Category Archives: pronunciation tips

Pronunciation tip: Toronto places 2

I had so much fun last week doing my trip west across Toronto that I decided to walk north on Yonge Street this time and help you with some more street names that you might be unsure about:

Pronunciation tip: Toronto places

Toronto’s street grid looks on a map like it was set in place by people who had competing ideas about how it should go. But Toronto’s street names– and some other place names – often seem to have been set down by people who had competing ideas about what letters should stand for, and what letters could be silent. I decided to do a streetcar trip west from my neighbourhood to show you a few Toronto names that are apparently there to trip up visitors:

Pronunciation tip: jalapeño and habanero

I made a little trip (two blocks) to my greengrocer at the St. Lawrence Market to shoot this pronunciation tip, just so I could illustrate it. It was a one-shot deal… and not without technical difficulties. But hey, I say the words, I eat the peppers. What more do you want?

Pronunciation tip: Dvořák

I’ve been listening to classical music on the radio a lot lately. A perennially popular composer – for good reason – is Antonín Dvořák. Because English speakers are the way we are, I’ve been hearing a certain amount of “duh-vor-jack” for his name, which is… nah. So, for those who are wondering about how best to say it, here you go: both the way Czechs say it and the way ordinary non-Czech-speaking English speakers can reasonably say it. Because there’s a sound in the Czech that is deliberately difficult!

Pronunciation tip: Riesling and Gewürztraminer

Summer is here, and the time is right for drinking white wines with German names. I’m not going to bother with Sylvaner or Müller-Thurgau because anyone who actually says those is usually close enough. But not everyone is sure how to say Riesling or Gewürztraminer. So I’ll give you the standard German way and the usual English way of pronouncing them.

Pronunciation tip: Sauvignon

You probably know how to say sauvignon, though every so often I hear someone who doesn’t. But do you know why there are two very different wine grape varieties with it in their names (Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc) and why in French plus equals o?

Pronunciation tip: Calgary

You might think that Calgary would be a straightforward thing to say. Well, you can say it as you see it and be understood, yes, but the odds are pretty good you’ll immediately sound like someone not from around Calgary. Here’s a quick tip – less than a minute – on how Calgarians say it.