Some of the biggest news stories of 2019 also contained some of the hardest to pronounce names. From new celebrities to destinations that have been around for ages, tongue-twisters filled our everyday conversations this year. Here are the most mispronounced names and words of 2019 – and how to say them correctly!
The 2019 Most Mispronounced Places
Taking a look back at the most mispronounced names and places of the year is a great way to sum up 2019. It helps recap all the events and people who made this year so unique. Over the year, plenty of news stories, television shows, and films took us to distant destinations. However, if we want to recall these stories accurately, we need to learn to say them correctly!
Let’s start off with Chernobyl, the location of the infamous nuclear disaster. The Ukrainian place is pronounced Chair-nhoble, not Cher-noble, as so many pronounce it. The town of Chernobyl came up in many conversations this year after HBO released their incredible series, simply named after the plant, to rave reviews.
Unfortunately, another name that came up quite frequently this year was Notre Dame. Of course, no one will ever forget the devastating images of the iconic cathedral burning down. Thankfully, no one was hurt during the blaze. Recently, repairs on Notre Dame, pronounced Noh-truh dahm, began; however, they will take years to complete.
Names We’ve Been Pronouncing Wrong
Now, onto the most mispronounced names of 2019! This will likely come as no surprise, English speakers found names from non-English languages the hardest to pronounce, like Greta Thunberg, Time’s Person of the Year. Many pronounce her name Gre-tah Thun-berg. However, the teenage global warming activist tells reporters that you say her name Gray-tah Toon-bairk. Meanwhile, Megan Rapinone, captain of the United States Women’s Soccer Team, also had many people mispronouncing her name. While Megan’s first name is straight forward, many had problems with her last name, which you pronounce Ruh-pee-noh.
Meanwhile, any often also mispronounce Oscar-winning actor Rami Malek’s name. The correct pronunciation is Rah-mee Ma-lick. The Bohemian Rhapsody star comes from an Arab family; their name, Malek, a typical Arab last name, means “king.”
In worldwide politics, many found the name of the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, almost impossible to say. So, if you want to look well-read and educated during holiday dinner, whip out the proper pronunciation: Re-jep Tah-yep Air-doh-wahn. And in local politics, we have Pete Buttigieg, whose name is pronounced Peet But-ij-ij. For those who don’t know, he’s the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, running in the Democratic Primary.
Lastly, who can forget the major phenomenon who not only took over our screens but home: Marie Kondo. The Japanese lifestyle guru received her own Netflix show that focused on cleaning your home by removing anything that does not “spark joy.” One of the terms Kondo often uses in her book is Tokimeku, which many found difficult to say. In case you were wondering, its pronounced Toh-kee-me-koo and means “to flutter.” However, Kondo uses it to mean “pure joy of neatness.”