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Most Popular Mispronounced French & Italian Words and How To Say It Right
Learning From Native Speakers Not From Monolinguals
Language is a tool for expression. For centuries, language continuously evolve to suit contemporary times. Learning another language besides English, gives that person a greater advantage in culture and education perspective. A person interested in learning another language correctly is also more flexible in understanding the native people of that language, their culture, way of life and so on. A person who wants to dig deep into absorbing another language has to fall in love with that language. But for some, a sputtering of this and that can help manifest a more enjoyable conversation with a local when visiting another country. Countless people appreciate the gesture and will be kind enough to rebuke you if you bastardize foreign words unintentionally. Because some English speakers have "stiff tongues," they would have to invest more effort in saying simple words correctly.
I compiled a list of constantly mispronounced words that happen to be French and Italian. Because of advancing technological innovations, our planet Earth has become a tight-knit global mixing pot. Even though English has achieved the lingua franca status, it is best to arm a native English speaker to learn a few smatterings of foreign words correctly. You will be proud of yourself when a native speaker does not have to furrow those brows on you.
There are several sites in the internet who teaches others how to pronounce certain words . I checked on a Japanese word, 'gyoza' that I was debating with an English-speaking monolingual who insisted that on his pronounciation. So, even though I have always known how to pronounce the Japanese word correctly, I had to research and 'voila' (vwa-lah) Yahoo.com says it 'gah-yoh-zah .' Wrong. Japanese people say it as 'gyoh-zah .' That does it, not everything in supposedly reliable resource are correct.
When I was working in Seattle several years ago, while I was in a meeting with the rest of the management team for this cafe/bakery company, a question was raised on "how to pronounce 'puglia' properly because the customers want to know." So, I opened my mouth and said "pool-yah ." The monolingual general manager instructed the questioner that "it would be easier to tell the customers to pronounce puglia as 'pahg-lya .' I was dumbfounded on this atrocious conclusion. The dumb leading the dumb. So be it. The staff has learned a new way to butcher an Italian word.
Reading on are the words that inflames my ears, and so does the native speakers.
Parlez- vous Francais?
But it helps to say these popular words the French way, not the ignorant way. We do come across French words and it helps to say, especially when ordering food, that you are cultured.
Remember these pointers in the French language:
When a word ends with ....’oise ’ pronounce the the last consonant which will sound like a szh . For example: ni ç oise - nee-swahz .’ When the ni ç oise is written as "salade ni ç oise ," it's pronounced as 'sah-lahd-nee-swahz .' When it is written as ni ç oise salad, pronounce as 'nee-swahz-salad ." In French, the 'oise ' followed by the consonant "s" is called an linking together.
Do you also know that "h " is not pronounced? A typical native French speaker would omit "h " on Harry or Hercules. Sounds funny to your ears? Try asking them when you pronounce their language. Here are more common and popular words that we have to stop butchering:
chef - pronounce 'shef .' In French 'ch ' is sh + vowel. Literal definition - chief or 'jefe ,’ (heh-feh) Spanish for the big kahuna.
sous chef - pronounce 'soo-shef .' Literal definition of sous is under. When a word ends with ‘s’ followed by a word that begins with another consonant like ‘c’ or ‘h’ , this is what is called linking together.
croissant - 'krwah-song' . Go ahead and say it. But I bet you the person behind the counter would say, "you mean 'kroh-sant?" C'est malade .
vichyssoise - ‘vee-shee-swahz’ (Remember the 'oise ' rule.). Vichyssoise is a creamy pureed leek potato soup.
bon appétit - ‘bohn-apeh-tee’ (When the word DOES NOT END IN 'E", do not pronounce the last consonant.
entrée - 'ahn-tray .' "En " is pronounced as "ahn ."
crème brûlée - 'krehm broo-lay ’’ It’s your favorite dessert, so pronounce it right.
crème anglaise - 'krehm-awhn-glez' You can make this dessert soup from scratch or the secret of thawing your vanilla ice cream is the" lazy-short cut-don't mention-what-I just-did."
chèvre – ‘chev-reh’ Goat. Also referred to as goat cheese or goat milk.
pâté - 'pah-tay' It's cooked liver made from poultry or meats.
bonjour - 'bohn-zhooh ' Good morning. Good day. The French people say it with such melody!
The Native French Speaker Speaks
- French Audio Dictionary
French Audio Dictionary with 2,500 French words and expressions.
The Italian language pronounces the vowels with distinction much like the Spanish language. The tone of a native Italian spe;ker is musical and dramatic. When your ears are attuned to hearing languages, the Italian language can be obvious. By the way, Italy is pronounced as 'ee-tah-lee ,' and Italian is 'ee-tah-lyan .'
The confusing 'c' s' in Italian language is explained as:
c + a, o, u = k; c + e, i + ch = ch; 'cc + i' = 'cheeh' Example 'Gucci" = 'goo-chee'
ch, cch + vowel = . Hint on sch + vowel = k + vowel
ci + a, o, u = ch Example 'Luciano ' = 'loo-chah-noh'
'sch + vowel (a,e,i.o.u) = pronounce 'k' + vowel Example 'bruschetta' = 'broos-keht-tah'
The following words should retire from the butchering travesty of monolingual-English speakkers:
bruschetta - 'broos-keht-tah' (sch +vowel = k +vowel)
puglia - 'poohl-yah' ( gl = y) A type of bread from the type of town in Italy.
ciabatta - 'chah-baht-tah' In Italian, if the words starts with a (c + vowel, pronounce as 'chee ,' 'cho ', 'cha .' ) A type of bread.
cioppino - 'choh-pee-noh' A stew composed of a variety of meats and vegetables.
gnocchi - 'nyoh-kee' '(gn +vowel = ny +vowel = 'nyoh' or 'nyah .) Remember chi + vowel = k +vowel.
bongiorno, buongiorno - 'bohn-jyor-noh' Good morning. Good day.
ciao - 'chaow ' Hi or sometimes an informal okay, bye.
We Can Rise To That Level
Always check and recheck the right way to say it because we owe to ourselves a favor to learn something from others.
Immerse in renting out foreign films with subtitles from your library. A lot of people find those subtitles intrusive, but to hear how the French and Italian native speakers say and express their language is the best free foreign language lessons on my couch.
Take a hint from MOST immigrants and foreigners who painstakingly learn and absorb the English language before coming to America.
- Italian Survival Phrases: At The Border
Essential words and phrases for visitors to Italy. With audio files.
Translating the Pronounciations
My Disclaimer: Maybe not the exact symbols, but I have been around enough to hear how people can understand it phonetically.