13 Places You've Been Pronouncing Wrong Your Whole Life

13 Places You’ve Been Pronouncing Wrong Your Whole Life

Maldives, Iraq, Uruguay, Niger - These are some countries that are really hard to pronounce. It's about time to learn the right way to pronounce them.

Let’s face it – we all get tongue-tied every now and then. It’s not uncommon to find yourself unsure of how to say something out loud, especially if it’s a place you’ve never heard of.

See how many of these countries and cities you can say right the first time round!

Also Read: Top 10 Prettiest Currencies in the World

Central Asia

1. Azerbaijan


Image Credit: Turidei 

In Azerbaijan, tea is the most popular drink. It is traditionally served in a pear-shaped glass and consumed through lumps of sugar or jam held in the mouth.

How it’s pronounced:
airzur-by-jahn OR airzer-bai-jen

NOT:
ahzer-bai-jen
ahzer-bai-jahn

2. Kyrgyzstan


Image Credit: Pinterest 

You will find over 88 major mountain ranges in Kyrgyzstan, which make up over 70% of the country’s territory. You will also find one of the world’s largest glaciers, the Inylchek Glacier.

How it’s pronounced:
keer-gih-stun OR keer-gih-sten

NOT:
ker-gihs-stun/ker-gihs-tun
ker-gihs-sten/ker-gihs-ten
ker-gee-stun
ky-r-gee-sten

Latin America

3. Suriname


Image Credit: UTM Residence Council 

Suriname is the only country in South America where Dutch is the official language. It has been rumoured that the country had the highest per capita “consumption” of fireworks in the world, with pyromaniacs shooting off fireworks a few days before Christmas all the way to the first month of the new year.

How it’s pronounced:
sir-ree-nahm

NOT:
sir-ree-nah-meh
sir-ree-naym
soo-ree-nahm

4. Uruguay


Image Credit: Equitrekking 

It is believed that Uruguay got its name from being west of Uruguay River, which means a “river of painted birds” in Guarani. The small country has a cattle herd of over 12 million and a population of 3.3 million humans – That means that for every human in Uruguay, there are 3.8 cows.

How it’s pronounced:
you-roo-gwai

NOT:
woo-roo-gway

Middle East

5. Iraq

Here are two fun facts about Iraq:
1) It is not considered rude to eat food quickly or without utensils, as it is a sign to the host or hostess that you are enjoying your meal.
2) Traditionally, more than half of all brides and grooms marry their first or second cousin.

How it’s pronounced:
ee-rahk

NOT:
eye-rahk
ee-reck
ee-rock

6. Oman


Image Credit: Alan Scullard Photography 

Oman is the oldest independent state in the Arab world. It is famous for its ornamented doors – even the simplest houses tend to have doors that are colourful and embroided.

How it’s pronounced:
oh-mahn

NOT:
oh-man

7. Giza (Egypt)


Image Credit: Condé Nast Traveller 

Giza is home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World (and the only one left standing) – the Great Pyramid of Giza. This, along with other impressive monuments like the Great Sphinx and other pyramids and temples, can be found on the Giza Plateau.

How it’s pronounced:
ghi-za

NOT:
gee-za
gee-zer

Also Read: 21 Famous Local Foods to Travel the World For

South Asia

8. Bengaluru (India)


Image Credit: India Chez-Moi 

On 1 November 2014, Bangalore changed its name to Bengaluru. In this city, there are more foreigners than locals, with only 48 percent of the population being local. Being the city with the highest number of software companies in the whole country (212), it is called the “Silicon Valley of India”.

How it’s pronounced:
bang-guh-loo-roo

NOT:
behng-gah-loo-roo
bung-gah-loo-roo

9. Maldives


Image Credit: MarineBuzz 

Did you know that Maldives is 99 percent sea? The country is low-lying and faces the risk of sinking. In 2009, then-president Mohamed Nasheed tried to put across this point by holding the world’s first underwater cabinet meeting. Together with 13 other government officials, they strapped on their scuba gear and sat at desks sunk to the bottom of the sea.

How it’s pronounced:
mall-deeves

NOT:
mall-dives
mel-dives

Sub-Saharan Africa

10. Cote d’Ivoire


Image Credit: ImagineCup

Otherwise known as the Ivory Coast, this country is known for it’s chocolate. Cote d’Ivoire produces more cocoa than any other place in the world and sells it to companies like Cadbury, Hershey’s and Nestle.

How it’s pronounced:
coat-di-vwah

NOT:
coat-di-ee-vwore
co-tay-di-ee-vwah-ray

11. Djibouti


Image Credit: carolienarents 

Djibouti is the name of both the country and its capital city, which is the country’s largest city. Sounds confusing? Just know this: the country’s taxi fares increase 50 percent after sunset, so you better get your cabs early wherever you are!

How it’s pronounced:
ji-boo-tee (try to put a ‘d’ sound in front of the ‘ji’)

NOT:
dee-ji-bou-tee
dee-ji-bout-tee

12. Niger


Image Credit: Sergio Pessolano 

Niger is known as the “Frying Pan of the World” for a reason – it’s really hot! In fact, it’s one of the hottest countries in the world. And yes, the Nigersaurus dinosaur was discovered here.

How it’s pronounced:
nai-jher OR nee-zjer

NOT:
nai-gir
a profanity

13. Seychelles


Image Credit: Pinterest 

Seychelles is made up of 155 islands, with 42 granite island and 113 coral islands. However, it is still the smallest country in the whole of Africa, by population size and area.

How it’s pronounced:
say-shells

NOT:
say-chells
say-cher-lis
say-sher-lis

That wasn’t so hard, was it? Now that you’ve learnt how to pronounce those country and city names, be sure to spread the love and test your friends’ pronunciations as well!

Also Read: 10 Surreal Places in the World You Must Visit

Disclaimer: These pronunciations were mostly checked via Oxford Dictionaries, but were also checked across sites like Inogolo and Pronounce Names.

Contributed by GoBeyond.SG.

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