Category Archives: pronunciation tips

Boston pronunciation tip: Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall

I lived in Boston for several years in the ’90s. I was back briefly recently, so I took the opportunity to make a quick pronunciation tip. Most things in Boston present no pronunciation challenges, but there are a couple worth knowing…

Pronunciation tip: Kilkenny

I first learned the name of this city in southeast Ireland from a limerick (ironically). Then I knew it as the name of an ale. Then, for some reason, I started hearing people say it as though it were a modified version of Kokanee, with the stress on the first syllable.

People. People. Here is how to say it, for heaven’s sake. Also how to drink it.

Oh, and for more Irish pronunciation tips, see Pronunciation tip: Sláinte, Céad míle fáilte and Pronunciation tip: more Irish.

Pronunciation tip: bergamot

Have a nice cup of Earl Grey tea (probably made by Twinings, but your choice). Now tell me: what’s it flavoured with? Yes, bergamot, but do you know how to say bergamot? For that matter, are you sure you know how to say Twinings? (Bonus: How about Evelyn Waugh?) Here’s my latest pronunciation tip video to get you sorted right.

Pronunciation tip: al dente

I took over a friend’s kitchen for a moment to give a tip on how to say al dente, which surprisingly many people get wrong, generally under the influence of French. Take 56 seconds to watch and find out for yourself.

Pronunciation tip: Scotch whisky

Robbie Burns Day is almost upon us, and many people are going to be trying to say the names on their bottles of Scotch and not really knowing how. Me to the rescue! Here are 27 names you might run into and how to say them: Laphroaig, Islay, Lagavulin, anCnoc, Caol Ila, Strathisla, Chivas Regal, Cardhu, BenRiach, Bruichladdich, Auchentoshan, Bunnahabhain, Knockando, Glenfiddich, GlenDronach, Glen Garioch, Glenmorangie, Glenlivet, Glenrothes, Balvenie, Craigellachie, Oban, Aberlour, Edradour, Tomatin, Té Bheag, and Macallan.

Pronunciation tip: claret, Rothschild

It’s been too long since my last pronunciation tip video. Sit down with me now with a bottle of red Bordeaux (Mouton Cadet; I’m not rich) and let’s talk about how to say claret and Rothschild.

Pronunciation tip: N’Awlins, Worcestershire, and the “dropped R”

I filmed my latest pronunciation tip over several weeks, partly because it required some location shots that weren’t exactly walking distance and partly because reasons. It deals with something that comes up often with the names of certain places: If the “local” pronunciation “drops the R,” is that the true correct pronunciation? Also, what about when certain other letters of the name don’t get said?

(Just incidentally, this is also a little dig at certain dictionaries that give phonetic pronunciations as if they were phonological ones. I think every dictionary should have a trained phonologist on staff, or at least available freelance, as I am. 😀)

Pronunciation tip: Agincourt

My latest pronunciation tip is on Agincourt. Oh, did you think I meant the place where Henry V defeated the French? Well, that too, but first of all the one in Scarborough, which means in Toronto.

Pronunciation tip: Zoltán Kodály

If you’ve never studied music, you may not have heard of Zoltán Kodály. But listen to this. He’s a Hungarian composer who can teach us something interesting about rhythm… not with his music (though that’s nice enough); with his name.

Pronunciation tip: sausages

Well, I’ve gone and done it. I’ve done the wurst pronunciation tip I could do. You’ll watch it and say “I never sausage a thing!” I go to Whitehouse Meats in St. Lawrence Market and show you four sausages and how to say them: andouille, chorizo, boerewors, and merguez. Andouille like them? Yes, we do!