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May 12, 2011 01:25 PM

Pronounce "Gouda", Please.

I always hear "gew-duh", but it's "how-duh", right?

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  1. depends if youre speaking english or dutch

    47 Replies
    1. re: thew

      Eh. I don't say "mer-laht" when I want a glass of red just because I'm speaking English.

      1. re: invinotheresverde

        You also don't ask for "un verre de vin." You observe the local custom.

        1. re: invinotheresverde

          I've always heard it pronounced How-duh, and I'm right here in America speaking English along with the cheesemonger.

          1. re: mamachef

            In all my decades of cheese-buying here in the US (and we buy and consume lots and lots and lots of cheese) I've never once heard it any other way then goo-da.

                1. re: ferret

                  Agree completely. We eat LOTS of cheese; if I ever went into a shop where I buy cheese and asked for "howduh," I'd be met with blank looks.

                  1. re: ferret

                    never heard of the How-duh pronunciation. live and learn.

                    1. re: mamachef

                      I had a friend who pronounced it that way, but in a very pompous "I'm more authentic than thou" way.

                      1. re: mamachef

                        You're the closest translation that I've read on this site. You just have to add some 'g's' in the beginning. Roll those 'g', like you're trying to hock up a Lougee, then add an 'h', then an 'ouda', lioutta' here. My mother's from Holland, my last name is Holland. Go figure!

                        1. re: mamachef

                          My mother is from Holland, my last name is Holland. Add some 'g's' in the beginning of the word, roll those 'g's'like you're trying to hock up a Lougee, add an 'h', then and 'ouda', like you're 'outta' here. That's the best I can do for you. Have fun. Don't drink too many beers. Heineken sucks.

                        2. re: invinotheresverde

                          You don't say "mer-laht" because the person you're talking to most likely won't understand what you're referring to. Same goes for "how-duh". It really depends on your communicative goal: Are you trying to say something about cheese, or something about yourself?

                            1. re: DeppityDawg

                              I've said mer-laht to refer to merlot plenty of times and no one seems to have an issue. I guess the question on my mind is why we pronounce some thing the way the do in france (merlot, lingerie) and not other (paris), and still not other things from other countries (gouda).

                              And like others have pointed out, I've heard lots of people call it how-duh.

                              It's acceptable for one word to have two different but nontheless correct pronounciations. Gouda seems to be one of them.

                              1. re: joonjoon

                                It is an interesting question, and it's very hard to discern a pattern. Lingerie is sort of a bad example, because English speakers like myself usually say lon-jer-ay (I actually say "underwear," but whatever), when the French pronunciation is lan-jer-ee. And I pronounce the "s" in Paris, except when I'm talking about a French thing with Paris in the title, like Paris Match.

                                1. re: small h

                                  I say "goo-dah," and I also have a Grandpa who orders "mer-laht" every time we go out to dinner. I never thought we had much in common until reading this thread. Now I'm finding out that we are indeed cut from the same cloth. He'll get a kick out of this.

                                2. re: joonjoon

                                  Now if I ever do hear it pronounced "How-da" I'm gonna know what they're saying and not assume it's a greeting ;)

                              2. re: invinotheresverde

                                do as you wish, however the name f the cheese in english is not howdah (or chowdah with a gutteral h sound as in the dutch) but goodah. things have different names in different languages. when i'm speaking english i call my home town new york and my country the united states.. if im speaking spanish i say nueva york and estados unidos.

                                and merlot is not called merlaht in english, it is called merloh, so your example does not hold up.

                                1. re: thew

                                  Because I'd be pronouncing it French style.

                                  Not trying to argue. Just curious to see how everyone pronounces gouda.

                                  1. re: invinotheresverde

                                    i understand. but "merloh" is the name of the wine in english, as well as french. however gouda is not pronounced the same in english and dutch

                                    1. re: thew

                                      But that's the question. Is it or isn't it?

                                      1. re: invinotheresverde

                                        no, it's the answer. it is pronounced one way in dutch and differently in english. and differently from either in german, as well, apparently

                                        1. re: thew

                                          I'm not so sure it is, though. There are some posters on the thread who have only heard it "how-duh",some who have only heard it "gew-duh" and some who have heard it both. Kind of makesme think there's not one definitive answer.

                                      2. re: thew

                                        I can't imagine that you would ask for "Cam - en - BERT" cheese, when ordering a camenbert so why is there a problem using the native pronounciation for Gouda? What am I missing?

                                        1. re: Sherri

                                          What you're missing is that if you want to be understood you should use what's customary and familiar to whomever you're addressing. Most people in the US say GOO-da and CAM-em-bare. DeppityDawg put it quite succinctly upthread:

                                          P.S. It's CameMbert, not CameNbert

                                          1. re: BobB

                                            Thanks for pointing out the typo, BobB.

                                        2. re: thew

                                          The Dutch pronunciation of "g" like in "gouda" is more like "KHOW-duh" where the "g" is a back-of-the-throat scraping, like you'd hear in Yiddish words like "chazerai" or "chutzpah". (Pronouncing it as "HOOTS-puh", instead of "KHOOTS-puh" immediately tags you as a goy.)

                                          It's the same as Van Gogh, which is actually pronounced like "Fen KHOKH" in Dutch, as their "v" is pronounced like our "f".

                                          Mr Taster

                                      3. re: thew

                                        Thew - Thanks - I was starting to doubt my pronunciation.

                                      4. re: invinotheresverde

                                        Many years ago, I told my date I thought a M├ędoc would go well with our meal, properly pronouncing the final "c." I have forgotten his name, but I still remember his supercilious, "May-doe, my dear." I guess there's such a thing as trying too hard.

                                        1. re: Mona Williams

                                          You know, even if he had been correct, that would have been the last date for me.

                                          1. re: Mona Williams

                                            I love when people correct your accurate pronunciation with a wrong one.

                                            1. re: wekick

                                              I got this the other day when I asked someone at a restaurant about pasta fah-joh-lee. The guy looked at me quizzically and said "you mean pasta fazool?"

                                              Yeah, that.

                                              1. re: joonjoon

                                                or someone saying gym-let when taking my order for a gimlet.

                                                1. re: joonjoon

                                                  "Pasta fazool" is, IIRC, the sort of American-Sicilian pronunciation, like saying "Capeesh" instead of... however you pronounce it really! ;)

                                                  1. re: joonjoon

                                                    That one struck me to the first time I heard it. Very typical in the Northeastern USA Italian communities.

                                                    They also like to drop the gender suffix sometimes. One hears them ordering "mozzarell," "proscuitt," etc., at the deli. I don't think they say "spaghett," though...

                                                    1. re: Bada Bing

                                                      It drives my Italian teacher crazy about the dropped vowels at the end of the word with the Italian Americans in the class.

                                                      1. re: Bada Bing

                                                        Nope, all pasta becomes "macaroni".

                                                      2. re: joonjoon

                                                        so that's how it's pronounced.... thanks jj

                                                      3. re: wekick

                                                        Another one--In the late eighties, I took a job in the kitchen of a trendy restaurant. The chef told me there was going to be a new kind of bread on the menu--something called foe-ka-seeya. I had just come back from a month in Italy, where I had eaten a lot of focaccia. When I murmured the correct pronunciation, I was brushed off with, "Well, there are different ways to say it." Yeah, but not anymore.

                                                        1. re: Mona Williams

                                                          While we may have finally learned the correct pronunciation of focaccia, many Americans still pronounce bruschetta "brush-etta" rather than "bruce-ketta."

                                                        2. re: wekick

                                                          "Pro-skew-toe" was one of my favorites. X-D

                                                    2. re: thew

                                                      It should be pronounced the way it should be pronounced, the Dutch way. After all, gouda is Dutch cheese. Being English or English-speaking does not exempt one from pronouncing correctly any foreign word.

                                                      1. re: furry_lawyer

                                                        Of course it does. Expecting someone to know how to pronounce every word in every language is nonsensical. Even with common words, such as "Paris," common sense has English speakers pronouncing it "PARis" when speaking English; to say "PahREE" would sound incredibly affected.

                                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                                          Not just English speakers. I certainly pronounce Paris in English when speaking that language, and say Rome instead of Roma in English, though I'm fluent in French and Italian. And vice-versa: lots of English place names I pronounce differently in French (less so in Italian; Italians are less likely to "Italianize" foreign proper nouns).

                                                          Though my Dutch is rudimentary, I do speak enough to know how to pronounce Gouda and Van Gogh, but that isn't how I pronounce them in either English or French (the pronunciations differ, of course).

                                                          Good to know the proper pronunciation to ask for gouda in a public market, especially outside Amsterdam. In that city they are used to tourists from all over...

                                                        2. re: furry_lawyer

                                                          Totally agree - of course that means nearly all Americans need to change how they pronounce all those English words they pronounce incorrectly. Why do foreigners (those not from England) think they are exempt from pronouncing English words correctly... ;-)

                                                      2. If you're referring to it in the normal world, then gew-duh is just fine. Looking to the Dutch for guidance on pronunciation is like asking my cat (and I don't even have a cat).

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: ferret

                                                          As my friend says, the problem is that the Dutch can't say "g." :>)

                                                        2. A German co-worker of mine pronounces it as gow-da.

                                                 has both pronunciations:


                                                          I pronounce it yummy. :)

                                                          4 Replies
                                                            1. re: Chris VR

                                                              Thank you Chris VR for this link...Cool! I'm going back now to learn some new words. :)

                                                              1. re: eatswjoy

                                                                I'm in the gow-duh camp too, possibly from my days in the cheese shop (cue Monty Python).

                                                              2. re: Chris VR

                                                                I have a Dutch grandmother (who never spoke Hollandisch). Maybe that's why I'm in the "ow" camp (or maybe it's my college German instead, which makes me guttural the initial "gh"). Anyway, I think Gooda is rude-a, and Howda makes me think of elephants.

                                                            2. My Dutch friends taught us to say "how-duh" but if I ask for "how-duh" at my local cheese shop, they look at me with a blank stare. "Goo-duh" gets me what I want.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: Sherri

                                                                My mother is Dutch and says goo-duh, because that's how people in Canada tend to say it. When she came to Canada it was all about fitting in. She also stopped going by her Dutch nickname, Joke, for obvious reasons.

                                                                1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                  I say Goo-da too. In fact, there was a recent Canadian commercial for cheese that had a boy sent to the store for some goo-da.

                                                              2. I'm in the how-da camp.