2014 in Pronunciations

February 9, 2015

words cropped

Well readers, our annual list of most pronounced words is now out a month overdue, but better late than never. Besides being a curiosity to look at, the following lists tell us something about our time and place. What we wonder how to pronounce usually lies outside our cultural and linguistic territory and requires a desire not only to understand, but be understood. Whereas a list of most searched words ranks the importance placed on certain events, people, and things, a list of most searched pronunciations ranks what events, people, and things are being most talked about across borders.

Therefore pronunciations tell us something about foreign influence — who's influencing who, and how. Considering all this, one thing is certain: the way we communicate will never stay the same.

Most Pronounced Words

1. 야동; Korean — “erotic movie”

2. Philae; Greek — Former island in Nile River, ESA comet lander

3. Sláinte, slí inte, sláinte mhaith; Irish Gaelic — “good health” Common toast

4. Backpfeifengesicht; German ¬— “a face badly in need of a fist”

5. Hygge; Danish — “cozy, well being”

6. Massacre; English

7. Reign; English

8. Skål; Swedish — “cheers”

9. Hiraeth; Welsh — “home sickness”

10. Phoque; French — “seal” (and homophone of the f-word in English)

11. Y'all'd've; English — “you would have all”

12. Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia; English — “fear of the number 666”

13. Saudade; Portuguese — “nostalgia or yearning”

Most Pronounced Expressions

1. Invictus Maneo; Latin — “remain unvanquished” Heard on American television series, “Person of Interest”

 2.μολὼν_λαβέ; Greek — “come and take them” Slogan of campaign against gun control in the United States.

3. Eppur si muove; Italian — “and yet it moves” Allegedly uttered by Galileo before the inquisition.

4. Alba gu bràth; Scottish Gaelic — “Scotland Forever” Slogan in Scottish campaign for independence.

Most Pronounced Places

1. Port Láirge; Irish Gaelic — Irish city known for Waterford Crystal

2. Bethlehem Ephrathah; Hebrew — biblical place and personal name

3. Conshohocken; Unami — “pleasant valley” American city and brewery

4. Basel; German — Swiss city and seat of Basel Committee on Banking Supervision

Most Pronounced Brands

1. Roshe Run; English — from “roshi” title given to a Zen master. Nike sneaker model

2. Tous Les Jours; French — “everyday” South Korean bakery chain

3. Veuve Clicquot; French — “Widow Clicquot” French champagne brand

4. Keurig; Dutch — “neat, elegant” American coffee machine brand

5. Peugeot; French — French automotive company

6. Arc'teryx; English — from “archaeopteryx,” earliest bird. American clothing company

7. Au Bon Pain; “good bread here” American café and bakery chain

8. Audi; Latin — from “listen” German automotive company

Most Pronounced Food

1. Sufganiyot; Hebrew — from word “sponge” Pastry eaten during Chanukah

2. Chia Seed; English — trending health food

3. Pizzelle; Italian — from “pizze” meaning round and flat

4. La Bûche de Noël; French — “yule log” Christmas cake

5. Gruyère; French — type of cheese

6. Glühwein; German — “glow wine” Traditional Christmas beverage

Most Pronounced Translations of “Merry Christmas”

 1. Swedish — “God Jul

 2. Finnish — “Hyví¤í¤ Joulua”

3. Romanian — “Crăciun fericit”

4. Welsh — “Nadolig Llawen”

5. German — “Fröhliche Weihnachten

 6. French — “Joyeux Noël”

7. Italian — “Buon Natale”

8. Icelandic — “Gleðileg Jól”

9. Croatian — “Sretan Božić”

10. Danish — “Glædelig Jul”

11. Afrikaans — “Geseënde Kersfees

 12. Scottish Gaelic — “Nollaig Chridheil”

13. Polish — “Wesołych Świąt”

14. Spanish — “Feliz Navidad”

Most Pronounced Names

1. Josué; Portuguese — “Joshua” (likely refers to football player Josué Pesqueira)

2. Quirinius; Latin — Governor of Syria in biblical times

3. Hughes; English — (your guess is as good as ours)

4. James Hozier; English — Scottish diplomat and politician (1851-1929)

5. Deirfiúr Bheag; Irish Gaelic — “little sister” Appears in books by author Nora Roberts.