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Let's pronounce the word Mozza.

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? :)

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  1. I think it's the last one :)

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

      1 Reply
      1. Call them and see how they answer the phone ?

        1 Reply
        1. re: monku

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

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

            1 Reply
            1. re: Will Owen

              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. 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

                "We are in America"

                I'm not.

                So Mot-zah.

                1. re: Harters

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

                  It was definitely Mooo-zah...

                  1. re: dolores

                    "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

                      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

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

                2. I figured it was Mozza, as in Mozzerella.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: debra

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

                    1. re: Diana

                      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

                        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

                          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: Das Ubergeek

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


                    2. 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

                        MAHT-za is what we eat during Passover!

                        1. re: mnosyne

                          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

                          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

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

                            1. re: Will Owen

                              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

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

                              2. re: Will Owen

                                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

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

                              3. re: aventinus

                                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

                                  Thank you, Diana, for being eminently sensible!

                              4. I just say "Stringy pizza cheese"...

                                1. it's pronounced mot-zah

                                  according to their telephone voicemail message....

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: number9

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


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