The Western world has become so multicultural that half of our daily discussions now contain terms borrowed from other cultures into English, or references to people who were not born in English-speaking countries. It is therefore not surprising that we all misunderstand many of these terms. This funny little list will help you get it right!
See also: 10 famous quotes that everyone knows – and that will turn wrong
10 Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel is the Chancellor of Germany. She was elected in 2005 and held this position for 14 years as the German government is more of a grand coalition than a dominant ruling party! She was born in the GDR and until last year she was the leader of the Christian party, the Christian Democratic Union of Germany.
How do you misunderstand her name? It looks pretty simple. Angela as an English name is rightly pronounced with the "g" pronounced like a "j" (as in "jello"). But in German, the "g" is hard, so the letter in its name is actually pronounced like the "g" in the "angle". So she's actually "Angle-uh" Merkel (pronounced, maybe a bit fitting, like Urkel with Steve Urkel).
9 Kim Jong-Un
Kim Jong-Un (or Kim Jong-Eun) is the current dictator of North Korea. Koreans (like most Asians) write their names to us, with surname first. This means that Kim Jong-Un is called "Kim". Kim is the most common surname in Korea. , , It is as common as John's first name in the United States or Mohammed in the United Kingdom.
We all know how to pronounce Kim, but what about this weird first name? Most people pronounce it like two different words: Jong. , , Un (where the "un" is pronounced in different ways – mostly wrongly). The "un" part is actually "eun", which actually has no counterpart in English, which is something like a cross between "err" and "uhh".
But "Jong-Un" actually becomes a two-syllabary word that rhymes with "Tongan" (a Tongan person). If we were to write it more clearly in our own conventions in English, the great dictator would be Jongin Kim. So next time you talk about the great progress that has been made in relations between the US, South Korea and North Korea under President Trump, you can say Kim Jong Un right!
8 Che Guevara
Che Guevara, the terrible murderer whose face adorns the chest of thousands of young American "rebels" (ironically one of capitalism's finest achievements: the T-shirt) is probably one the most famous communists of western society. The lowest estimate of the death toll comes from a meager 105, but the numbers rise to thousands when less restrictive definitions of "murder" are used.
Considering how much love this monster receives, one would think that people would pronounce their name for the most part correctly. On the contrary, I would assume that most of you have probably never heard it right. "Shay" is wrong. "Chay" (with the "ch" terms like "chase") is correct. And his last name is gay-VAH-rah.
Espresso is a delicious coffee that Americans are just starting to appreciate. It is usually made by forcing steam through ground coffee beans and is the source liquid for many other great coffees such as cappuccinos and lattes. The most common pronunciation of this word is one in which an "x" sound is inserted, giving us an "Express-Oh". In fact, the correct pronunciation is "ess-press-oh". The term "espresso" itself comes from the Italian and means "express" because the coffee taste is expressed by the beans. Probably, this similarity has led to so many abusing the word.
While we study Italian delicacies, let's take a quick look at another less common one. Bruschetta is a delicious piece of toasted bread with an equally delicious topping – usually tapenade or other spreads. This word is most often pronounced as "brush-etta" and Italian has a "sh" sound, but the "sh" sound is written in Italian as "sc" as in "lascia" (pronounced la-sha). In Bruschetta we have the typical Italian pronunciation of "ch", which is difficult. The right way to express these delicious treats is "Brusketa".
The hated Chinese brand of President Trump is Huawei. I hate using stolen technology and doing to their customers what Apple, Google and Facebook do to their customers: spy for the government; In the case of Huawei, however, it is for the communists, not for the NSA. This is a word that looks completely inexpressible from the beginning. How do you do that? There are clearly too many vowels in it.
Fortunately, this is actually quite simple: "Wah-Way". That's it. Wah – like a baby and a way – like a direction.
This weird herb with edible seeds comes from pre-Columbian America and is now worshiped by this weird breed of human animals who refuse to eat wildlife: vegans and vegetarians. Seed was largely superseded in America by the arrival of Europeans from Western grain, but it has definitely seen a rise in popularity in the middle classes of Europe and America with a strong media urge towards ecological life.
How do you say the name of this strange plant? Probably wrong. Thank goodness for Listverse – you'll never get it wrong again. It is "Keen-wah".
3 Joaquin Phoenix
Back to personal names. Joaquin Phoenix is the brother of the dead actor River Phoenix, who was a rising star in the Hollywood sky before being swallowed up in the black hole we now know as Chinese finance. Joaquin's start as an actor was under his self-proclaimed name "Leaf," but he later returned to the birth name given to him by his parents. Ironically, his sister's name is Rain Joan of Arc Bottom.
However, Joaquin was born in Puerto Rico, and his name is the Spanish form of Joachim, a Hebrew name meaning "lifted from Yahweh." No doubt he got that name because of his mother's Jewish heritage. Like quinoa, the word looks more confusing than it actually is. It is simply pronounced: "hwah-sharp" – almost exactly the opposite of quinoa!
A treatise is usually a long and detailed account of a topic in written form. It is longer than an essay and tends to be very intense on a particular topic. The most famous treatise of all is probably the art of the Sun Tzu war, followed by The Prince of Niccolò Machiavelli.
If you can pronounce that word correctly, you have the appearance of a person who could spend evenings deep in one or two treatises. So you should learn it well if you want to appear at the height of the intelligent society. The word is called "tree fabric" with the focus on "tree".
For my life I can not find an example that is discussed elsewhere on Listverse. Still, it seems to me to be the most likely candidate for such a list. I will keep it short. The word is "nuke-lear", not "nook-you-lah". It's 2019 – we've been too long after the Cold War to declare this wrong.