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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?"

    Incorrectly.
    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:
        http://www.conversationexchange.com/r...
        or this:
        http://www.tomzap.com/sp_key.html
        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:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92aQwV...
        or listen to this:
        http://www.rocketlanguages.com/french...
        (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.

              Hunt

            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.

              http://www.thecriticalcouple.co.uk/bl...

            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.

              2. I do my best, with a questioning tone. The result is usually a friendly-toned correct pronunciation.

                1. On my first morning in Merida ( Mexico) about 30 years ago, I was having breakfast and the waiter neglected to bring sugar with my coffee. Thinking I remembered the word from high school Spanish, I said "azucar por favor". The problem was I put the accent on the last syllable (car). The waiter actually laughed and he laughed loudly. From that moment on, I decided that wherever in the world I was it was likely that their English was better than my (fill in the blank). That decision has served me well and I never had a waiter laugh (at least in my presence) again. The finger pointing technique is always good, too.

                  23 Replies
                  1. re: grampart

                    sorry, that's jackholery on the part of the waiter.

                    I find that most folks appreciate it if you at least try -- because you have then acknowledged that English is not the primary language wherever you happen to be at the time, and that you're doing your best to adapt to their language.

                    They might still help you correct your pronunciation, but laughing is simply rude.

                    1. re: sunshine842

                      "I find that most people appreciate if you at least try."

                      In the Latin American culture, most certainly.

                      This is not true for many Parisians. Non fluent French is usually met with either 1) a condescending response in English
                      or 2) corrections to your French

                      Hey, I am a Francophile. But the cliche as quoted above does not, in my experience, apply to servers in Paris.

                      Cin cin.

                      1. re: globocity

                        On our first trip to Paris (the epicenter of French-only culture), I anticipated similar. I know my way around a French wine list, and can struggle through a menu, but my wife speaks French pretty well, and is helpful to me. However, I never, never experienced any issue. Everyone in service, from local bistros to 3-star restaurants, worked very well with me, and made me feel more than just welcome. We even had a few on various wait-staffs, who gladly helped me along, with great humor, humility, and an eye on service. I had expected to be portrayed as the ultimate "ugly American," and that never happened. Same for Rome, and also London, where the first language of most members of the wait-staff seems to be some Eastern European language.

                        Even in Bohemian Paris, the servers seem to be more concerned about getting things correct, very lenient on one's pronunciation, and quickly adapting to a "point" to a menu, and a smile. As you mention.

                        Maybe I have always just been lucky? Or, maybe my wife's lovely smile, and her slightly rough French, have covered for me?

                        Hunt

                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          I, too,have never had my rudimentary forays into the French language rebuffed in Paris. A sheepish smile goes a long way in conveying one's recognition of one's ineptitude.

                          1. re: pikawicca

                            Yes, I cannot imagine any more accommodation, than what we have always experienced, from the "top," to the "bottom." Maybe we have just been lucky? Seems that all have been most gracious, at least to us.

                            Hunt

                            1. re: pikawicca

                              Me three, I guess... The only negative interaction I've had in Paris was with a guy who tried to "help" us use the Metro ticket machine while trying to pick my companion's pocket. When it comes to my really bad attempts at French pronunciation, I just smile and receive smiles in return. Then again, I've always had generally pleasant experiences with the TSA and airline employees, so I might just live in the Twilight Zone.

                              1. re: mpjmph

                                Other than the pickpocket, those experiences mirror mine. Fortunate that my wife has passable French (certainly far above my feeble attempts), and besides, all of the male waitstaff would rather talk to her anyway. I have found that a smile goes a very long way, as does an attempt, however feeble. Also, not taking offense, but instead listening carefully, when corrected, scores points.

                                We have also encountered a few servers, who could not quite make out our French, and spoke no English. In each case (3 in Paris, and 1 in Rome), they quickly brought over ___, who could speak English, and could also dissect our French. No issues, and almost apologetically on their part.

                                I cannot recall one botched order (on either our end, or the waitsaff), and all has been very good to wonderful.

                                "Bonsoir. Parlez-vous Anglais?" always seems to go a very long way, as do a "s'il vous plaît," and "merci beaucoup." While that might be ALL that one needs, it has always "paved the way" for us.

                                Hunt

                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                  I practice those few niceties and get away with so much. I've practiced saying in pretty good Paris-got, Northern Italian and German the equivalent of "I'm so sorry I don't speak (your language) with a smile and then mangle it to no end in my attempt. sure nouns and adjectives have been rearranged for me, article endings sorted out, but now I know (or did).

                                  "s'il vous plaît" goes miles.

                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                    yes...because the little niceties make all the difference.

                                    No matter how little I speak of the local tongue, I always make sure I can say hello, goodbye, please, thank you, excuse me, and 'do you speak English'?

                                2. re: pikawicca

                                  I've had the same experience. I do the best I can, and often the person I'm speaking with just quickly switches to English, probably to save us both from being subjected to my - let's just call it nonstandard - French. Which is fine by me. On my last trip to Paris, we had dinner at Les Bouquinistes, and the (American) couple at the next table was insulted to find themselves seated in the section served by English-speaking waiters. I, on the other hand, was pretty happy to be there. Then we struck up a conversation with the couple, who were actually very nice (if somewhat thin-skinned) people, and who also happened to live only about 20 blocks from us. Small world!

                                  1. re: small h

                                    We have never encountered an "English-speaking section," at least not to our knowledge. However, maybe we were, and it just went over our heads? Regardless, our service has always been great, so I have no complaints there.

                                    Hunt

                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                      It would have gone clean over my head as well had our neighbor not bitched about it. This was definitely a case of "what you don't know won't irritate you." And the service was faultless.

                              2. re: globocity

                                The corrections are offered as a sincere effort to help. Once you realize that, much of the rest of it falls into place.

                                Waiters in tourist restaurants in Paris are almost universally assholes. I've never had that sort of treatment anywhere *other* than a tourist restaurant in France. (and to be honest, I'd probably be an asshole too, if I had to deal with the crap they put up with all day every day)

                                1. re: sunshine842

                                  "The corrections are offered as a sincere effort to help"

                                  that's how I've always interpreted them: 'and BTW so you don't sound like an idiot next time...'

                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                    <<Waiters in tourist restaurants in Paris are almost universally assholes.>>

                                    Not sure what qualifies as a "tourist restaurant" in Paris, but maybe we have just never been to one? Our waiters from sidewalk wine bars, to downtown neighborhood bistros, to "starred" restaurants all around town, have been very friendly, accommodating, helpful and just about perfect.

                                    On our first visit, I anticipated such, but have just never encountered it. I have actually had more issues with French restaurants in London, than in Paris. OTOH, now it seems that more and more of the waitstaff are from Eastern Europe, and speak neither English, or French.

                                    Hunt

                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                      the cafes 200m from a major tourist attraction that you end up in because you're tired and starving, and it's your first trip, and oh, isn't this place cute?

                                      Eventually you learn to avoid these - the waiters are almost universally assholes, the food is lousy, and the prices are usurous.

                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                        Got you - thanks. We actually did a couple of similar, last time in Paris, BUT we WERE in Paris... Still, off the normal "beaten path," and so very welcoming, even on a rainy day, with a couple of US folk, when only one could speak ANY French, that was not involving a wine list.

                                        I'd go back in a heartbeat - matter-of-fact, we are in May, along with much of the Burgundy Region. Wife is still "polishing" things, with her French. On that trip, about 90% should be on a wine list, so we should make out OK.

                                        Hunt

                                  2. re: globocity

                                    My experience of France is exactly yours. I have never been to Paris, but mostly rural non-touristy bits. Sometimes, very occasionally, I find a lovely Frenchman in the deli or local patisserie who is a total gem and delighted to help and advise. Mostly my school French is met with glazed eyes and that annoying shrug. (I swear I will punch the next guy that does that in the throat)

                                    I only ever go to France under protest. It is almost unavoidable when driving to Germany.

                                    1. re: PhilipS

                                      Phillip,

                                      In MY case, I totally expect "the shrug," and when it comes (as it almost always does), my young wife smiles, and does her best. Between you and me, her request does NOT sound all that different from mine - the one that failed horribly, but she is able to communicate, when I fail horribly. Guess that it's the charm and the smile?

                                      Of course, our marriage started out on another note. We did a month in Mexico, for our honeymoon, driving all over the country. Then, she had long black hair, and a great tan on top of her olive complexion, with a crucifix around her neck. Every waitperson insisted on only communicating with her. The only Spanish that she could speak was "Where does it hurt?" "Do you need to see a Dr.?" I did ALL of the speaking, and they continued to speak only to her. I felt like Señor Wences, with her on my lap. Well, over the last dozen years, she has gotten back at me - now they talk to only her, but she can converse with them. Hey, I did the best that I could.

                                      Hunt

                                      1. re: PhilipS

                                        Philip

                                        My trips to France are also to generally rural areas in the north of the country. We can usually get by with school French and pointing. Folk seem Ok that we are making an effort. I suspect we are better treated than a French person with limited English visiting rural Britain.

                                    2. re: sunshine842

                                      I couldn't agree more. I was recently in Mexico and found that when in small towns, the people there had as much trouble understanding my very basic Spanish as I did their dialect. Sometimes a few repetitions were necessary for all, but nobody laughed at me. I'm sure they genuinely appreciated my efforts to communicate.

                                      I know my limitations. I am capable of only the most basic of conversations, yet on more than one occasion a Spanish speaker complimented my skills. I humbly protested and was reassured that my mere attempt to acquire and use my limited skills when as a Canadian I have virtually no need to know that language, endeared me to Spanish speakers who (outside of the touristy areas) have little need for English skills.

                                      Laughing at someone's attempt to communicate in another language is cruel. Laughing with that person is okay, as long as encouragement accompanies.

                                      1. re: 1sweetpea

                                        As someone who has made some truly memorable word choices, though, sometimes it's okay to laugh, because it's funny!

                                        1. re: 1sweetpea

                                          Traveling around a country, such as Mexico, I DID have some issues with dialectical differences, and regional nuances. In a few places, we each had to repeat, repeat, and then repeat again. In Metro areas, it was much easier, until I needed to buy fingernail clippers. That became my "Waterloo." Cortaúñas, and I have never forgotten that. Food wise, we never had even one issue, thought there WAS a bit of pointing too.

                                          Hunt

                                      1. In my case, I just struggle through, and do a lot of pointing, and smiling.

                                        Since English is a "second language" to me (Mississippian being my first language), even US menus can be daunting, especially if they employ a lot of "foreign" terms...

                                        Hunt

                                        1. I use a sense of humor, a smile, laughter and expect to be corrected. life goes on.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: hill food

                                            Great philosophy, and one that has worked well for us too.

                                            I get more attempts to "correct" French pronunciations in the US, like Puligny-Montrachet. I cannot count on the number of different pronunciations in the US. Not one correction in France.

                                            Hunt

                                          2. I'm usually OK with restaurant-speak in French, Spanish and Italian. Certainly enough to be able to order and be reasonably confident about what I'm going to be eating. Of course, from time to time, my pronounciation lets me down and there will be a quizzical look from the server. In such circumstances, pointing at the menu usually works The difficulty comes when the server says something that I don't expect. For example, I was in this little place in northern France. I'd ordered the kidneys. I knew the waiter was then telling me that they were "off" the menu that night. But he was also suggesting a replacement that wasnt on the menu. I had no idea what it was but shrugged and ordered it. Turned out to be very delicious sweetbreads.

                                            Other countries I visit can be more challenging. Take Cyprus for example. I don't speak any Greek, nor can I read Greek. Or, in the parts of Belgium I visit, I don't speak or read Dutch (except the odd couple of words). Good guesses and a hope that the server will speak some English usually works, Although I recall one meal in Germany, where the server and I managed to get through the process using the French we'd both learned at school.

                                            As for pronouncing a foreign word on a menu in an English speaking country, I really don't care too much how its pronounced as, usually the menu will also list it in English. So I order in English.

                                            43 Replies
                                            1. re: Harters

                                              Well, as it seems that I now find more servers in the UK, who are from Eastern Europe, things CAN get sideways, and in a hurry.

                                              For me, Scotch, Welsh, various wonderful UK locations, all seem to work out well. Some Eastern European servers? Well, not so much, or so often.

                                              For me, a "Son of the Deep South," pronunciation of a US food item might bring blank stares. I have forgotten how to speak in "hillbilly terms." [Grin]

                                              Hunt

                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                Bill - as I'm sure you know, we have free movement of people between the various European Union countries. With English usually being the language folk seek to learn as their second language, it's inevitable that many come to work here, in our hospitality industry. Means they are in regular contact with the public and can improive their English.

                                                Does tend to mean that, in the major urban areas at least, many servers (and hotel staff) are not British. But that's nothing new - going back over the years, restaurant staff were often French or German.

                                                1. re: Harters

                                                  Last year we took a river cruise in the south of France. The waitstaff was entirely Eastern European. Many of the guests were good-naturedly attempting to communicate in the language of the land....French and could not understand why the waitstaff could not understand them.

                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                    Yes. Over the decades, I have seen this Eastern European mass increase. It is also not just in London/UK, but I've noticed the same thing in San Francisco, CA, USA too.

                                                    By my observations, limited to only 2-3 trips (about 7-10 days each) per year, once there were many French-speaking waitstaff, and then, about 10 years ago, began to change to Eastern European.

                                                    I see/hear similar, regarding the tourists, as well. UK English is not so often spoken in the major metro areas, as I once heard it.

                                                    I almost feel sorry for the bartenders in little, privately owned pubs, when I walk in. I have been known to spend an entire afternoon, just listening to them. I know that they assume me to be a "daft Yank," and they are probably correct, but I love to hear what I typify as UK English spoken. Get me to Scotland, or Wales, and I am usually going "Eh, what was that?" but "proper" UK English is a delight to my ears. Now, if I could just get them to slow down a tad, and speak into my good ear... [Grin]

                                                    Something that I have not noticed, has been any decline in service, regardless of the country of origin. Whether Eastern European, French or British, the service has almost always been great.

                                                    Now, my wife is much better, but she has a good friend from Romania, who works with her on Eastern European, and Slavic languages. However, when touring the Deep South, I normally take over, as my primary language is Mississippian, and I can translate for her pretty well.

                                                    I forget where in the UK you reside, but maybe we can gather up in October, just so that I can listen to you speak. My treat!

                                                    Hunt

                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                      I live in North West England - where my accent defeats my Kentucky lawyer friend when he visits unless I speak fairly slowly

                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                        [Insert great big grin here].

                                                        Dang, was hoping London. Oh well.

                                                        Hunt

                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                          I've a chum from Bolton whose accent wraps around her like a cloak -- it takes me about a half hour with her before I don't have to actively hear every single word.

                                                          My hubby struggles in/around Buxton, but that one comes quite easily for me.

                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                            By co-incidence my Kentucky friend also has a friend from Bolton (which is on the north side of our metro area) and he finds his acccent even harder to understand than mine.

                                                            1. re: Harters

                                                              The UK is one of the most fascinating places in the world to visit in terms of accents -- not only can accents *noticeably* change from neighborhood to neighborhood within a given city, but with social class, as well -- and that's not even counting the foreign accents from immigrants.

                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                Indeed, sunshine. Accent and vocabulary certainly changes with class and locality.

                                                                Manchester is the city at the heart of my metro area. It has a distinctive accent portrayed by, say, comedians and impressionists. But, in fact, that accent is really only applicable to a small number of people - working class and having their roots in a few small neighbourhoods to the north of the city centre. For those of us who live on the southern, more traditonally middle class, areas, the accent is very different. Posher, if you will.

                                                                My wife's father was a serving soldier for many years and she did not return to live in the metro area until she was about 11. Meant she did not speak with the local accent and her accent was thought to be quite "posh". It wasnt but it was enough for her to be though of as "not one of us".

                                                                In terms of vocabulary, I've mentioned before the various names we have locally for the simple bread roll. I would call it a barmcake. But I'd only need to drive 15 - 20 minutes to find the same thing was a bap, cob or muffin.

                                                                1. re: Harters

                                                                  and only as far as Warrington, it's a buttie, or is it only a buttie if it has bacon on it?

                                                                  I never actually ordered it as anything but a bacon buttie (with brown sauce, please)

                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                    A butty is any sort of sandwich. It's a northern word - southerners are, I think, more likely to call it a sarnie. Well, when I say any sort of sandwich, it's more usually given to mean a sandwich made with bread from a loaf.

                                                                    So, you would have a cheese butty, for example. But if it was on a bread roll, that'd be a cheese barm/bap/cob/muffin

                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                      Ah, "Brown Sauce." I had to ask for some help with that one, as the exact term was unfamiliar to me. On the right foods, it was very good, and sort of like what we call Heinz 57 Sauce, but without quite the vinegar tang.

                                                                      I love learning about neighborhood, regional, or national terms for food items (and actually many other types of terms), as part of my education. As I love sharing my culinary heritage with others, I have found that many others feel the same way, regarding their's.

                                                                      Hunt

                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                        We actually have two types of "brown sauce". There is the standard one which has the vinegar tang, but also the fruity sauce which is probably the one you tasted which has a milder taste and includes oranges and mangos.

                                                                        I think it is called "HP Chicken and Rib" in the US

                                                                        1. re: PhilipS

                                                                          I was served "Brown Sauce," in a pub, "The Original Running Footman," in Mayfair. I did try it on my "chips," and it was a tad fruity, though there was a tang to it. It was in a bottle on each table near me. I inquired about it, and was told, "that is a very common sauce in the UK." How "common," I cannot speculate. It was better than the Heinz 57, that is somewhat common in the US, but not by all that much. I am more of a Malt Vinegar fan, with my chips, and also on my fish.

                                                                          I still have a lot to learn.

                                                                          Hunt

                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                            if you only buy the stuff with HP and a picture of the Houses of Parliament on the label, you won't go wrong.

                                                                            (no, I won't buy Branston's or Crosse & Blackwell....it *has* to be HP.)

                                                                            While it's absolutely in the same family, HP sauce isn't at all the same thing as A1, worcestershire, or Heinz 57 sauce.

                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                              Bill

                                                                              Brown sauce is what you want on sausages or cottage pie, IMO. You're right about the vinegar on fish & chips - nothing more is needed.

                                                                              I'm entirely in agreement with sunshine - you only really want HP brown sauce - there are other pretenders (Daddies isnt too bad) - but if you've got good sausages, you want the real thing (to coin a phrase from elsewhere)

                                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                                Personally I prefer the HP Fruity over their standard plain Brown Sauce.

                                                                                1. re: Harters

                                                                                  Harters,

                                                                                  In Oct., I promise to try "HP Brown Sauce" on my bangers.

                                                                                  Thanks,

                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                    with mashed potatoes and onion gravy, natch.

                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                      By co-incidence, we had lunch out today in a city about an hour away. Sausage, mash and onion gravy was on the menu and I was very tempted. Settled on the burger which was excellent.

                                                                        2. re: Harters

                                                                          We try to dine at a more "traditional" UK restaurant, at least one night of our trips. We often are in a position to ask for a definition, and the servers are always glad to oblige us.

                                                                          Same with New Orleans cuisine - most visitors need a special dictionary, to follow along - but, as we grew up there, we know most of the "code."

                                                                          Maybe that is why I love dining out, when traveling.

                                                                          Hunt

                                                                        3. re: sunshine842

                                                                          I agree, though in most of the neighborhoods, that we spend most of our time, things have changed dramatically.

                                                                          Once, I could usually locate the neighborhood, where a New Orleans resident grew up, just by their accent. Not so much anymore.

                                                                          Still, I just love to hear most UK speech. A real treat to me.

                                                                          Hunt

                                                                            1. re: melpy

                                                                              this is a fun one for your ESL classes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UgpfS...

                                                                              Turn off the captions to make it harder.

                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                Love the link, great fun indeed. Give that bird an OBE!

                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                    Really a Yank? Then let's make it an Oscar!

                                                                                    1. re: Bacchus101

                                                                                      her native accent is when she says she's from Seattle.

                                                                                      She did the video a few years ago as an audition tape to show off her accent abilities -- it got picked up by buzzfeed or one of the similar "quirky things" websites, and then the ESL teachers discovered it.

                                                                                      There's a VOA (Voice of America) soundfile out there of a radio interview -- she's almost hard to listen to, as she drifts in and out of about a dozen accents during the interview - sometimes several in a single sentence.

                                                                                    2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                      Americans can OBE honors. I only know that because a dear family friend was honored a few years ago.

                                                                                      Edited to add, Americans can receive honorary awards.

                                                                                      1. re: mpjmph

                                                                                        I know -- but a comment that includes both "bird" and "OBE" would suggest that Bacchus thought she was British.

                                                                                        1. re: mpjmph

                                                                                          Yes, but would an American want to have an Order of the British Empire? Even an honorary one? Not for me, thanks very much (not that I'm ever likely to be in line for one)

                                                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                                                            I'd take one.....call Bess and see if she's got any extras for me....

                                                                                            :)

                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                              hell yeah, I can always use more acronyms after my name on the resume (curricula vitae). s'pose US employers would/could actually check on the veracity of that?

                                                                                              1. re: hill food

                                                                                                sadly, many US employers would have to google OBE in the first place....

                                                                                                I've thought about buying one of those goofy fake titles just for the kicks of saying "Hello, I'm Lady Sunshine"

                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                  we'll call you that if you like, it's no skin off my nose.

                                                                                                  however "The Grand Arch-Duchess Sunshine in exile, whose floral grace elevates and embiggens us all" would be sort of un-wieldy and I'd have to bow out (respectfully).

                                                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                                                    aw, dammit.

                                                                                                    I was just getting used to the sound of that.

                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                      oh ok on your birthday this title shall be employed. and eyes will be averted, elaborate bows and curtsies executed. toddlers slathered in (food-safe) gold leaf will precede your ambulations and coat your way in rose petals and leaves of mint. eager ducks will follow offering the exuberant chorus and joy in the simple act of existing in your wake. but then it's back to normal, right?

                                                                                                      1. re: hill food

                                                                                                        yep -- like this morning -- nothing starts Easter morning off like waking to the sound of the dog puking in the entryway....

                                                                                                        Definitely no rose petals this morning....

                                                                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                                                                          oh and the scraping, there will be scraping. each observant will be swathed in the humility of inadequacy before your presence. finery of hand embroidery and boiled silk wallowing in dust acknowledging (and signing) the eventual plot in the horrible plot. (really? I didn't have a clue, huh...wow)

                                                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                                                            can I just get them to scrape up the dog puke?

                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                              and we would feel privileged with such duty. (golly I should have been a courtier/fop, but it would of course end in acts of psychotic regicide)

                                                                                      2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                        Now, if only Hollywood could get South Louisiana and New Orleans speech correct!

                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                    2. Do you mean in the US? It's hard because sometimes it's an American staff who doesn't speak the language. I ordered bruschetta and pollo siciliano the Italian way and was asked, "Do you mean broosheda and pollo sisilano?" Sure, let's go with that. Now, if the person seems to know the language, I'll order in the language, if only to practice. If it's a language I don't know at all, I'll just order the English translation.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                        Yes, that is a "local" problem in the US. What plays in NYC, might bring blank stares in areas of the Deep South.

                                                                        Hunt

                                                                      2. I'm really bad at speaking languages. I can read most romance languages, but struggle to overcome my own accent/dialect. When in the US, I tend to use the US English pronunciation of whatever is written on the menu. Sometimes I will order by the menu description (I'll have the chicken with...). I speak Spanish (poorly) and have a tendency to pronounce all romance languages in Spanish if I attempt anything other than English. For anything other than Spanish/French/Italian, I just smile and do my best. When traveling, I will make a honest effort at proper pronunciation, but frequently rely on the point and smile method.

                                                                        1. I went to a university with few females and plenty of science. So all the math, physics, and fraternities resulted in a surprising ability to make out the basics of a Greek menu. Let alone signs.

                                                                          On the other hand, almost anything in Scandinavian relied on their many years of required English in school as opposed to the tourist books I carted around.

                                                                          And since I know I am a tourist, and will butcher the pronunciation wherever I am, I just kind of smile. And have generally been treated well.

                                                                          1. I know how to pronounce "pho" correctly but for some reason I feel like an idiot when I say it. Fortunately, at the Vietnamese restaurant we go to most frequently, I can just say "Number 7".

                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                            1. re: southernitalian

                                                                              Me, too. It sounds like you don't care about something - fuh. So I say faux, 'cause I'm in NYC, and the pho's probably not authentic anyway, right?

                                                                              1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                don't feel self-concious about that, SOOO many VN places in the US have played off that misunderstanding in the name of the place: "Pho YOU!", "Get Pho'ed" etc.

                                                                                1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                  I'm with ya. After trying to say it and getting corrected the third time, I just gave them the number. As bad as their English is, it's better than my Vietnamese.

                                                                                  1. re: mike0989

                                                                                    A friend of mine who was born in Vietnam pronounces pho "Fah," as in "a long, long way to run."

                                                                                    1. re: Jay F

                                                                                      For all we know there may be regional pronunciation differences in Vietnam. The Vietnamese I know have worked hard to get me to pronounce "Fuh" -- like the word "fur" but with a soft "h" ending.

                                                                                      But I think native speakers of most western languages are simply not attuned to hearing subtle differences in the pronunciation of tonal languages. As a teacher in a multi-cultural suburb of a still-more-multi-cultural city, I used to be the source of great amusement for my Asian students the first week of school. I would try as hard as I could to pronounce names right. After saying a student's name, I'd ask "Is that right?" and the answer was always "no." The student would repeat his/her name and I'd try again (and again and again). I rarely heard any difference between my pronunciation and the student's pronunciation yet the student -- and all the others of the same nationality -- were practically falling out of their seats with laughter by the end of my failed attempts at authenticity.

                                                                                      1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                        I gave up one day in my French high school English class, and called the roll using the Americanized version of their names.

                                                                                        They thought it was hysterical, but they didn't want me to do it again.

                                                                                        1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                          I and a classroom spent an entire AM once trying to satisfy a substitute teacher of Mandarin dialect in pronouncing the word for the number '6' (phonetically spelled 'liu') we just could NOT get that dipthong to her satisfaction. even the advanced students didn't quite get it. we were happy when Mr. Wang came back the next day, he was more into grammar.

                                                                                  2. In London I once asked a (non-English) waitress for water, using the American pronunciation, WAH-ter. She then asked me if I did not speak English, and I realized that she had heard only upper-class English WO-tah or lower-class English WAH-er with the glottal gulp in the middle---she did not recognize American pronunciation as English.

                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Querencia

                                                                                      I had a similar experience in London asking a kid for Burton St. After repeating the name several times, the kid said "oh, Bur'on stree'.

                                                                                      1. re: Querencia

                                                                                        My European ESL students are always asking me to help them demystify the whole British American English nuances.

                                                                                        1. re: melpy

                                                                                          I just teach both (because in Europe, they'll hear both) and let them decide which one they'd rather use.

                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                            I bet they adopt the American version.Even here in the UK, kids are starting to use American words instead of British ones.

                                                                                            1. re: Harters

                                                                                              It's usually unanimously on the spelling -- fewer letters to remember.

                                                                                              These folks are typically interacting with people for whom English is a second language, too, so the rules are by definition a little looser.

                                                                                                1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                  Beg pardon?

                                                                                                  Looser, as in more loose, or less restrictive. Loose, looser, loosest.

                                                                                                  It's properly used in my sentence.

                                                                                                  Had I meant to use loser, as in the contestant who didn't win, I would have written a different sentence.

                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                    Sorry, I didn't make myself clear. Your usage and your spelling are both perfectly correct, and I was acknowledging that. I'm giving you a thumbs up.

                                                                                                    I said to myself the other month, the next time I see "looser" used correctly, I'm going to compliment the writer.

                                                                                                    I can't think of the last time someone used "looser" correctly. And then today, you did. You won my little contest. I was being 100% sincere. Good for you. Thank you.

                                                                                                    1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                      You're welcome. (and sorry for thinking you were picking)

                                                                                      2. Good question. I want to know how most folks pronounce "endive"---Frenchified or strictly Americanized?

                                                                                        12 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                            I've always pronounced it ondeev -- the French way, whether I'm in France or the US

                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                              I do, too, but then I worry I sound snotty.

                                                                                              1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                If someone is so precious that they think I'm snotty because of the way I pronounce the name of a vegetable, they're probably not someone I'm going to hang out with much.

                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                  in the US there was some stupid TV ad, in which someone was discussing dinner party plans involving how to pronounce an 'endive salad', and all I could think was: "as long as understanding is found, I don't care how you pronounce it, right or wrong, and I appreciate the same in return"

                                                                                                  but then that wasn't a cross-lingual issue.

                                                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                                                    there are multiple ways to pronounce a lot of words, all of which are acceptable (think theater/theatre -- not only can we not agree how its spelled, but some say thee-uh-tur and some say thee-ay-tur - largely regional, IME)

                                                                                                    But to interpolate a different pronunciation as some sort of "I'm better than you"? Sorry, I just don't have the time.

                                                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                                                      Yes there is. The lady is trying to get into a Bentley, while on the phone. It turns out that she owns a station wagon, IIRC.

                                                                                                      Hunt

                                                                                                2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                  For me, it's closer to in-DIVE," but then Mississippian is my first language, and US English is my second. What do I know?

                                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                                3. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                  EN-Dive. It was weird for me at first to get used to the fact that what I know as "chicoree" is called Belgian endive here. I also wish it were way cheaper than it is :-)

                                                                                                  That said, I pronounce it "American" in the US.

                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                    Long before I had ever heard of EN-Dive, Ahn-deeve, or whatever, I knew Chicory, because it was a common ingredient in many coffees in New Orleans. Who knew that it was the toasted root of the EN-Dive? I certainly did not. If one had told me that Chicory was the toasted kernel of some South American nut, I would have probably believed them.

                                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                      It remains one of my favorite lettuces. Too bad it's so bloody expensive stateside. Dirt cheap in the fatherland :-)

                                                                                                4. This is a good site for hearing the pronunciation of almost any word you might run across on a menu or in a shop. http://www.howjsay.com .

                                                                                                  1. I don't worry much about pronunciation, I think it is more important to know translations so you know what you are ordering. I remember sometime ago we were in London at a little French bistro. My husband ask me what Rognons were. I told him kidneys and he quickly changed his mind about what he was going to order.

                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Candy

                                                                                                      So, there I was, in northern France, in a little place in a small town. I see rognons on the menu and order them (knowing exactly what they were). With my very limited French, I understand the response that they are not available that night. I also understand that I'm being offered an alternative - ris de veau. I have absolutely no idea what these are, nor have I sufficient command of the language to ask questions so I just shrug and order them. So, when they arrive I recognise them as sweetbreads - something I've never eaten. They were lovely.

                                                                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                                                                        Sweetbreads. My fave! Win-win, Harters.

                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                          Those I definitely know, and would order in a heartbeat. I do try to brush up on menu language when ever we are going somewhere and don't like surprises.

                                                                                                          1. re: Candy

                                                                                                            yeah I'd far prefer sweetbreads over kidneys (fine with either and yet...) you lucky Hater you. (sorry can't help it, your name will always be changed)

                                                                                                    2. This remains an interesting thread - although one to which ektchn doesnt seem to have returned since her/his OP. I wonder if s/he has read the replies and has now got the answer to the question.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                                                                        I too was wondering this since there have been quite a few answers and all in different veins plus I had asked some questions to get more details and they seemed to have fallen on "blind screen".

                                                                                                      2. <<How do you pronounce most foreign menu words....>>

                                                                                                        Poorly, but with a big smile.

                                                                                                        Hunt