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Jan 19, 2014 01:52 PM

Commonly mispronounced foods

I've heard bruschetta can go both ways, but that may just have been a rumor from college.

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  1. How did possibly miss hummus, that one is mispronounced almost all the time.

    6 Replies
    1. re: rasputina

      Indeed. An Iraqi coworker and I had a loud (friendly) exchange about how to pronounce this--his h had a lot more kh than mine did: khoomus.

      But another friend said as long as we aren't saying hyoomus, like the ground cover, we're a step ahead.

      1. re: rasputina

        Since I know that 'hounds here love etymology, a little research reveals that ﲪﺺ is the colloquial word for 'chickpea' and for the eponymous chickpea concoction.
        And a cousin (lingusitically, if puzzlingly) to the words for roasting coffee and toasting bread, not to mention the homonym for the Syrian city of Homs.
        You're welcome!

        EDIT: there's not a hint of 'kh' in that word; it's just an aspirated 'h'. Americans can't usually pronounce that initial letter without exposure to native speakers and a lot of practice; ditto for the 'sad' versus 'sin'.

        1. re: Phil Ogelos

          ¡Caramba! Another of these threads, and the new year barely here...

          Phil: "it's just an aspirated 'h'. Americans can't usually pronounce that initial letter without exposure to native speakers and a lot of practice"

          Unless they ever studied Spanish or Russian or Dutch or any of the other languages using the "strongly aspirated H." Or knew many people from Scotland ("Och, aye!")

          It often gets anglicized as "kh" ("Omar Khayyám") as a cue. My region of California has many Slavic expats speaking English as a second language ("Khow are you?"), thus ample "exposure to native speakers." (Remarkable too how some words, like "Khrushchev," SPELL more compactly in the proper alphabet.)

          Or the famous Dutch cheese Gouda. Which people there pronounce "KHOW-da" and if you tell them some distant foreigners mispronounce it "Goo-da," they think you're pulling their leg.

          1. re: eatzalot

            None of the examples you present, eatz -the Spanish, Russian, Dutch, Persian- are in any way the equivalents of the Arabic "ﺡ" but it was sweet of you to give it a shot.

            1. re: Phil Ogelos

              Apologies if irrelevant to the ﺡ .

              I addressed the earlier "kh" and your reply, "there's not a hint of 'kh' in that word; it's just an aspirated 'h'" -- which looked like the famous, international "strongly aspirated H" sound. As in Loch Ness, or van Gogh.

            2. re: eatzalot

              Omar Khayyam has a different letter: خ, not ح. It's a throat-clearing 'kh' versus a punched-in-the-stomach 'h'.

        2. Broo-skeh-tah is absolutely the correct way to say it.
          Years ago while taking a food tour in Boston's North End the Italian-American tour guide said the mispronunciation of that word is her pet peeve.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Annief123

            It's a harder "T" than your phonetic spelling indicates, achieved by the tip of the tongue launching propulsively from the back of the upper incisors.

          2. Correct Italian pronunciation is broos-KET-ta.
            There are lots of threads on mispronunciation:



            1 Reply
            1. re: greygarious

              Being reasonably certain I'm correct, may I also add that bruschetta refers to the BREAD and not the topping?

            2. Gyro. As a greek I shudder every time I hear someone order a jie-row instead of yee-row.

              15 Replies
                1. re: EWSflash

                  This seems to be a regional thing. If I asked for a yee-row in Pittsburgh, most people would look at me funny.

                  1. re: Rick

                    Has to be where the word hero for a sub/sandwich came from, right?

                2. re: dinobotcommander

                  If my pronunciation of 'gyro' makes you shudder, I'll use 'shawarma' instead.

                  1. re: paulj

                    To be fair most Greeks (at least the ones I know) order a Pita Souvlaki ( actually meat versus the ground up meatball abomination they serve in the states.

                    1. re: paulj

                      Also consider someone ordering a bugger at Micky D's...

                      1. re: paulj

                        good reply.

                        nothing more offensive, and correct.

                        it IS gyro as in gyroscope, in American English.

                        gyro is the meat, not the pita wrap sandwich.
                        just like souvlaki is meat on a stick.

                        if you want a pita wrapped sandwich, then order one, gyro, souvlaki or chicken schwarma

                      2. re: dinobotcommander

                        Yeah, maybe, but you don't want to be that guy who holds up the line because the person behind the counter can't understand your oh-so-authentic pronunciation.

                        1. re: dinobotcommander

                          My old greek neighbour... hardly spoke english...distinctively pronounced it with a long G.

                          1. re: dinobotcommander

                            Interestingly, and this is partly wikipedia so sorry if you know better, the ancient Greek word, γύρος, ends in an "s" sound, which we drop in English, probably because we assume it's plural with an "s."
                            Here is a link to a Greek person saying the ancient Greek word:

                            That sounds like a hard "g" to me, but then ancient isn't modern. Here's the modern:

                            I still say "yee-ro"

                            1. re: caganer

                              starting a discussion about the s at the end is a much bigger discussion than this board can handle.

                              his name is James, but I cut the s at the end when I refer to him and call him Jim. modern American standardized spelling aside, he is James, my friend Jim

                              1. re: caganer

                                I was going to point out which is about how I pronounce it. I am pretty sure I picked that pronunciation up from some Greek chefs when I was working in a Greek-owned restaurant on Long Island.

                                1. re: Chris VR

                                  I like it. VERY American english accent, especially on the r.

                                  The Greek r isn't rolled like in Spanish, but it sure ain't like what that female or male sound like either... but close

                              2. re: dinobotcommander

                                As a Greek I shudder every time I hear someone extent the o to owww like in English.

                                it's a short o, not a long dragged out o.

                                and for gyro, like gyroscope, it's pronounced like it is spelled with a j.

                                if you want to speak Greek, then yearo would be closer, but it ends in a short o, not a long owwww

                              3. Where was MAR-scapone instead of MAS-carpone?

                                What about Geer-ows instead of yeross? Or are both of those ok?

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: chicgail

                                  Chicgail the G is nearly silent...everyone will understand but its not quite correct...A 'G' sound like giant is absolutely just wrong though. :)

                                  1. re: chicgail

                                    Mars Capone was the little known brother of Al Capone, He often hung around with Vinny Garette and Al Dente down in Tia Juana.