Americans Fail To Pronounce Latin American Names

Why are videos of people horribly mispronouncing foreign words so funny? We have seen it before, with Americans hilariously butchering bizarrely spelled British place names, and now a new video shows Americans attempting and failing miserably to say names originating in Latin America. In the Buzzfeed-produced video, five verbally challenged, non-Spanish speaking Americans struggle to pronounce the last names of politicians, athletes, filmmakers, and actors from Mexico, Uruguay, and Colombia. They are particularly uncomfortable with these names’ rolled “Rs,” the “eñe” sound (produced by this letter: Ñ), and any letter with an accent on it.

Some of these names certainly seem more difficult than others (I’ll give you Aguirregaray, but come on, is “Peña Nieto” really that hard?); then again, these might be the same people who pronounce “jalapeño” with a hard “j” at the beginning. (I can be smug about that because I am from Texas, where we know how to say “jalapeño.”) It’s important to know that plenty of Americans can pronounce these names: according to the Pew Research Center, 37.6 million Americans over the age of 5 speak Spanish at home, making the United States the fifth largest Spanish-speaking nation in the world.

Famous people who get the dubious honor of having a bunch of people mangle their names include

Recent Academy-Award Winner Alejandro Iñárritu

Vince Bucci/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Enrique Peña Nieto, the President of Mexico


Former Mexican President Luis Echeverría

Telenovela Actress Catherine Siachoque

Here's the full video:

Images: YouTube; Getty Images(2); Wikimedia