It’s the festive season, which means many of you have gone ahead and given yourselves permission to be a little bit fancy. We love that for you. Treat yourself!
If you’re like many other fancy Aussies who have decided to splurge on a bottle (or six) of Moët in celebration of the end of this shit year, chances are you’re thinking a couple of things. 1. Is it inappropriate for me to drink one of these babies by myself through a straw? And 2. How the hell do I say Moët?
The answer to number 1 is: if the straw is eco-friendly, do you. The answer to 2 is coming to you shortly.
Unfortunately, the Australian tongue is known for being lazy so sadly, the names of many foods, most from different cultures, are often butchered beyond repair here. You don’t want to be one of those lazy-tongued Aussies, so best learn how to pronounce your fancy bevvy’s name correctly, right?
So, how do you pronounce Moët?
Moët (/moɛt/) Now, while the boujee champagne brand is French, the name is Dutch. This means you could argue the word is pronounced as mo-wett.
Congrats if you already knew the correct pronunciation of Moët. You get three gold stars and the honour of being the winner — please do the honour of educating those near and dear to you. For those who aren’t so confident, there’s no shame. We’re all here to learn a thing or two.
With that being said, we decided it would be useful to share a few more words Aussies tend to mispronounce. Here are some of the most popular culprits, how they’re Aussified and how they should be said.
Other words we often mispronounce
Açaí (/əˈsaɪ.i/), a Portuguese word, is sometimes pronounced with a hard ‘c’. It’s more like ah-sah-ee.
Bruschetta (/bruːˈskɛtə/) is commonly mispronounced as broo-shetta by well-meaning foodies. It’s Italian and that means the combo of sch is a hard ‘c’ sound. It’s pronounced as broo-sketta.
Cappuccino (/ˌkæpʊˈtʃiːnoʊ/ ) is not completely butchered given how common it’s uttered in Australia. Instead of cuppa-chino, it’s cap-pu-chino.
Charcuterie (/ʃɑːrˌkuːtəˈriː/) might look like a bit of a tongue twister for the native English speaker but the French word is actually quite simple. It’s pronounced sha-koo-ter-ee.
Chorizo is pronounced slightly differently in Spain and Latin America. In Spain, where it originates, it’s pronounced cho-di-tho. In Latin America, it’s cho-di-sso.
Espresso (/ɛˈsprɛsoʊ/) is commonly given an imaginary ‘x’ by some Australians. It’s pronounced es-press-oh.
Fillet (/filɛ/) is originally a French word so it’s supposed to be pronounced fil-lay. Look, we might be being a bit precious about this one – and Macca’s might give you a weird look if you order a Fil-lay-O-Fish in your local store.
Focaccia (/foˈkattʃa/) has apparently been pronounced as fuck-a-chi-a by someone in our workplace so it is definitely deserving of a spot here. It’s usually pronounced by Australians as foe-carsh-ya but technically, it should be pronounced the Italian way — foe-carch-chya.
Gözleme is an Australian favourite at fairs and festivals but we’ve heard everything from goz-leem to goz-lemmy. For the record, it’s pronounced goz-ler-meh in Turkish.
Gnocchi (/ˈɲɔkki/) is objectively delicious but if you don’t speak Italian, it’s a bit difficult to figure out what sounds to pronounce. The ‘gn’ translates to a ‘nyeh’ sound in English and the ‘cch’ equals a ‘k’ sound. It’s pronounced nyo-ki.
Gyoza is Japan’s answer to the humble dumpling. I’ve heard kai-yo-za so let’s set the record straight — geh-yo-za. As pointed out by some readers, the Japanese sound is actually a quick blend of geh-yor but as this sound isn’t common in English, do your best to listen to a native speaker say it and imitate the sound.
Jalapeños (/xalaˈpeɲo/) is a Spanish word for a spicy favourite. In Spanish, a ‘j’ is pronounced as a throaty ‘kha’ sound and the ‘ñ’ is similar to the Italian ‘gn’ combo. That means it’s supposed to pronounced as kha-la-pen-yo.
Karaage chicken (/kaɾaːɡe/) is another Japanese favourite for fried chicken. Don’t pronounce it as the English word ‘carriage’, it’s supposed to be ka-ra-ah-ge.
Phở (/fɜː/) is a delicious Vietnamese meal but its pronunciation has perplexed non-Vietnamese speaking Australians for years. To settle it once and for all, the first part is a ‘ph’ sound while it’s finished with an ‘ir’ sound (like sir without the ‘s’). Ph-ir.
Quesadilla (/ˌkeɪsəˈdiːjə/) is Mexican soul food and it’s pronounced in a few ways. Depending where you learnt Spanish, it could be pronounced keh-sa-di-ya (standard Spanish), keh-sa-di-ja (certain areas of South America) or keh-sa-di-sha (Argentina or Uruguay). Any way you say it, it’s definitely not keh-sa-dilla.
Quinoa (/ˈkiːnwɑː/) is commonly pronounced keen-wa. This is correct because it’s closer to the Quechuan word and is used in English-speaking countries but in Spanish, it’s also pronounced kee-no-ah.
Paella (/paˈeʎa/) is another difficult word for English speakers. As mentioned above, the double ‘l’ sound has three different variations but the most common is the ‘ya’ sound. So, it’s not pah-ella, but pah-eya.
Pinot noir (/pino nwaʁ/) is a French word, which means nothing is as it seems. It’s pronounced pee-no no-wa, not pi-not no-ya.
Just remember not to go too far with your pronunciations lest you turn out like this guy…
This article has been updated since its original publication.