10 words Americans often mispronounce, according to a new study

(NEXSTAR) – It’s not just you; almost no one knows how to pronounce “acai”.

That’s the main takeaway from a recent study by Unscrambled Words, which tried to identify words, terms or names that Americans often struggle to pronounce.

It certainly wasn’t just “acai”. Analysts at Unscrambled Words — an online resource for players of word-based games like Scrabble or Words With Friends — found nine more language-scrambling terms that Americans don’t seem to know how to pronounce, based on average monthly Google searches. searches “How should it be pronounced [X].”

“These data may indicate that some people have been mispronouncing words without realizing it for years,” said a spokesperson for Unscrambled Words in a press release. “However, it also shows that there is no shame in wanting to know the correct pronunciation, which thousands of people across the US want to know every month.”

In addition to “acai” (a type of palm tree that bears the fruit of the same name and is pronounced “ah-sah-EE” or “ah-sye-EE” in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary), Google search terms include a number of other food-related words, such as “gyro,” “charcuterie,” and “pho,” among others.

Quick, how do you say “GIF”? (Getty Images)

Others on the list include: “Omicron,” the name of the currently dominant variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus; “Nguyen”, a common Vietnamese surname; and “GIF,” a word for a specific type of image file format whose pronunciation linguists and software engineers still debate.

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According to Unscrambled Words, the full top ten list is below, along with the average monthly number of Google searches for those pronunciations. Unless otherwise noted, each term is hyperlinked to a Merriam-Webster pronunciation.

  1. Acai – 20,400 monthly searches
  2. Giro – 17,660 monthly searches
  3. Omicron – 15,530 monthly searches
  4. Charcuterie – 15,140 monthly searches
  5. Nguyen (Pronunciation via Heritage-Line) – 14,990 monthly searches
  6. Gnocchi – 11,350 monthly searches
  7. GIF – 11,230 monthly searches
  8. Worcestershire – 8880 monthly searches
  9. Dogecoin (Pronounced via Benzinga) – 7,540 monthly searches
  10. Pho – 7270 monthly searches
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Meanwhile, the folks at Merriam-Webster would like to remind you that we’re foolish to think there are only 10 words. we often say it wrong. In June and October 2022, the tome’s editors released their own list of the most mispronounced words in the English language, including “victuals,” “awry,” “epitome,” and yes, “acai.”

“This famous fruit is harvested in Brazil, but it appears on menus and in recipes often read by English speakers,” writes an editor at Merriam-Webster, an often-mispronounced word. “Even if you don’t throw it in your morning smoothie, you can be sure you’re right.”


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