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Here are 10 words Americans often mispronounce, according to a new study

(NEXSTAR) – It’s not just you; almost no one knows how to pronounce “asai”.

That’s the main takeaway from a recent study by Unscrambled Words, which sought to identify words, terms, or names that Americans often struggle to pronounce.

Of course, it wasn’t just acai. Analysts of St Deciphered words — an online resource for players of word-based games like Scrabble or Words With Friends — found nine other tongue-in-cheek terms that Americans don’t seem to know how to pronounce, based on the average number of monthly Google searches for “How to pronounce [X].”

“This data may indicate that some people may have been mispronouncing words for years without realizing it,” said a spokesperson for Unscrambled Words in a press release. “However, it also shows that there’s no shame in wanting to know the correct pronunciation, and thousands of people in the U.S. want to know that every month, too.”

In addition to the “acai” (a type of palm that bears the berry of the same name and is pronounced “ah-sa-ee” or “ah-sai-ee,” according to Merriam-Webster dictionary), pronunciations that were frequently Googled included a number of other food-related words such as “gyro”, “sausage” and “pho”, among others.

Quick, how do you say “GIF”? (Getty Images)

Others on the list include: “Omicron”, currently the name of the preferred variant of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2; “Nguyen”, a common Vietnamese surname; and “GIF,” a word for a particular kind of image file format that linguists and software engineers the pronunciation is still debated.

The full list of the top ten is below, along with the average monthly Google searches for those pronunciations, according to Unscrambled Words. Each term is also hyperlinked to the Merriam-Webster pronunciation unless otherwise noted.

  1. acai – 20,400 searches per month
  2. Gyroscope – 17,660 searches per month
  3. Omicron – 15,530 searches per month
  4. Meat products – 15,140 monthly searches
  5. Nguyen (pronunciation via Heritage-Line) – 14,990 monthly searches
  6. Dumplings – 11350 monthly searches
  7. GIF – 11,230 monthly searches
  8. Worcestershire – 8880 monthly searches
  9. Dogecoin (pronunciation via Benzinga) – 7,540 monthly searches
  10. Pho – 7270 monthly searches

In the meantime, the folks at Merriam-Webster would like to remind us that we’re fools to think there are only 10 words we usually mispronounce. In both June and October 2022, the tome’s editors have published their own lists of the most mispronounced words in the English language, which include huge words like “victuals,” “awry,” “epitome” and, yes, “acai.”

“This famous berry is harvested in Brazil, but it often appears on menus and in recipes read by English speakers,” writes the editor of Merriam-Webster about this word, which is often mispronounced. “Even if you don’t throw it in your morning smoothie, you can be sure you’re saying açaí correctly.”


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