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Mar 16, 2013 11:37 AM

How do you pronounce most foreign menu words....

Really need a a pronunciation guide for foreign foods.....ya know the ones on the popular restaurant menus. Phonetic spelling if possible. Know any websites or books>>>?

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  1. "How do you pronounce most foreign menu words?"

    I've never found it to be a big problem. And, sometimes, I learn new words/phrases/

    1. What words? If there is something that has now been popular enough to be in the English language you can use a dictionary. Also some aps for smartphones pronounce words for you, especially dictionary ones and the Google translate ap.

      1. Assuming that by 'foreign' you mean Italian, Spanish, & French (I apologize if you had any other languages in mind), here's what I'd recommend. The rules of pronunciation in all 3 are fairly simple, so you should check out something like this:
        or this:
        Spanish & Italian are pretty cut & dried (& very similar, pronunciation-wise), so learning the simple rules should work easily enough. (I have to add that you should not be tempted to drop that last syllable in Italian - as in "mozzarell" instead of "mozzarella".
        Please.) As for French, that's a little more complicated, but still not difficult to "get". Watch this:
        or listen to this:
        (And if you can manage to pronounce a French 'r' , you can proudly order "fois gras" instead of "fwa gwa".) Once you get these few rules memorized, you'll have no trouble reading (out loud) any menu. Good luck!

        1. With my finger. I point to the menu item in question. I am usually pretty good with French, Italian and Spanish. With Indian, Thai and Vietnamese I whip out the finger (index).

          3 Replies
          1. re: MplsM ary

            This is what I do (the finger), and I ask the waitperson how I would pronounce it. That way I know for the future. I'm sorta kinda fluent in spanish though, so I'm usually OK with that and other "romance" languages.

            1. re: juliejulez

              I do similar. While my Spanish "fluency" is not up to yours, I can manage. My wife studied both Latin and French, and does better (even with Spanish), than I usually can. Since she is beautiful, and also charming, the waitstaff usually "helps" her greatly, and I listen closely.

              We have had nothing but wonderful experiences all around Europe, but I think that its mostly her beauty, and charm, and the fact that all wish to please her. I am just occupying a seat near-by...

              OTOH, who knew that when a French restaurant listed "Poison," they were talking about fish... ? [Grin]

              My French, and my Italian, does not extend beyond the wine list, and then, I pronounce many producers incorrectly, but if there is a bin number, we normally get what we want.


            2. re: MplsM ary

              I do this as well. I am crap at languages and when I am in France my school French just doesn't seem to work and I get that annoying Gallic shrug even when I what I have said sounds exactly like what the French waiter has said.

              Worse is when I get the pronunciation a bit wrong, and it is corrected by a stuffy server or dining companion. In fact, I have just blogged about this as one of my hates with food snobs.


            3. I used to obsess about foreign pronunciations, especially French.(I sounded like Pepe LePew). No longer. I proudly pronounce everything phonetically in standard American English. Anyone, doesn't like it, tough.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mwhitmore

                Well, if I were to do that in English (from French) you certainly wouldn't understand me.