(NEXSTAR) – Not just you; Almost nobody knows how to pronounce “acai”.
That’s the key finding from a recent study by Unscrambled Words, which sought to pinpoint the words, phrases, or names that Americans often have trouble pronouncing.
It wasn’t just “acai” of course. Analysts at Unscrambled Words — an online resource for players of word-based games like Scrabble or Words With Friends — have found nine more tongue-twisting terms that Americans seem unable to pronounce, based on the average number of Google searches per month for “how to.” pronounce [X].”
“This data could show that some people have been mispronouncing words without realizing it for years,” an Unscrambled Words spokesman said in a press release. “However, it also shows that there is no shame in wanting to know the correct pronunciation, since thousands of people in the US want to know it every month too.”
In addition to “acai” (a species of palm that bears a berry of the same name and is pronounced “ah-sah-EE” or “ah-sye-EE” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary), the top-sought pronunciations at Google included a number of other food-related words, including “gyro,” “charcuterie,” and “pho,” among others.
Others from the list are: “Omicron”, currently the name of the predominant variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus; “Nguyen”, a common Vietnamese surname; and “GIF,” a word for a specific type of image file format that linguists and software developers still debate how to pronounce.
The full top ten list is below, alongside the average monthly number of Google searches for these pronunciations according to Unscrambled Words. Each term also links to a Merriam-Webster pronunciation unless otherwise noted.
- Acai – 20,400 monthly searches
- spinning top – 17,660 monthly searches
- omicron – 15,530 monthly searches
- cured meats – 15,140 monthly searches
- nguyen (Pronunciation via Heritage-Line) – 14,990 monthly searches
- gnocchi – 11,350 monthly searches
- gif – 11,230 monthly searches
- Worcestershire – 8,880 monthly searches
- Dogecoins (pronunciation of Benzinga) – 7,540 monthly searches
- Pho – 7,270 monthly searches
The folks at Merriam-Webster, meanwhile, want to remind us that we’re stupid to think there are only 10 words we often mispronounce. In both June and October 2022, the tome’s editors released their own lists of the most commonly mispronounced words in the English language, including such whoppers as “Victuals,” “awry,” “embodied,” and, yes, “acai.” . .”
“This famous berry is harvested in Brazil, but it features on menus and in recipes read by many English speakers,” writes a Merriam-Webster editor of the often mispronounced word. “Even if you don’t throw it in your morning smoothie, you might want to be sure you’re saying acai correctly.”
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