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Mar 29, 2008 10:50 PM


is it pronounced shar-shoo-terie or shar-koo-terier or shar-chew-terie?

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    1. re: Docsknotinn


      Agree that the middle choice is the closest, but would take off the last "r"

      "shar-koo-terie" or "shar-koo-tuh-rie"

      1. re: moh

        I'd go with "shar-ku-tuh-ree" - I don't know that we have the equivalent "ku" sound in English though.

          1. re: MMRuth

            "I don't know that we have the equivalent "ku" sound in English though."

            The closest equivalent that I can think of is the word "queue" but even that isn't quite right. It's like trying to say "ee" and "oo" at the same time.

            1. re: moh

              Queue is a dipthong, and the French "u" is not. But ee and OO! That's exactly it!

              To make the French "u:"
              1. Form lips in "oo" shape (like you're going to whistle)
              2. Say ee (as in the word bee) while keeping lips in "oo" shape.

              That should pretty much result in the right sound. But it would sound ridiculous to use the actual French "u" sound WITHOUT a flipped "r." The Merriam Webster pronounciation is probably the best we'll find, but it is heavily anglisized.

              Ye gods is it hard to teach pronounciation through writing! I tried to spell out how I think the French would pronounce it, and I just can't! I could pronounce it for you, though! (I went through primary grades in French, and a portion of my schooling thereafter was also in French.)

      2. it is shar - koo- tuhree with the emphasis on the koo as the French would pronounce it.

        the koo is not pronounced like queue but like the sound of a pigeon coo.

        10 Replies
          1. re: smartie

            Hmm are you sure about the "coo" sound? That sounds like an anglicization of the French pronunciation.

            Listen, I'll try posting a note on the Quebec Board with a link, maybe some of the other Francophones can chime in (as I don't know if you are a francophone, Smartie, and I don't want to make an assumption. I am certainly not francophone, so I wold defer to those who are.)

            Maybe CH should put an audio link onto their posts!

            (Shar - koo - tuhree. SHAR-koo-tuhree. Shar - koo- TER -ree? :)

            1. re: moh

              Isn't the accent always on the last syllable in French?

              Anyway, this is kinda how I'd pronounce it (as a bilingual anglo in Québec):


              Only three syllables. I'm not familiar with the "real" notation for indicating pronunciation, so of course this is just an approximation. I've seen a French pronunciation guide somewhere that has audio files, I'll try to find it!

              EDIT: Found this .wav but they put the accent on the middle syllable

              1. re: kpzoo

                Three syllables is how I hear and pronounce it in French. This is confirmed by the Petit Robert (can't paste the pronunciation here because International Phonetic Alphabet characters show up as garbage): shar-ku-tree. Of course the vowels aren't diphthongized and the r is guttural.

                Which syllable to stress? Simplifying here a bit but in French the tonic accent falls on the last syllable of a "cell" or rhythmic/syntactic group. In individual words, it is for all intents and purposes nonexistent except when the words are spoken in isolation. So, in "charcuterie" on its own, the last syllable would be stressed. In other contexts, it's quite possible that no syllable would be.

                1. re: carswell

                  My wife, whose first language was French, approves of my calling it "shar-koo-t'REE" (briefest hiatus between the T and the R, just enough to get your mouth parts into position to pronounce the R correctly). I must be saying it right, because she keeps buying me cookbooks on the subject...

              2. re: moh

                moh I am a Londoner, but my French teacher at school was a Parisienne and she was darned strict on pronunciation and inflection. Even so, it's been 35 years since I learnt French at school!

                Montreal French and Parisian French are quite different, comparable to Home Counties English (my accent - posh London and surrounds) and say Texan English.

                1. re: smartie

                  > Montreal French and Parisian French are quite different

                  Indeed! However, I would venture to say that "charcuterie" is not one of the words that's pronounced that differently in Quebec & France. :-)

                  1. re: smartie

                    Yes, excellent point! I guess I was just wondering if the "eu" sound (at least, what I had been taught as the french pronunciation of the letter "u") would be used, instead of a softer rounder "oo" sound that I associate with "coo" as in the sound of a dove. Certainly, the sound may be softer in a Parisien's accent.

                    I certainly remember the differences between a posh London accent and a Lancashire accent (spent a year up in Blackburn, if you can believe it!) and of course, the distinctive Glaswegian accent. Language is a wonderful thing!

                    1. re: smartie

                      I speak "Texan English," I suppose (being a Texan and an English-speaker) and I pronounce it

                      shar <coo> ter ie

                    2. re: moh

                      As per the Robert, among others, the u is the classic French u as pronounced in *rue* and *vêtu*.

                  2. In American English, \(ˌ)shär-ˌkü-tə-ˈrē\. You can hear an audio clip at

                    1. According to the Shorter OED, English pronunciation is shar-KOO-terie.

                      As many have said, the French u sound in charcuterie has no direct equivalent in English. It's commonly rendered as an "oo" by English-speakers, but that's one of the stereotypical markers of an English-speaker's accent as heard by French-speakers on either side of the Atlantic.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Mr F

                        Agreed. In French, emphasis is on last syllable, but if speaking English, keep the accent on the second syllable, and pronounce all four of them. I think the OP was confused about the pronunciation of the C, which has a hard sound before a U in French. Using CH or SH for C only occurs in Italian.

                        1. re: Venusia

                          Hmmm, interesting...and since I am Italian that is probably why I have been pronouncing it shar-shoe-ter-ee. Now I know, thank you!

                          1. re: jewels_vancouver

                            I am an Italian-American and I pronounce it "pork store".

                        2. re: Mr F

                          Charcuterie seems to popular in Scottsdale at the moment...

                          I was wondering, however, whether 'tis true there is no "u" sound in English like that in French. What about the "u" in the word "cute" ? Maybe not exact but closer?

                          1. re: Paulbx

                            "Oo" closer to "roof" than "toot." I don't speak French, really, but I married into a pack of French people and American Francophones, so while I have a hard time constructing a sentence I can pronounce individual words pretty well. So: shar-COO-t'r-EE, the R of course being halfway swallowed in that charming French manner. And if you can't flatten the "COO" part that's okay, because they'll understand you anyway. There's almost certainly a region in France where they pronounce it exactly like that.

                          1. re: riboflavinjoe

                            (I think that if someone can read IPA, they can pronounce foreign words without much problem. That said, it's nice to see both the three and four syllable versions. I prefer four myself.)