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Aug 23, 2004 09:20 PM

How do you pronounce 'bruschetta'?

  • l


  1. Hey LA-san,

    According to the "Food Lover's Companion", it can be pronounced either "broo-SKEH-tah", or "broo-SHEH-tah".

    FWIW, I've always heard it, and pronounced it, as the former.


    17 Replies
    1. re: Andy P.

      The the Food Lover's Companion does not know proper Italian.

      1. re: Andy P.

        Mario Batali insists that it is Brew Ske Ta but I have also had quite a number of Italian born and raised people (wife teaches ESL) insist Brew Shet Ta. Is it possible that it is a regional thing? At Il Grano the waiters are so fresh off the boat that you can't understand a word they say. They all have told me (3 of them)Brew Shet Ta. There must not be an easy answer.

        1. re: Just Larry

          What about New York Italians who say "ri-cah-ta"? How about all the foodies who don't know that to "caramelize" is to make a dark syrup, and "carmel" is a mountain near the Holy Land or a town on the California coast.

          1. re: Jim H.

            I am trying to give up being angry on the "caramel"/"Carmel" confusion, but it is hard. Surely, surely, people in the food industry should know that to cook something until its sugars brown and begin to burn has nothing to do with a city in California, but I have heard many waiters as well as famous people on the Food Network say it, and it makes my skin crawl.

            1. re: Sarah W-R
              amused 'hound

              Have you considered anger management therapy?


            2. re: Jim H.

              Oh, the one that really gets to me is the people who call mascarpone cheese mar-ska-pone. Can they not see the placement of the "r"?

              1. re: Bunny-Bunny

                To be fair, you can't always go by the location of the letters.

                Brett Favre
                Chipotle peppers

                1. re: Bob W.

                  I dunno 'bout the quarterback, but "chipotle" is pronounced exactly as it is spelled. Yeah, I know a lot of people say, "chipolte", but they're wrong. Lots of people say, "real-a-tor", too.

                    1. re: ricepad

                      They also say gover-ment and envire-ment..... Eek!

                      1. re: ricepad

                        I know someone who calls it chi-PLO-tay.

                        1. re: ricepad

                          We've had more than one president who said "nuke-you-ler."

                    2. re: Jim H.

                      That Central Cal town is car-MEL.

                    3. re: Just Larry

                      I've always been told that the northern Italians pronounce it Brew-shet-ta and the Italians from the south say Brew-sket-ta

                      1. re: Tina12

                        That's wrong. In Italy, all that you hear is with the "k" sound.

                      2. re: Just Larry

                        Wrong: The answer is extremely easy. I'm a native Italian born and raised in Florence. The correct pronunciation is BrusKetta with a K sound. No regionalism, no dialect... It's plain correct and codified Italian language. It means a slice of broiled bread. We Italians use the written letters "CH" in order to produce the sound "K". (The word "chi" which means "who" in English is certainly NOT pronounced "she" but "key") . You do not need Mario Batali to confirm that the BrusKetta pronunciation is right and the only one. Invest in a trip to Italy to solve the intricate mystery.. Lol

                      3. In Italian, the "ch" is pronounced as a "K'. Thus it would be brew-skeh-tah, and don't let anyone tell you differently. On the other hand, "sc" by itself in Italian is the "sh" sound (thus pesce is peh-shay). If I hear brew-sheh-tah one more time I'm gonna scream!

                        58 Replies
                        1. re: schpsychman

                          I have the pleasure of having three woman in my life who are fluent in Italian, and all learned or refined the language in Florance (one of them being my wife) all of whom pronounce it brew-skeh-tah.
                          Another word of contention is Biscotti. My wife wants to strangle every person who pernounces it bis-COT-ee, instead of bis-coat-ee.

                          1. re: Sthitch
                            RWCFoodie (Karen)

                            My husband (American-born Italian) is the same! Every time he hears "bis-cot-tee" he just about jumps out of his skin, and he's a very easy-going guy! Why, oh why, can't these relatively simple-to-pronounce words get sooo mangled???

                            1. re: Sthitch

                              It's Florence... Not "Florance" ... Are you sure your woman has ever been there?

                            2. re: schpsychman

                              I believe that it's the 'ce' and not the 'sc' that makes the pronunciation of *pesce* peh-shay. If I recall correctly, the 'c' followed by either 'e' or 'i' is always pronounced 'sh' in Italian.

                              Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, I don't want to create language stress in the world.

                              1. re: Cristina

                                You are correct. C before i or e is the English "ch" sound. C before a, o, or u is "k."

                                The emphasis is on the second syllable. You also actually pronounce both t's in that you hold the sound longer on the t. Hence, bruschetta is pronounced differently than would be bruscheta if it was a word. Same for the double t in biscotti.

                                If you really want to sound native, try to trill the r as in Spanish and Japanese.

                                And, in response to some of the other posters about mangling of the Italian language, my pet peeve is the standard usage in the U.S. of "latte" for a caffelatte. Order latte in Italy, and you will get a glass of milk. Even if you do pronounce the double t correctly.

                                1. re: Bacchante

                                  And order a latte after morning, you will really get strange looks..

                                  1. re: Karl S.

                                    Ha! That's for sure!!

                                    Reminds me of the time I was waiting in line at a coffee bar (not McBucks)in the Northwest terminal of the old National Airport in D.C. The woman in front of me was giving the poor girl behind the bar such grief about how badly she was making her "latte." And actually, she appeared to be doing just fine. As the woman paid and stalked off, she said to the girl, "I'm from Seattle, and I know how a latte should be made." Did that mean she milks her own cow each morning? I always hoped she would find herself in Rome and order a "latte" at, for example, the bar at Sant'Eustachio--or "sant yustacheeo" to her.

                                  2. re: Bacchante

                                    Well said! Thanks for the intelligent comment, man! "Grazie tante" !

                                  3. re: Cristina

                                    The sc makes the sh sound in Italian, as proscuitto is pro-shoo-to.

                                    1. re: schpsychman

                                      actually, the word is spelled "prosciutto" not "proscuitto," and it is the ci that makes the sound soft instead of hard. The s makes it "sh" instead of "ch"

                                      "Proscuitto" would be pronounced "proskweetto."

                                    2. re: Cristina

                                      No. It's the "SC" that sounds "SH".

                                    3. re: schpsychman

                                      Oh, man, I'm with you there. I can't count the times I have sat there, eyeball to eyeball with a waiter offering me "brushetta" and saying, yes, I'd love the "brusketta" - and then getting one of these tight, condescending smiles back that screams "you rube" when he arrives and announces the "brushetta" back at me.

                                      Not the waitperson's fault probably. That's what the kitchen told them it was, no doubt. But this is a world where you get offered "our special cajun pesto Alfredo sauce" so what can one expect.

                                      There isn't even a consensus on whether mushrooms are "portobello," "portabella," or, split the differnece, "portabello."

                                      My head hurts. Time for a cafe latte and a biscotto.

                                      1. re: mrbarolo

                                        My head hurts too, AND I'm paranoid now. I'm going to have to start pointing at food items I want lest I grate someone's nerves severely.

                                        1. re: danna

                                          seriously... didn't know people had to pronounce things immaculately perfect to avoid the ire of some folks. I'd hate to go to a vietnamese place and have to order long bo pha lau. Or even Pho... Heaven forbid I get the tone a little off... heresy!

                                          1. re: adamclyde

                                            Not speaking for other posters, and not reviewing all the posts up to now, I can only say that that's not the issue for me. The issue for me is staff at restaurants - people who represent the restaurant, and its food - who not only mispronounce the dishes they sell, but smugly correct people who can pronounce them. For me this extends (or actually is preceded by) restaurant menus that mis-identify dishes, misspell the names and ingredients, or randomly throw around Fench, Italian etc. cooking terms and names with no apparent understanding of what they actually mean.

                                            I don't sneer at a 24-hour diner whose menu offers a "Julianne" salad, or beef "with au jus." But I'd think twice about a pricey French restaurant that did that.

                                            I don't mock a 22 year old bartender at a college hangout for not pronouncing a "Wehlener Sonnenuhr" correctly, but I do expect a sommelier to be able to read a wine label.

                                            It's a matter of context.

                                            "Bruschetta" is far more common a term than something plucked from the heart of a Vietnamese menu. Itlian is a romance language, not an Asian one. It's just not that hard to get right. Especially if pronouncing it is actually part of how you earn your living.

                                            But, these things are subject to all sorts of odd variations. There was a thread on the Manhattan board, I believe, on the "correct" pronunciation of "Les Halles." The debate raged on. I asked a French friend and she said that one version was more old fashioned than the other. Though carrying over the "z" sound from "Les" into "Halles" was more orthodox, both might be heard in France. (Lay-ahl, or Layzahl)

                                            So everyone who weighed in emphatically on one side or the other was, at best half right.

                                            Now, how do you feel about hearing an "x" in "espresso?"

                                            1. re: mrbarolo

                                              ok you brought it up. not everyone even knows their (sic) own language perfectly...

                                              there are two kinds of words in French that begin with an aitch (or hache if we're being way-French). One class takes a liason and one doesn't. For example, hirondelle, a swallow, and hibou, an owl. It's l'hirondelle and le hibou. So Les hirondelles would take the liason (Layzeerrhondell) and Les hiboux (Lay eeboo). If your French friend disagrees with this, I apologize.

                                              Then again see how many are adamant about the objective case for pronouns after the word "like."

                                              1. re: mrbarolo

                                                Thank you, mrbarolo. You hit the nail on the head perfectly. It is exactly that--the wait staff not getting it right (in high end restaurants) and then correcting the customer who has it right. And UGH, "expresso" makes me crazy too. LOL

                                                1. re: LorrieB

                                                  Guess you shouldn't visit France, LorrieB. Here we spell it eXpresso.

                                                  1. re: RandyB

                                                    It always used to be eXpresso in the UK - probably till about the late 1960s when most of us had started to travel overseas for holidays and found out the correct way of pronouncing it. I still occasionally catch myself saying it that way.

                                                    1. re: RandyB

                                                      That's funny 'cause I say eSpresso but my fingers type eXpresso.

                                                      1. re: rainey

                                                        Why not? Your fingers are returning to their Latin roots. :)

                                                      2. re: RandyB

                                                        ... and you are wrong. Keep pronouncing it that way if you want. Bravo.

                                              2. re: mrbarolo

                                                I was in Naples, FL this week and ordered "brew-skett-a" - Once I am told how to pronounce something, I don't forget. Of course the waitress corrected me saying "oh, ok-brew-shetta' and this time I thought, no, enough, YOU will learn how to speak Italian, my little friend. I thought it was rude anyway to correct a customer, so I said to her "actually, it is pronounced 'brew-skett-a' and she was accepting. Now if we could only have schools teach children when to use "I" and when to use "me" properly.

                                                1. re: LorrieB

                                                  I pronounce it brew-SKET-ta, I have a friend who combines the two and calls it brew-SHKET-ta.

                                              3. re: schpsychman

                                                of course if you're saying it here, you'd use the Anglicized version, the Italian pronunciation is irrelevant. That is, of course, unless you're in the habit of pronouncing the names of all foreign cities and foods in their native tongues and not English.

                                                1. re: AlanH™

                                                  The problem being that there is no established Anglicized pronunciation.

                                                  1. re: Karl S.

                                                    Then people whouldn't get so upset that it's being pronounced "wrong".

                                                    1. re: AlanH™

                                                      I don't say "Par-ee" because "Par-iss" is well established as that cities name in English. But,
                                                      there's no standard "american" pronunciation of spaghetti. That's no reason to call it "spa-jet-ee."

                                                      That would be wrong. Especially in an Italian restaurant, where, one would assume, they aspire to present food as it is made and pronounced in its country of origin.

                                                      1. re: mrbarolo

                                                        So you never say beef, chicken, fish, cheese, etc in an Italian restaurant? You always use the Italian word?

                                                        1. re: AlanH™

                                                          I follow the restaurant's lead. If the menu offers, "bistecca fiorentina" that's what I order. I don't ask for "Florentine Steak," though the english words exist. Ditto "fritto misto" - I don't order the "mixed fry."

                                                          But I've started to lose the thread (as it were). I thought it was just a general annoyance at mispronunciation of fairly common, though still foreign words. Especially by people whose business involves using those foreign words.

                                                            1. re: Toscanaccio

                                                              You could save yourself a lot of typing by just clicking on the little heart in the bottom right corner. :)

                                                      2. re: AlanH™

                                                        >Then people whouldn't get so upset that it's being pronounced "wrong".

                                                        Uh, no.

                                                        Think of all the slang words you know for women's genitalia. Sprinkle in some
                                                        of the foreign words, too. Now, add "bruSHETTA."
                                                        Really, it means the same as the v-word, the p-word and the c-word.

                                                        That's why anyone saying bruSHETTA is being ignorant or vulgar or unintentionally comical.

                                                        I've seen Italians die of laughter when someone orders bruSHETTA. And nothing tops when Kimberly Clark, who manufactures feminine hygiene products, sponsored a series of food infomercials on how to make pesto, infused oils and bruSHETTA.
                                                        KC filmed the bruSHETTA infomercial talking time and time again about female genitalia, put the infomercial on the air, and not once did anyone at KC check the proper pronunciation. Some of us in the food biz were having a good chuckle over this and decided to let Kimberly Clark know that their pronunciation was, shall we say, ironic given their product line. The reaction from the KC executives: Sheer. Stunned. Mortification.

                                                        The mispronunciation has become so widespread that my friends and I tell people, "Don't say you're having bruSHETTA for dinner unless you really are..."

                                                        1. re: maria lorraine

                                                          Ask Google Translate to pronounce bruschetta. In French, Google pronounces it SH. In Italian it says SK.

                                                          The English pronunciation from Google is almost impossible to explain. Maybe BRAHSS-chet-TAH.

                                                          1. re: maria lorraine

                                                            The Italian slang word you are skirting around is "brioscia", which usually just means "brioche". I suppose you could extend this to "brioscetta" and I suppose if you come across an English speaker who is obviously talking about bruschetta, but pronounces the word with an SH sound, you can decide to hear "brioscetta" (even though "bruschetta" with an SH sound still sounds different from "brioscetta"), decide to pick the vulgar meaning instead of the much more common food-related meaning, and die of laughter.

                                                            It helps if you're 11 years old.

                                                            1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                              The etymology of the slang word pronounced "brushetta" is bruscia.

                                                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                And? How commonly recognized is this word, and how uncooperative do you have to be to decide that someone is saying this word instead of "bruschetta"? If a non-native English speaker says to you "I need to buy some new shits for the bed" instead of "sheets", do you die of laughter and humiliate them into sheer. stunned. mortification., and then post the story on the Internet?

                                                                  1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                    You asserted that some word that sounds like "brushetta" is a vulgar Italian word on a par with the "c"-word. This is a mischaracterization. All English speakers recognize the "c"-word as pretty much the most forceful curse word in the language. None of the Italians I have consulted (from several different regions of Italy) have any idea what word you might be referring to, and their reaction to "brushetta" is simply, "Oh, apparently a lot of English speakers don't know the normal Italian pronunciation of this word."

                                                                    I'm not saying that "bruSHetta" is the right pronunciation. (I'm not saying it's wrong either, _in English_.) And I obviously agree that if you don't pronounce a borrowed word in the same way as in the original language, then you risk saying another word that means something totally different in that language. But as a general rule, this doesn't have to be a problem in the borrowing language unless people want it to be a problem. And in this particular case, it doesn't even seem to be a problem in the original language, since most Italians don't associate "bruSHetta" with any meaning.

                                                                    1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                      Sorry, I don't agree. During the great deal of time I've spent in Italy and with Italian culinarians where I live in the US, I have witnessed Italians firmly and forcefully correcting
                                                                      those saying "brushetta." There is no doubt they consider it rude. I know you may want to argue further about this, but not me.....

                                                                      1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                        There's nothing to argue about, if you've now backed down to saying simply that Italians consider "bruSHetta" to be incorrect. That was established in the first few messages of this thread over 7 years ago. If you have sources to back up what you first said about the meaning of "bruscia"/"bruscetta", I would be interested in learning about them, and it would be a useful contribution to this thread.

                                                                1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                  No it is not. There is NO such word as "bruscia" in Italian. Bruschetta derives from the Roman (as in Rome the city) slang verb "BRUSCARE" that means "to broil". Where did you get this information from??

                                                                  1. re: Toscanaccio

                                                                    I don't think you read closely enough, Toscanaccio.

                                                                    1. re: Toscanaccio


                                                                      You missed out completely that we are in agreement
                                                                      because you did not read closely enough.

                                                                      This is what I wrote:
                                                                      <<The etymology of the slang word pronounced "brushetta" is bruscia.>>

                                                                      You see, I differentiated between the slang word pronounced bruSHETTA and the word bruschetta.

                                                                      In your post, you wrote:
                                                                      <<No it is not. There is NO such word as "bruscia" in Italian. Bruschetta derives from the Roman (as in Rome the city) slang verb "BRUSCARE" that means "to broil". Where did you get this information from??>>

                                                                      Which shows you did not read closely enough. You thought I was talking about bruscia as the etymology for the word bruschetta, when I was referring to the slang term pronounced bruSHETTA.

                                                                      Here is the info source on the word "bruscia".
                                                                      ]Bruscia (vulgar slang): Italian for 'filthy, kinky, crazy, whore!!'

                                                                      It is vulgar slang, probably dialect. There is quite a bit written online about bruscia being the root word for the word PRONOUNCED bru-shetta. Note: Not bruschetta. You misunderstood, Toscanaccio.

                                                                      1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                        First, the Urban Dictionary definition you linked to does not correspond to the definition you gave for "bruscia" earlier in this thread. Second, anybody can add anything they want to Urban Dictionary, and this particular entry suggests that "bruscia" is actually used in English. Any of the English speakers reading this thread can judge for themselves the reliability of that claim. And third, none of the Italian speakers consulted in this thread know the word "bruscia" or the derived form "bruscietta". That doesn't mean it doesn't exist in some dialect, but it does mean that when most Italians hear someone mispronounce "bruschetta" with an "sh" sound, they may die of laughter and forcefully correct the person, but it not because the mispronunciation corresponds to a vulgar word. It is simply meaningless to them. Yes, it sounds ignorant and incorrect, because in the context of a conversation it will be clear that the person is mispronouncing "bruschetta". But no, unless they happen to speak the as yet unidentified dialect where "bruscia" is used, when they hear "bruSHetta" they DO NOT think that someone is accidentally saying "little whore" or "little pussy".

                                                                        I wish that in light of what everyone else has been saying in this thread you would update what you think you know about this word.

                                                                        1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                          GRAZIEEEEEEEEEEE DeppityDawg !
                                                                          (Oh, ma questa non lo vuol capire!)

                                                                          1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                            I've researched this, and spent a great deal time of time in Italy. I've spoken with Italians there, and Italians in the US about the proper pronunciation, and the meaning when the word is mispronounced as brushetta. I've also researched the word bruscia. is only one source. I stand by everything I've written.

                                                                            1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                              That's interesting to me, because once, a long time ago, a woman who knew Italian explained a joke to me referring to fig trees in a Fellini film. I don't remember which film.

                                                                      2. re: Toscanaccio

                                                                        I had never heard this word, so I asked my Roman husband, who has spent practically his entire life in the very male environment of an engineering faculty, and he never heard it either. He added that, of course, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist, but that, in his opinion, it is undoubtedly some dialect and not Italian. In any case, foreigners have enough to worry about on that score remembering to say fico.

                                                                        I simply don't see what is so difficult about saying bruschetta properly. The H has the same role it has in zucchini and Chianti.

                                                                            1. re: Toscanaccio

                                                                              The article erroneously lists tomato as a primary ingredient, and what is with that picture? Grana padano, caramelized balsamico, and tomato salad? Mi faccia il favore!

                                                                      3. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                        We do not laugh in titillation or at someone, and never laugh at a foreigner's pronunciation of anything. Context, again.

                                                                      4. re: maria lorraine

                                                                        On second thought, you are probably thinking of "buscedda", a dialectal word that is not widely known or widely used, and again, only approximately sounds like "bruschetta" with an SH sound. And before thinking of genitalia, most Italians would probably think of this man:

                                                                  2. re: schpsychman

                                                                    You are absolutely right. I checked with an Italian forum and was assured that there is no difference in the pronunciation between the north and the south on this word. Brew-sket-tah it is, and delicious, too!

                                                                  3. I have asked this very question an italian acquaintance of mine and he said, ultra clearly:


                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Sir Gawain

                                                                      Maybe he has a speech impediment then.

                                                                    2. While we are at it, can Easterners explain why my father-in-law (Italian-American from upstate NY) cuts off the final i and o on many words? Prosciutt for proscuitto, manicott, spaghett, the list goes on. I heard a woman from New Jersey asking for prosciutt once too.

                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Napkin

                                                                        My Mom is not Italian and from Brooklyn and talks the same way. Does he say ragutta or ragut? Brajool or brajole?

                                                                        1. re: Ellen

                                                                          I'm not sure - will have to try to get him to say those next time I talk to him! It is definitely ricott and any kind of pasta can be called macaroni (make that macaron).

                                                                          1. re: Ellen

                                                                            These are also ways that my relatives in South Philly pronounce words as well. I think they are Italian-American pronounciations, espcially in the Northeast. I also get a real kick out of how some Italian Americans pronounce their names. For example: Bataglia said as Ba-tag-li-uh instead of Ba-tal-ya (silent g); and my personal all time favorite: Lucado (Lu-cah-doe) pronounced as luck-a-doo!

                                                                            1. re: schpsychman

                                                                              In his book "The American Language," H.L. Mencken pointed to people named Tagliaferro who (as far back as the 1920s when he wrote the book) pronounced their name "Toliver."

                                                                              Some of my mother's relatives have changed the spelling of their last name from the original Grandchamp to "Granshaw," which is actually closer to the way it is pronounced in French than "Grand Champ."

                                                                              It would be quite funny, though, if all of us started using the German pronunciation of "hamburger" and "frankfurter," don't you think?

                                                                              1. re: Kirk

                                                                                Indeed, the Talioferros are an old FFV (First Family of Virginia), and Toliver is their customary pronunciation from way back.

                                                                          2. re: Napkin

                                                                            Those pronunciations are canonical in the NY-Philly area, and are influenced by the dominance of folks from regions of Sicily and the Mezzogiorno where final vowels are optional in spoken dialect, as it were.

                                                                            In many parts of NY, if you ask for manna-COTT-ee, you will get strange looks; ask for mahn-na-GUT (or pruh-ZHU(H)T, they understand.....

                                                                            1. re: Karl S.

                                                                              I grew up in an Italian neighborhood in a suburb of Boston (Nonantum)and it's only as an adult that I've heard any but the dropped-end-vowel pronunciation of those words. I'm not Italian but I was always very sure of the "correct" pronunciation - until recently!!

                                                                            2. re: Napkin

                                                                              That's just dialect (at best) or American-descended-from-southern-Italy slang. Possibly, you might hear that variant in Calabria, Napoli or thereabouts, but never north of Rome.

                                                                            3. everyone pretty much has it so far, but to clear up (or add to) the confusion:

                                                                              It is the h in bruschetta that makes the "k" sound. A poster correctly explained that the "ce" combination is a soft sound--like cello. Without the h, it would be bru-shet-ta, with the h, bru-sket-ta. The h in spaghetti serves the same purpose--no h would leave a soft g like a j in french (je, jeudi) or like zsa-zsa.

                                                                              However, that pronunciation rule is for standard italian. LIke most languages, Italian is spoken differently in different regions; likely, bru-shetta is common in some regions.