New research has revealed the words Americans struggle to pronounce the most, with ‘Acai’ coming out on top.
The study by word experts at Unscrambled Words analyzed average Google searches across the past 12 months to see which words Americans were finding most challenging to pronounce.
It found that the word ‘Açaí’, the name of a palm tree species farmed for its fruit, leaves, and wood, was what Americans were struggling with the most, with more than 20,400 searches a month for how to pronounce it. With most searches coming from its uses in food, the correct pronunciation sounds like “ah-sa-EE” according to the online dictionary Merriam Webster.
The word ‘Gyro’ comes in second place, with more than 17,660 searches every month in the US for how to pronounce it. It’s the term for the Greek food item made from rotisserie-cooked meat wrapped or stuffed in Pitta bread. The correct pronunciation for the food is ‘YEE-ro’, or ‘YEE-ros’ for the plural pronunciation.
Receiving more than 15,530 searches a month, ‘Omicron’ comes in third place, with the term being used as the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet with recent searches coming in after it was used as the name for the coronavirus variant. The correct pronunciation is “OH-muh-kraan” with stress on the first syllable in the word.
|#||How to pronounce:||Monthly searches||Correct pronunciation|
|5||Nguyen||14,490||“n-WIN”, “win”, “noo-yen”|
|7||GIF||11,230||“gif” OR “jif”|
The second longest word in the top ten, ‘Charcuterie’ comes in fourth place with more than 15,140 searches. Originally a French term, it refers to a delicatessen that sells cold cooked or preserved meat, or simply refers to meat that has been cold cooked or preserved. The correct pronunciation is “shahr-koo-tuh-ree” according to howtopronounce.com.
Coming in fifth place is the name ‘Nguyen’ (Nguyễn with diacritics). There are more than 14,490 searches a month for how to pronounce the name, with it being the most common Vietnamese surname. According to Heritage-Line.com, there are several acceptable ways for people to pronounce it, which are “n-WIN”, ‘win”, or “noo-yen”.
The word “GIF” comes in seventh place, an abbreviation for Graphic Interchange Format, a bitmap format often used for images on the internet. The word’s pronunciation has seen intense debate, especially over the past decade. So much so that official online dictionaries accept both “gif” and “jif” as official pronunciations of the term.
Commenting on the findings, a spokesperson from Unscrambled Words said: “This data might show that some people may have been mispronouncing words for years without realizing. However, it also shows that there is no shame in wanting to know correct pronunciations, with thousands of people across the US also wanting to find out every single month.”
This study was conducted by Unscrambled Words, an online website that provides users with an accurate set of words that can be used in popular games like Scrabble and Words With Friends.