People are only just realising they’ve been saying these ten words wrong – so how many can you pronounce correctly? | The SunJanuary 21, 2023
NEW research has revealed some of the most common words us Brits mispronounce, so how many have you been getting wrong?
Experts at Slotbox analysed average Google searches across the past 12 months to see which words Brits find most challenging to say.
It found out that the name ‘Aoife’, a feminine name that originated in Ireland, is what Brits struggle with pronouncing the most.
There are more than 9,260 searches a month for how to pronounce it, which is nearly 2,000 searches a month higher than second place. The correct pronunciation is “ee-fa” for the common Irish name.
Coming in second place is another historically Irish name in ‘Saoirse’. There are more than 7,710 searches for how to pronounce it every month, and it is one of five names that make up the top ten list.
The most common and accepted pronunciation is “sur-sha”, but some people with the name also specify that the pronunciation can be more like “seer-sha”.
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WORDS BRITS CAN’T PRONOUNCE & THEIR CORRECT PRONUNCIATION
Aoife – "ee-fa"
Saoirse – "sur-sha"
Omicron – "oh-MY-kron" OR "OM-uh-kron"
Kyiv – "KEE-yiv"
Açaí – "ah-sah-EE"
Niamh – "neev"
Gyros – "yee-ros"
Siobhan – "shi-vawn"
Nguyen – "n-WIN", “win”, “noo-yen”
‘Omicron’ takes third place on the list, with 5,830 searches every month for help pronouncing the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet.
Searches for the pronunciation of the word peaked in late 2021, following the media covering the new COVID-19 variant at the time, which was named after it. The correct pronunciations for it are either “oh-MY-kron” or “OM-uh-kron”.
Fourth goes to ‘Kyiv’, the capital city of Ukraine. Searches for its pronunciation receive more than 5,410 searches a month, and findings show its correct pronunciation to be “KEE-yiv”. English-speaking countries referred to the capital as ‘Kiev’ (pronounced “key-EV”) until 2018, when an online campaign helped raise awareness to use its preferred spelling of ‘Kyiv’.
Rounding out the top five is the word ‘Açaí’, the name of a palm tree species farmed for its fruit, leaves, and wood.
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There are 5,270 searches a month for how to pronounce it, with most of the searches coming from its use in food. With much debate about its pronunciation, Merriam-Webster lists its correct pronunciation as “ah-sah-EE”.
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