Tag Archives: pronunciation

I woke up in the middle of the night to talk to the BBC about pronunciation

A producer from BBC Radio Solent (in southern England) asked me if I could be interviewed for their morning show. I said sure, when? How about 8:45 am? Hmm… England time or Toronto time? Oh, uh…

Well, anyway, I got up in the middle of the night to take a 3:45 am phone call and talk to Sasha Twining about how to say PyeongChang and a few other things. Here’s the link to the show: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05vswzq My segment starts at about the 17:10 mark and goes for about 5 minutes.

Sorry about the audio quality. We had arranged to use Skype with the phone as a backup but they couldn’t get the Skype to hook up so you’re hearing me on my phone headset.

Oh, also: the link to the show is only valid for 29 days. So listen to it by March 23, 2018, or you’ll be too late!


I tell San Francisco how to say Pyeongchang

The local ABC news in the San Francisco Bay Area asked me if they could use my video on how to say the 2018 Olympic venue names in one of their news clips. I said yes, of course – I mean, if I don’t want people to see these videos, why do them? (Of course I know most people don’t really care about how to say non-English names accurately. I don’t mind; the videos are just for people who want to know.) You can see the clip here:

How do you pronounce Winter Olympics location ‘Pyeongchang?’

Winter Olympic pronunciation tip: sz – Polish vs. Hungarian

With the Winter Olympics, you’ll see a slight increase in the number of Eastern European names you haven’t encountered before, including a definite uptick in ones containing sz. Most of those will be Polish or Hungarian. And that’s where the trouble starts, because it doesn’t sound the same in Hungarian as it does in Polish. So I’m going to tell you how to say not just sz but every available combination of c, s, and z in each of the two languages.

Chinese pronunciation tip 6: si, shi, ci, chi, zi, zhi, Cixi, and mei shir

I’m going to turn my pronunciation tip attention to the Olympics soon, but I wanted to cover one more thing in Chinese first: the I’s. Half the time you say them just as you see them, but the other half the time… you have to keep your eyes steady on this. I mean your I’s.

Chinese pronunciation tip 5: Lucy Liu’s feng shui

Today’s pronunciation tip is on iu and ui. If Lucy Liu and Liu Xiaobo had talked about feng shui, how would you talk about that? Now you know…

Chinese pronunciation tip 3: Mao Zedong, Cao Xueqin, Z, C

I’ve added another pronunciation tip on Chinese, and you can expect a few more. Then I’ll move on… there are lots of other languages that people wonder about. Expect Hungarian, Finnish, Turkish, and lots more. But today, it’s time for Chairman Mao… and a closing quotation that is not from his little red book but may have to do with politics.

glögg (pronunciation tip)

What’s the next level after glühwein? Take it up to Scandinavia and put it on hyperdrive – the beverage, that is, not the word. The Scandinavian word for the drink – glögg or gløgg – is shorter and should be straightforward enough. Except it involves a sound not typically made by sober Anglophones. Here’s my advice on saying it: