Have you ever tried a food, loved it, and later realized you can never eat it again because you have no idea how to pronounce it without confirming every negative stereotype about ignorant Americans? Those dark days are finally over, because someone has finally taken pity on us common folk and compiled a list of how to pronounce commonly mispronounced foods. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) and British grocery stores Co-operative Food teamed up to create the list, pointing out that globalization has plenty of things going for it, but even the most well-educated polyglots come across unfamiliar words eventually.
Needless to say, it's awkward for everyone when someone butchers a word so horribly they're forced to resort to pointing it out on the menu like a toddler who happens to enjoy foreign food. Fortunately, that's where the OED's list comes in. Researchers determined pronunciations based on the "reality of how the word is being spoken," often combining the authentic pronunciation with the anglicized version. Some words are of the difficult-to-spell and impossible-to-pronounce variety — bouillabaisse, anyone? — while others are deceptively simple. Most people might be able to spell acai, for instance, but many a dinner party has been ruined by the ongoing debate about how to pronounce it. Spoiler alert: The "c" in acai is soft.
But enough talk. Let's take a look at the top 10 most mispronounced foods below, and head over to i100 for the full list. Just keep in mind that these are the British pronunciations, and feel free to Americanize to your patriotic heart's content.
4. Parmigiano Reggiano
Pronunciation: par-mee-djah-no rehd-djah-no