sure mktye has an opinion about "praline."

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I know everyone says shar-COO-tuh-ree, but it hurts my ears and I don't care how fucking pretentious I sound if I pronounce it correctly. A lot of other variants on this list are pretty sketchy.

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Any list that leaves off the most mis-pronounced word in restaurants (foie gras) is bogus.

Remember how the announcer on the old Iron Chef pronounced it? "Fwagruh." It always made me laugh.

I have one word to say on the subject: boloney!

Wanna see my Wiener?

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I know everyone says shar-COO-tuh-ree, but it hurts my ears and I don't care how fucking pretentious I sound if I pronounce it correctly. A lot of other variants on this list are pretty sketchy.

CHARK you terry ;)

(I can picture this in New Orleans)

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Any list that leaves off the most mis-pronounced word in restaurants (foie gras) is bogus.

How well do people do with sommelier these days (the word, not the person)?

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Several of the comments note that, from a linguistic standpoint, there are no errors, only variations. ;)

I'd add Phở to the word list.

With this group, a spelling bee would be more challenging.

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I'd add Phở to the word list.

It's there -- on the second page.

With this group, a spelling bee would be more challenging.

I went to the citywide round of the Scripps as a kid, but stage fright did me in (too scared to talk into the mic)! Who else? ;)

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I think lists like these are interesting from a linguistic point of view, but a lot of the judgment people hold for these "mispronunciations" smacks of unneeded snobbery--why is it that some people feel the need to shun the common English pronunciation for food-related loanwords? They insist that it's "bru-ske-tuh" rather than "bru-sheh-tuh", but I doubt they would say that a jazz band featured a wonderful "trom-bo-neh" rather than a "trom-bone". And while the people who made this list may go to the golden corral for a great "boo-fay" and not a "buf-fay", do they commend the skilled chefs in the back for "ad-rwah" in dealing with the crowds instead of being "ad-roit"?

Languages adapt, evolve, and change--loanwords are often modified and pronunciations can deviate greatly from their origins. Using a person's common pronunciation which differs from the original but perhaps not from common usage is a cheap way to get a rush of superiority.

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[Deriding] a person's common pronunciation which differs from the original but perhaps not from common usage is a cheap way to get a rush of superiority.

Alas, nothing is cheap these days, and one must scrape together one's amusements where one finds them.

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I doubt they would say that a jazz band featured a wonderful "trom-bo-neh" rather than a "trom-bone".

I have to admit, this totally made me think of this post:

Arctic Char Tartare

Can't wait to hear my friend from South Boston order this dish.

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I have to admit, this totally made me think of this post:

Can't wait to hear my friend from South Boston order this dish.

I don't think you have to worry about a Southie ordering that dish. ;)

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I don't think you have to worry about a Southie ordering that dish. ;)

I've gone back to edit that right -- I'm not the one who said it. :P

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I need to edit that right -- I'm not the one who said it. ;)

Don't forget Al Dente's sig line: "I know the taste of cork, and this wine tastes like cork."

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So, mentioning pho...

I asked one of my Vietnamese coworkers one time about pronouncing it. I know how it's supposed to be pronounced, but I always felt a bit self-conscious, like I was trying too hard, if I pronounced it correctly.

He told me that Americans sound like (ahem, paraphrased) "a-holes" if we try to pronounce it correctly and that we should just say it "foe".

;):P

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Why is bruschetta listed but not maraschino?

Because Olive Garden doesn't serve a Martinez?

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I'm a linguist by trade, and we love all languages and dialects equally and do not admit of "wrong" pronunciations as a matter of faith.

Nonetheless:

Worcestershire Sauce (woos-ter-sheer saws)

NO! It's wuh-ster sauce.. Every other syllable is silent.

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