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Let's pronounce the word Mozza.

SaltCod Apr 29, 2008 11:08 AM

I've had several friends pronounce this word three different ways. I'll write them out as simply as I can.

There's the popular MAH-za.

Then there's MOH-za.

And I just heard MOTE-za.

I think I know which is correct because Batali said it on the Food Network, but what do you think? :)

  1. ChefJune Apr 30, 2008 01:03 PM

    I don't think they care a whit how you say it as long as you go there often and spend lots of money!

    1. j
      jcwla2 Apr 30, 2008 11:28 AM


      1 Reply
      1. re: jcwla2
        mollyomormon Apr 30, 2008 12:03 PM

        hahaha! thank you!

      2. m
        mangiona Apr 30, 2008 10:11 AM

        it is definitely pronounced MOTTSA - pronouncing the 'O' with a more closed mouth, in the shape of an O, as in 'orange'. also, when you have a double consonant in italian (as in mozzarella) you accentuate those letters and hold that syllable for a little longer. i agree with lad1818 and NOT with brendastarlet... it is not pretentious when you're saying an italian word that has not been translated into english, like florence, instead of firenze. you don't pronounce the word 'ciao' see-ow, right?

        1. n
          number9 Apr 29, 2008 08:41 PM

          it's pronounced mot-zah

          according to their telephone voicemail message....

          2 Replies
          1. re: number9
            dancingchef Apr 29, 2008 09:12 PM

            I watched the Pizzeria Mozza episode of "After Hours with Daniel", and they pronounced it mot-zah.


            1. re: dancingchef
              mmalmad Apr 30, 2008 06:34 AM

              Here in New Haven, it is mootz

          2. podunkboy Apr 29, 2008 07:17 PM

            I just say "Stringy pizza cheese"...

            1. a
              aventinus Apr 29, 2008 02:15 PM

              MOTE-za is pretty pretentious I'd say for native English speakers. The word has a simple English pronounciation--MAHT-za, as in mozzarella. If you going to use a long oh, why not go all out and put the Italian heavy stress on the initial syllable?

              10 Replies
              1. re: aventinus
                mnosyne Apr 29, 2008 02:54 PM

                MAHT-za is what we eat during Passover!

                1. re: mnosyne
                  lad1818 Apr 29, 2008 02:59 PM

                  Before the restaurant opened I read somewhere that the name was a takeoff of mozzarella (Batali's heritage) and matzoh (Silverton's). So I figured that would be the pronunciation.

                  But then I kept hearing a co-worker say "mote-zuh" so then I got self-conscious and never knew what to call it and managed to stammer over it every time.

                2. re: aventinus
                  Will Owen Apr 29, 2008 03:46 PM

                  Aventinus, I do accent the first syllable, of course. My feeling is that when I use a French word I'm speaking French, and when I use an Italian word I'm speaking Italian, if only for the duration of the word. The only exception would be any city name whose English version has become entrenched in our language, i.e. Florence instead of Firenze. Surely you don't call Italian ham "pro-SKEW-toe"? Proper pronunciation of foreign words isn't pretentious, any more than using correct English grammar is.

                  1. re: Will Owen
                    OCAnn Apr 29, 2008 04:04 PM

                    ITA. There was a thread along these lines a while back: www.chowhound.com/topics/483478

                    1. re: Will Owen
                      aventinus Apr 29, 2008 04:16 PM

                      Heh. I see your point. There's a line to be drawn somewhere. It just gets under my skin a wee bit when I hear, say, an English speaker talking about wine and nasalizing and acutely latinizing the vowels. People should speak so as to be best understood by their audience. I am certain that most people would more quickly recognize "Mahtsa" than "Motesa."

                      1. re: aventinus
                        Gio Apr 29, 2008 06:57 PM

                        Well..... "Mahtsa" is not the same thing as Mawt-za.
                        The correct pronunciation is MAWT-za.

                      2. re: Will Owen
                        hsk Apr 29, 2008 06:59 PM

                        Yes, I do, how do you pronounce it? Pro-SHOE-toe? Just curious. Italian is one of the easiest languages to pronounce, not like english, because the rules don't change.

                        1. re: hsk
                          Gio Apr 29, 2008 07:07 PM

                          Prosciutto is pronounced Pro-ZSHU-toe. Trust me.

                      3. re: aventinus
                        Diana Apr 30, 2008 06:26 AM

                        I never can understand why pronouncing things properly is seen as pretentious.

                        Native English Speakers live in England, and they are often amused at how Americans have twisted the language.

                        1. re: Diana
                          mnosyne Apr 30, 2008 10:00 AM

                          Thank you, Diana, for being eminently sensible!

                      4. d
                        debra Apr 29, 2008 12:47 PM

                        I figured it was Mozza, as in Mozzerella.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: debra
                          Diana Apr 29, 2008 01:15 PM

                          and , of course, I always thought Mozzarella was pronounced "Mote-zah-rell-ah"

                          1. re: Diana
                            debra Apr 29, 2008 01:28 PM

                            I'll bet we're all in good company, with Mario, Joe, and Nancy all likely pronouncing Mozzarella slightly differently from each other too -- toemaytoe toemahtoe --it's all good, and with a little bit of basil, it's a caprese ; )

                            1. re: Diana
                              Das Ubergeek Apr 29, 2008 03:36 PM

                              I pronounced it "moot-za-dell". Growing up in New Jersey was the very worst thing for my Italian pronunciation.

                              I always think "matza", like the Jewish cardboard cracker.

                              1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                dolores Apr 30, 2008 06:56 AM

                                That was almost my pronunciation, well my mother's, growing up:

                                moooo----zah----r(not a hard 'r')ell---sometimes with an 'a' at the end.

                                How about cavatelli? How many annoying ways is that one messed up by the Olive Garden?

                                1. re: dolores
                                  Das Ubergeek Apr 30, 2008 11:42 AM

                                  You mean "gavadell"?

                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                    dolores Apr 30, 2008 12:14 PM

                                    Yes! Only to those in the Garden (or in their ads at least), it's


                          2. love2eat Apr 29, 2008 12:43 PM

                            It's the last one...but who cares? This isn't Italy. We are in America. We'll say it how we want to! I almost always say it, "MAH-za" even though I know it's incorrect. It just sounds too affected to say it any other way.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: love2eat
                              Harters Apr 30, 2008 12:49 PM

                              "We are in America"

                              I'm not.

                              So Mot-zah.

                              1. re: Harters
                                dolores Apr 30, 2008 12:55 PM

                                Harters, so my grandmother and mother's pronunciation was dialect?

                                It was definitely Mooo-zah...

                                1. re: dolores
                                  Harters Apr 30, 2008 02:31 PM

                                  "so my grandmother and mother's pronunciation was dialect?"

                                  I have no idea. I'm neither American or Italian.

                                  But, in the UK we pronounce it as I gave (and I've never heard it pronounced otherwise here). But, hey , we pronouce Featherstonehaugh as Fanshaw

                                  1. re: dolores
                                    Will Owen Apr 30, 2008 03:23 PM

                                    It very likely was dialect, meaning some kind of Italian that is spoken anywhere but Tuscany. What the Berlitz etc. books teach us is so-called "correct" Italian, which is the Tuscan dialect, though Tuscans will probably insist that THEY don't HAVE a dialect, everyone else does! Southern Italians and Sicilians tend to drop last syllables and say the vowels differently. Heck, the Piedmontese even pronounce "ch" as "sh": that Lamborghini Countach was pronounced "COON-tahsh", a local expression of astonishment.

                                    1. re: Will Owen
                                      dolores Apr 30, 2008 03:44 PM

                                      Thanks, Will. Yes, she came from Sicily and boy was she colorful.

                              2. Will Owen Apr 29, 2008 12:33 PM

                                MOTE-za is correct, according to the pronunciation guide in my phrasebook.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Will Owen
                                  brendastarlet Apr 29, 2008 12:44 PM

                                  it's MOTE-za. In Italian, the letter "o" is generally pronounced as a long "oh" sound. So it would be Pava-ROH-ti, bis-COH-ti, etc. Americans tend to smooth it out.

                                2. a_and_w Apr 29, 2008 12:11 PM

                                  MOHZ - za.

                                  1. monku Apr 29, 2008 11:19 AM

                                    Call them and see how they answer the phone ?

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: monku
                                      Debbie W Apr 29, 2008 01:40 PM

                                      That's what we did for LA Mill and it's sure a quick way to get an answer.

                                    2. d
                                      Diana Apr 29, 2008 11:14 AM

                                      I always thought that the Italian pronunciation woudl be Mot-zah.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Diana
                                        beany Apr 29, 2008 06:46 PM

                                        me too

                                      2. mollyomormon Apr 29, 2008 11:13 AM

                                        I think it's the last one :)

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