It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY"

    Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
    bird and moon shows us how it's done

    Data: (Doctor Pulaski has just mispronounced his name) Data.
    Pulaski: What?
    Data: My name. It is pronounced "Dayta". You called me "Dahta".
    Pulaski: What's the difference?
    Data: One is my name. The other is not.

    SF Debris: And really, if you were to say the ship was called the "USS Enterprisay" and the ship computer corrected you, would you start arguing with it? Even if you do not see Data as a person but as a machine, do you think the machine does not know what its own name is?"
    SF Debris review of the the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Child"

    Someone tries to class up something by "pronouncing it poshly". Most commonly this is done as response to other people pronouncing the word in such a way that it sounds much sillier. Whether the fancy pronunciation or the obvious yet silly one is "correct" is usually besides the point. The point is, that for some people, keeping a name filled with aristocratic airs is Serious Business.

    This practice likely originated (at least as far as we know) in the middle ages among upper class families who had common surnames and didn't want to be associated with their lowly upbringing. The Featherstone-Haughs for example were named for a poor farming village, so in order to make themselves sound posher, they changed the pronunciation of the name to "Fanshaw".

    Usually the "high-class pronunciation" uses French pronunciation. Today this is probably because Everything Sounds Sexier in French and as we all know sexy people can't be made fun of. The original reason for this is likely because since the the Norman invasion, English-speakers have tended to instinctively recognize French morphemes as being upper class, what with the country being essentially occupied and ruled by Frenchman for about two centuries. However, the actual French pronunciation may be different from the claimed one.

    This trope is related to the linguistic phenomenon known as hyperforeignism.

    May overlap with My Nayme Is but not every name that's pronounced differently than its spelling would indicate is this trope. Compare also with AcCENT Upon the Wrong SylLABle and Insistent Terminology, with which it sometimes overlaps.

    Contrast No Pronunciation Guide. See Also: Uranus Is Showing.

    Examples of It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY" include:


    • One A&W rootbeer commercial features a particularly clueless job candidate repeatedly referring to his interviewer as Mr. "Dumbass". Eventually, the interviewer states that his name (clearly visible on a nameplate as "Mr. DuMass") is actually pronounced "DOO-Mahss". Then he says behind the candidate's back, "What a dumbass."
    • In one commercial for Glade scented candles, a woman tries to pass off her new candles as fancy foreign candles. She removes the label and attempts to throw it away, but struggles with the adhesive and it ends up sticking to her skirt in the vicinity of her rear end. After she responds to questioning about whether it was a Glade candle with, "No, it's, uh, French. From France.", one of her friends pulls the label off of her and sarcastically asks, "Haven't you ever heard of glah-DAY?"
    • This ad for the Hyundai Genesis luxury sedan ends with "Win one little award, and everyone gets your name right. It's pronounced "HOHN-day", like Sunday." In the UK, the adverts actually pronounce it "High-OON-die". In Korean, it's "HYUN-dae." ("Hyun" being one syllable, kind of like "Fun" but actually a vowel sound that's halfway between "ah" and "oh", and the "dae" being pronounced the same as "day", though Koreans have heard foreigners used to Japanese names say it as "die" so often, they occasionally say it that way, too, at least when speaking English).
    • McDonald's is running a couple of commercials for their McCafé coffee drink which has random words getting an "é" pronounced "a" stuck on the end, with whispering voices humming "a, a, a, a" in the background. For example: They show a man hosing down his car in his driveway. He looks bored. The voiceover says "Rinse." But when the guy takes a sip of his McCafé, he feels much livelier, and the voiceover says "Rin-SAY."
    • A series of ads several years ago for the everything-shop Argos featured a (mysteriously Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen-esque) rock star (played by Richard E. Grant) making "helpful" suggestions to his PA (played by Julia Sawalha) about how to have his flat decorated. As soon as he leaves, she calls up the store and they soon deliver furniture, wall hangings and so on. When he returns, he's impressed and inquires as to who she hired to decorate the place. She casually says "Argos", but then backpedals, trying to impress him, saying that of course she was referring to a Lithuanian designer called "Argús" (AHR-goos).
    • Lampshaded in a Kiwibank advert where an Australian banker tries to say the town-name Whakatane (properly "fah-cah-tah-neigh") as "whack-a-tain"
    • Subverted by this commercial for Labatt Blue Light.
    • Just about any lingerie advert that uses the pronunciation "lohn-zher-ay." The correct French pronunciation is closer to "lan-zher-ee." And to be even more precise, when the French use that word, they don't mean exactly the same thing as Americans mean when they say lohn-zher-ay.
    • Target department stores did an ad that co-opted the commonly-used facetious pronunciation of "Tar-ZHAY" to jokingly act posh.
    • The blaxploitation-satire movie I'm Gonna Git You Sucka had a TV ad with classical music and a PBS-grade announcer presenting it as a highbrow art film with the title "I Am Going to Get You, Sucker".
    • A recent[when?] UK advert for Tesco featured a Mrs. Belcher, who insisted "It's pronounced 'Bell-SHARE', actually," though no one seemed to believe her.
    • Recently[when?] on loaves of Bimbo's bread, the new slogan "Say beem-bo!" is displayed prominently, because the original name is Italian, where 'Bimbo' is the diminutive of 'bambino', or child.
    • An advert in Sweden for Swedish clothes manufacturer Blåkläder (pronounced "Bloh-klay-der") featured an American who consistently mispronounced it as "Black-lah-der". After about 30 seconds of this, a Swedish guy approaches him and says "Say after me: Blåkläder!" The guy responds "That's what I said. Black-lah-der!"
    • Italian-American restauranteur Ettore Boiardi opted to market his canned food line under the name "Chef Boy-Ar-Dee", later Boyardee, specifically to avert this trope's confusing aspects.
    • The new[when?] cider—er, cidre—from Stella Artois is pronounced SEE-DRA.
    • In a Walmart StraightTalk commercial, a woman insists a certain vegetable is "absolutely pronounced ahn-deev" because of her supposed new riches after cutting her cell phone bill in half.

    AnIMe (E is silent) and MangA

    • In Haibane Renmei, one character corrects the fact that Rakka refers to him as Hiyoko, pointing out it's "Hyohko", with exaggerated emphasis on the "oh" sound to make the pronunciation difference clear.
    • In the first few chapters of the Sakura Wars manga, Sumire mispronounces Ogami's name every time she speaks to him. When he mispronounces her name as "tsumire" in response, she flies into a rage. (But she had cause; what woman would want to be called a meatball instead of a flower?)
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX; Edo's card "Destiny Hero Bloo-D" is pronounced "blue-dee", not "bloody", despite the monster having a blood-theme.

    CoMIC Books

    • Writer Christopher Priest added a recurring character named Dr. Vilain during his run on Steel. The doctor wasn't really evil, just ruthless, and would constantly remind people. "It's French, it's pronounced 'will-HAYN'". Of course, it's not pronounced like that in French. For the record, "vilain" does exist in French, but an accurate translation would be something like "naughty", not exactly fitting for an evil alias.
    • Make no mistake, Victor Fries' last name is pronounced "Freeze" (off-topic, but just like Charles Fries of Fries Entertainment).
      • Now if only we can resolve whether it's "RAYSH" or "RAZZ"-al-Ghul.
        • Nothing to resolve. Word of God pronounces it "RAYSH" on one of the DC animated movie special features. And in this case, it's the character's actual creator: Denny O'Neil.
        • And yet, the actual arabic pronunciation is "RAZZ," which makes things confusing. Batman Begins follows this loosely and goes with "RAHZ".
        • The people at DC are confusing the word "Ra's" with the letter "Resh", which is not even used in the spelling.
    • In the Marvel Mangaverse, Benjamin Grimm's first name is pronounced as it is in Hebrew: "Ben-ya-MEEN". Johnatha goes out of her way to emphasize the unusual (to English speakers) pronunciation every time she talks about him, as an insult.
    • Ghost Rider: Heaven's On Fire features an Anti Christ who actually goes by Anton Satan, pronouncing it [ʃatan] ("Shuh-TAN") like Miroslav Šatan of the Boston Bruins and Slovakia.

    Actually, that's pronounced Shuh-TAN. It's Czechoslovakian.

    • Hellblazer: John's last name is pronounced Constan-TYNE ("rhymes with 'fine'") in keeping with the British pronunciation not the American Constan-TEEN that many fans often use. This gets a bit muddled when you consider the adaptation switched his nationality to American which means it should be pronounced Constan-TEEN for purposes of the film.
    • Mi-Tse (villain from German comic Nick Knatterton) is not pronounced "Mieze" (typical name for cats in Germany).


    • Megamind seems to have this as something of a Verbal Tic. Most notably, he pronounces Metro City as "Metrocity" (rhymes with atrocity) and School as Shool.
    • Better Off Dead. When Lane Meyer (John Cusack) invites the French foreign exchange student from across the street to dinner, his mother, seeking to impress, serves exotic dishes like "Frahnch fries" and salad with "Frahnch dressing". And to drink: Peru!
    • Coincidentally in another Cusack film, Serendipity, his character continues to pronounce mignon as "minion" despite a Frenchman's protests to the contrary.
    • For the first third or so of Mel Brooks's Young Frankenstein, Frederick Frankenstein consistently corrects people's pronounciation of his surname: "Fraun-kon-shteen." This causes his assistant Igor to insist on "Eye-gor", and calling him "Froderick" instead of Frederick. Ultimately Frankenstein accepts the traditional way of pronouncing his name when he takes up the family trade.
    • in The Bank Dick, W.C. Fields played a character named "Sousé" and had to keep correcting people with "It's pronounced Sous-Ay! Accent grave over the e!" The pun doesn't really work nowadays, but back then souse was a slang term for a drunkard.
    • It's a Gift, in which W.C. Fields plays a shop owner Harold Bissonette, "Bis-son-NAY in front of the wife."
    • John Bigboote in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension: "It's 'Big-boo-tay!' Tay! Tay! Tay!"
    • One of the prisoners in The Movie of The Shawshank Redemption is looking at The Count of Monte Cristo by "Alexandree Dumbass". He is promptly corrected.
    • Small Time Crooks. Low class Frenchy (Tracey Ullman) calls crudites "crudd-iytes".
    • Another Mel Brooks example: the protagonist of High Anxiety addresses his mentor as Professor Little Old Man (accent on Man), and is corrected: Little-Oldman (accent on Old).
    • Yet another Mel Brooks example: Count DeMonet DEE-Moe-NAY, not, The Money) in History of the World Part One.
    • Apparently, Mel Brooks really liked having fun with this one. Reversed in The Producers: "Jacques Lepideux... Jacques Lepideux... Jack Lapidus?"
    • Hedley Lamarr from Blazing Saddles. People tend to leave off the l in his first name.
    • Heather Horney in Wayne's World 2. It's pronounced "hor-NAY", but Garth calls her "Miss Horny" even after hearing it pronounced correctly.
    • In The Comedy Of Terrors, the central characters had several exchanges along these lines:

    Gillie: Mr. Tremble...
    Trumbull: Trumbull!
    Gillie: But that's what I said.

    • In Corky Romano, the title character's FBI alias changes his surname to "Pissant" after a bumbling hacker misinterprets an insult as the answer to his question of what the name should be. It then becomes a running gag as Corky tries to convince people that it's pronounced "Pis-AHNT... it's y'know... French."
    • Joe Dirt

    Joe Dirt: Comin' to work. Joe Deertay.
    KXLA Security Guard: Don't try and church it up son. Don't you mean Joe Dirt?

    • The Abominable Dr. Phibes: "How do you pronounces this name? Phy-bees?"
    • School of Rock: "Actually, it's 'Schnay-blay'."
    • In the comedic slasher film Santa's Slay, when checking in at an airport, the attendant reads Santa's name as, "Mr. Satan", to which she is corrected. "Actually, it's pronounced Shuh-TAN."
    • Inverted in L.A. Story: Harris (Steve Martin) and his friends agree to meet at a trendy new restaurant whose name is pronounced "leed-YO", but when the scene shifts there, we see that it's actually spelled "L'Idiot", and that is the correct pronunciation in French.
    • The Last Airbender. Director M. Night Shyamalan instructed actors to pronounce several words ("Ong", "Ahvatar", "Soaka", "Ee-roh") as though their written forms followed transliteration conventions for Asian languages, rather than being intended to best approximate their actual pronunciation with conventional English spelling. Except "avatar" has long been an English word, and one can probably assume that the original creators of the animated series didn't have the voice actors incorrectly pronounce names they made up.
    • In Harry Potter: It's "Levi-O-sa", not "Levio-Sa!"
    • In The Comebacks, George Johnson insists his name is pronounced "Jorge Juanson" in a feeble attempt to accentuate his Latin heritage
    • The Specials: Minute Man is constantly correcting people that it's "My-noot Man! Do I look like a soldier from the Revolutionary War? I don't think so! Am I wearing a three-cornered hat? No! I turn small. Think!"
    • Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian has a security guard named Brandon who insists his name is pronounced "Brundon" despite being spelled with an A.
    • A Christmas Story: "Fra-gee-lay...that must be Italian." "Uh, I think that says 'fragile'."
    • True Grit: La Boeuf insists his last name is pronounced "La Beef," though that wouldn't be the French pronunciation.
    • In the French movie Mesrine: L'ennemi Public n°1, which is about the life and death of the famous French 70s gangster Jacques Mesrine, the title character is often annoyed that the media pronounce the s in his name. It's pronounced MEH-rine, (insert French curse word of choice)!
    • Pirates of the Caribbean: "It is pronounced 'eh-GREE-gius.'"
    • Freedom Writers:

    Eva: It's "ay-vuh". Not "ee-vuh".

    • In The Third Man, Dr. Winkle has to keep reminding Martins that his name is actually pronounced 'Vinkle'. Of course, Martins seems prone to these My Name Is Not Durwood moments as he keeps refering to Major Calloway as 'Callahan'.

    Major Calloway: That's Calloway, not "Callahan." I'm English, not Irish.



    • Lampshaded in in Terry Pratchett's Discworld novel Hogfather: Psycho for Hire Mr. Teatime keeps telling people that his name is pronounced "Te-ah-ti-meh". Fortunately, he only considers it slightly annoying when they get it wrong.
      • Amusingly, many of the cast in Sky One's Hogfather miniseries find more than one way to pronounce Te-ah-ti-meh" each, including Marc Warren (Mr. Teatime himself).
      • This is brilliantly translated in French: Mr. Teatime is called M. Lheureduthé (which means exactly Teatime) but wants people to pronounce it like "Le Redouté" -- The Feared.
    • Another Discworld one, from the Tiffany Aching subseries: "It's not 'Earwig', it's 'ah-WIJJ'." As the character is a self-important, etiquette-obsessed social climber, this may be a nod to Keeping Up Appearances.
      • Also from the Tiffany Aching subseries: Roland de Chumsfanleigh, pronounced "Chuffley". Usually footnoted with, "It wasn't his fault."
    • One more Discworld example: Edward d'Eath. This is a Real Life surname, though.
      • And originally almost always spelled "Death". The surname derives from men who played the character of Death in the medieval mystery plays each English town put on; the roles were lifelong and hereditary. The "d'Eath" or "d'Ath" construction is meant to make the name sound Norman French (and therefore snooty).
    • Lord Peter Wimsey has two middle names: Death and Bredon. The first is supposed to be pronounced "deeth". This actually matters in one of the novels.
      • In Murder Must Advertise (and in at least one other story: "A Matter of Taste" perhaps?)[please verify] he uses the pseudonym Death Bredon and remarks, more or less, "It's usually rhymed with teeth but I find it so much more fun to rhyme it with breath."
    • Perhaps inspiring the Count de Money mentioned above, the novel The Red and The Black has a character named the Comte de Thaler (thaler as in the German word that became "dollar") who is a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo of one of the Rothschilds and whose German name would be pronounced "Thalay" in France.
    • Christopher Chant from the Chrestomanci Chronicles is a very lavish, high-class English gentleman, obviously having this trope as a very noticeable characteristic. (He pronounces it 'shahnt'.) It's so noticeable, in fact, that the author lampshaded it in the book Conrad's Fate where most of the characters found it more annoying than charming, to the point where one character yelled at Christopher to not call out his name with "posh voices like that," to which Christopher (not understanding at all how infuriating he sounds) unamusingly retorted that was just how he normally speaks.
    • From Harry Potter: Word of God states that the entire "Her-MY-oh-nee" discussion in Goblet Of Fire came about after J. K. Rowling learned that fans were having trouble pronouncing Hermione's name.
      • And people still call her "Her-my-nee", probably because its smoother (and because of the films).
        • Actually, that's (mostly) correct, the pronunciation being challenged was "Herm-my-own/Her-mi-own."
    • In Anne of Avonlea, the second Anne of Green Gables book, the mother of two of Anne's students insists on their last name being pronounced Donnell, accent on the second syllable. (She also insists on her son being called St. Clair, although he prefers his birth name of Jacob. Poor kid.)
    • In the Victorian novel Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope, one character has the last name Slope, which the narrator informs us was originally Slop (he is supposed to be the descendant of a character from Tristram Shandy) but was changed for "euphony". The literary scholar John Sutherland posited that this may have been a self-deprecating reference to the author's own last name, which minus the "e" is a synonym for whore.
    • Inverted by Chris Cwej in the Doctor Who New Adventures spin-off novels. His surname should be pronounced "Shvay", but because everyone pronounces it "Kwedge" he's decided to go along with it. In his first appearance, although his new partner Roz Forrester pronounces it correctly, he corrects her.
    • In Don Juan by Lord Byron: In order to rhyme with such phrases as "new one" and "true one", the name Don Juan has to be pronounced "don-DZHU-an". It was pronounced that way in England during Byron's time.
    • Sneaking onto Imperial Center as a battered, partly cybernetic Imperial pilot, Wedge Antilles goes by Colonel Antar Roat, and has to tell a customs official that it's pronounced Ro-at. The buzz of the voice modulator—cybernetic-- makes him all but unintelligible.
    • In M.L.N. Hanover's Black Sun's Daughter series, the main character, Jayné, is used to people mispronouncing her name as "Jane" when it is actually supposed to be pronounced "Zha-nay" in the French manner.
    • PG Wodehouse had lots of fun with this. A particularly memorable example would be in Indiscretions of Archie, when the title character explains that his surname, Moffam, is pronounced "Moom". To rhyme with Bloffingham.
    • Achilles from the Shadow series of the Enderverse is indeed pronounced as the French "A-sheel".
    • Hubertus Bigend of the Bigend Books by William Gibson is another inversion. Bigend is Belgian, and the proper pronunciation is therefore closer to "bayh-jhan", but he seems to prefer to go by "big end" anyway.
    • Robert Heinlein included an involved discussion of the real life surnames of Tolliver and Talliafero in The Cat Who Walks Through Walls. Essentially, the two names are related, but represent three surnames. Spelt the long way and pronounced the short way makes you old money southern. Spelt short and pronounced short makes you white trash. Spelt long and pronounced long makes you a damn carpetbagger yankee scum. There's some truth to this, as the name is prominent in the south, and should be pronounced "TOL - i - ver", and spelled "Taliaferro". So spelling it the short way means a period of ignorance, including illiteracy (hence white trash) in one's family history, while pronouncing it long means moneyed ignorance (a Johnny come lately, or one who's not from the south), while the correct pronunciation and spelling mean a long history with the name with no periods of illiteracy (old money).
    • Slightly different version in John Brunner's "Coincidence Day" with Madam Senior-Jones. That is her NAME. Her father insisted that HIS family was the ORIGINAL Joneses, and she finally added the "Senior-" to make sure everyone got the point. He also named his daughter "Madam" because it is used to address queens... being unaware of the unfortunate implications of the other sense of the word.
    • Thomas Raith in The Dresden Files goes by (as Harry puts it) "toe-MOSS" while posing as a gay hairdresser.

    LivÉ-Action TV

    • Mrs Bucket from Keeping Up Appearances insists that it's pronounced Boo-KAY.
      • "The Bouquet residence! The lady of the house speaking!!"
        • Her husband always pronounces it Bucket when she's not around.
        • Well, the sisters are all named after flowers...
        • Apparently inspired by a real-life acquaintance of Roy Clarke who insisted their surname ("Bottom") was pronounced "Bo-TOME".
    • In an episode of Frasier, after a family embarrassment, Niles Crane's wife Maris tries to save face by adding an accent to the "e" of her name on her memos, so that her name is read as Maris Crah-NAY.
    • The Colbert Report (Cole-BARE RE-pore).
      • In one of the early adverts for the show, Colbert tries to justify it by saying that "It's French, bitch!". Colbert himself has said that the pronunciation is a way for us to tell the difference between his real personality (by pronouncing the T) and his stage personality (not pronouncing it).
    • Red Dwarf, "Kryten":

    Rimmer: You always put the emphasis on "Rim" in "Rimmer". Makes me sound like a lavatory disinfectant.
    Lister: Well, what do you want me to call you? "Rim-MAIR"!?

    • In Scrubs, a common Running Gag involves the particularly hirsute background character "Dr. Beardface". It seems like a nickname until Dr. Beardfacé corrects them that it's "Beard-FA-SAY!"
      • Keith Dudemeister's last name is from German, properly pronounced "Doo-de-MY-ster". Keith and Elliot have both said it means "Master of Dudes".
    • A Saturday Night Live sketch involved a couple trying to decide on a name for their expected child; the husband ends up rejecting practically every common name because it's too prone to being mocked. It's revealed at the end of the sketch that the husband's name is "Asswipe"... pronounced "ahs-WEE-pay".
    • Dr. Spaceman (who, as it turns out, is a certified—or rather uncertified—quack) from Thirty Rock pronounces his name "spa-CHEMM-'n". So does everyone else except resident Cloudcuckoolander Tracy Jordan, who calls him "Doctor Space-man."
      • Subverted later on with Jeffrey Weinerslav, a human resources sexual harassment councilor, who assures Liz that his name is not "Weiner-slahv" but "Weiner-slave", and another time, when Liz called an NBC page "Ah-mohn-daah", only to be corrected "It's... Amanda".
    • Rik Mayall's character on The New Statesman, Alan Bastard, spells his surname "b'Stard" just to make sure everyone pronounces it the way he prefers.
    • In the first season of Yes Minister, Jim Hacker's political adviser Frank Weisel (WYE-zel) is repeatedly (deliberately) addressed by Sir Humphrey and Bernard as "Mr Weasel".
    • Mr. Looney ("Loo-NAY. It's French.") in Family Matters. This one actually would be pronounced like that in French,[1] though the French dub simply uses the US pronunciation for all names anyway.
      • Steve Urkel's "cool" transformation, Stefan Urquelle.
    • Guy Secretan from Green Wing went to Whiteleaf Public School, but call it that and face his wrath: it's pronounced Wit-lehf.
    • Torchwood mentions the "estate agent pronunciation" of the Cardiff district of Splott. "Splowe" is a reasonable approximation of the estate agent pronunciation. The real pronunciation is phonetic.
    • In Between the Lions, Dr Nitwhit expressly prefers "nit-WHITE".
    • Warren Buffett has appeared several times on All My Children since the early 90's. Opal always pronounces it Warren BOO-fay.
    • Are You Afraid of the Dark? has two recurring characters who play to this trope. The first (and definitely the most memorable) was Doctor Vink ("with a vvvuh, vvvuh!") who was constantly referred to as "Doctor Fink". The other (and more in line with the trope) was Mister Sardo, who would constantly berate people for emphasizing his name's first syllable, as well as adding the honorific ("It's Sardo! No "mister", accent on the do!"). The two actually met in one episode (and were surprisingly slashy...).
    • Manservant Neville from The Middleman (pronounced "m'nSERvant").
    • Shaun Micallef played with this once in a sketch about Dracula: (heavy Romanian accent) "It is actually pronounced, Dra-coo-la."
    • Bertram Wooster, from Jeeves and Wooster, always has his name pronounced like Birdie Wooster (rhyming with rooster) by the American characters on the show. (Usually British actors pretending to be American.)
    • Parodied on an episode of QI. After Rich Hall suggested the existence of a town called "Satanismymaster-on-Rye", Bill Bailey claimed that the correct pronunciation was "Simster".
    • A one-shot character on iCarly's name was not Susie, it was Su-ZAY.
      • The Jack Black character in iStart a Fan War, absent the long-final-e pronunciation, would have been called "Aspartame".
    • One episode of The Nanny had Maxwell Sheffield pronouncing Fran Fine's surname as "fee-NAY" in an attempt to impress his grandmother.
    • Barney's obvious alias of "Jack Package" when he visits the matchmaker's in How I Met Your Mother is given a paper-thin disguise by pronouncing it "pack-aahj".
    • The title of the New Orleans-set HBO series Treme is pronounced "Tre-MAY", and is based on a real place in The Big Easy.
    • An ad for the TV show Psych had Gus find a number for "Dr. Kissyface" on Shawn's cel phone. "It's Dr. Kissy-FAH-chay," Shawn insists. At the end of the ad, Gus has called the number in disbelief, only to hang up in embarrassment when he gets a receptionist cheerfully answer, "Dr. Kissy-FAH-chay's office."
      • Most likely a Shout-Out to the above Running Gag example on Scrubs.
        • Actually, it's a self referential gag, Shawn frequently pronounces names and uncommon words wrong, leading to someone correcting him in line with this trope, and Shawn countering with one of his catchphrases.
    • Grunchlk, a character in two episodes of Farscape, as well as the Made-For-TV movie Peacekeeper Wars. Despite stating several times that it's pronounced "GROON-shlick," the crew still pronounces it wrong; probably because they don't care for him.
    • In Monty Python's Flying Circus, there is a sketch about a man whose name is spelt "Raymond Luxury Yacht", but is actually pronounced "Throat Wobbler Mangrove". In typical Python style, this is a parody, and the man is subsequently mocked and humiliated by the frustrated interviewer.
    • On Arrested Development, Maeby convinces her prospective boyfriend, Steve Holt, that her mom is actually a man. She then buys her mother a shirt, with "Shemale" emblazoned across the chest. As her mom sees it, Maeby responds, "It's a she-mah-lay!"
    • An example on the earlier Star Trek: The Next Generation: in Doctor Pulaski's first episode, she calls Data "Data", with a short A (dah-tah). He corrects her, as it is "Data" with a long A (day-tah). She asks what the difference is. He replies "One is my name, the other is not."
      • Which is a Development Gag, since in the original series bible, the "correct" pronunciation was the other way around.
    • One of the jokes on Kath and Kim involved the "correct" pronunciation of "Chardonnay" as "CAR-d'nay", because "it's French: the H is silent".
    • In Wizards of Waverly Place:

    "Alex": Hi, I'm Alex. What's your name?
    "Paul": Paul (pronounces it as Pao-ul)
    "Alex": Oh, that's a cool name! How do you spell it?
    Paul: P-A-U-L.
    Alex: *confused* ...Isn't that just Paul?
    Paul: It's Pao-ul!

      • Looks like the German pronunciation.
    • On Friends, Phoebe Buffay[2] is trying to get Monica to reproduce her grandmother's cookie recipe. Just when they're starting to give up, Phoebe mentions the name of the person who originally gave her grandma the recipe - Neslay Toulouse - and that's when Monica realizes that Grandma Buffay's "secret recipe" is actually Nestle Tollhouse cookies, with Phoebe initially criticizing Monica for "butchering the French language" after it's pointed out.
      • In actual fact, Nestlé is a German name rendered in French (the firm is based in a French-speaking part of Switzerland and was founded by a man born in Frankfurt on the Main, Germany (as Heinrich Nestlé 1814, Henri Nestlé after 1839). Phoebe's pronunciation of "Nestlé" is almost correct, the "t" should not be silent though.
      • In a different episode, Joey pretends to own the Porsche parked right outside their apartment building, and everytime someone says Porche, he corrects them "It's por-SHUH!".
    • In Community, Britta insists the proper pronunciation for bagel is "bahgle".
    • In a story from The Book of Pooh called "Chez Piglet," Rabbit convinces Piglet to open a restaurant called Chez Piglet, pronounced "Chay Piglay." He sings a song about all of the dishes being served at the restaurant, ending with "peanut butter and jel-lay."
    • In the In Living Color skit "Spike's Joint", Spike Lee (Tommy Davidson) tells his sister Joie (T'Keyah Crystal Keymah) that now that they're back in Brooklyn, her name is pronounced "Joy", not "Jwah".

    "It's not Jac-KAY (Jackée), all right? It's JACKIE. It's not Shah-DAY (Sade), all right? It's SADIE! What you gonna call me next, Spi-kay?"

    • Captain George Mainwaring in the British Sitcom Dads Army, whose name is pronounced "Man-er-ing". This is lampshaded in later series when the Welsh Pvt. Cheeseman joins the platoon, as he pronounces the captain's name phonetically - "Mane-ware-ing".
      • As does Mainwaring's rival Captain Square, much to Mainwaring's frustration. The snobbish, upper-class Square may be doing this deliberately to emphasise Mainwaring's lower-middle-class background.
    • Dippe from PJ Katies Farm. It's pronounced DEE-PAY.
    • In the third and final episode of the prequel Only Fools and Horses Rock And Chips, "The Frog and the Pussycat", Freddie Robdal manages to allay Joannie Trotter's (perfectly correct) suspicion that a diamond ring in a box from "Margate Jewellers" is stolen from a jeweller's shop in Margate by claiming it is the work of a French jeweller pronounced "Mar-jay".
    • Inverted in a sketch on The Two Ronnies where one character very carefully pronounces a newcomer's name as 'de Ath', only to be cheerfully told that it is, in fact, pronounced 'Death'.
    • The miniseries adaptation of Tales of the City includes dialog about the social embarrassment caused by not knowing the traditional correct pronunciation of Beauchamp's name ("beecham").
    • Oliver Trask uses this to woo Marissa Cooper in The OC, pronouncing mojito and crudités with a Spanish and French inflection, respectively.
    • Parodied in a sketch on A Bit of Fry and Laurie, featuring a man whose last name is pronounced by dropping an object onto a desk. "It's as it sounds." It's spelled Nippl-hyphen-e. He's very offended when called "Mr. Nipple." Worse, his address (22 King's Lane) is pronounced by doing a soft-shoe dance step and slapping you in the face. Just watch it.
    • In Bones, episode "Mayhem on a Cross", crime evidence was found in the possession of a Norwegian black metal band named Skalle (Norwegian for skull). Dr. Brennan keeps correcting co-workers, she insists on "Skall-eh" pronounciation, up to the point where Cam avoids using "skalle" in her sentence, she uses pronoun "they" rather. Hilarious.
    • The Stargate franchise is a serial offender, while there are many accepted pronunciations of the name Daedalus, "Dead-alus" is not one of them. Only once in the series did anyone ever pronounce it right and that guest character never appeared again. Obviously he didn't get the wrong pronunciation key with his script like the rest of the cast.
    • In the Doctor Who two-parter "The Sontaran Stratagem"/"The Poison Sky", it's Son-TAR-ans, not SON-ter-uhns.
    • Subverted in Drake and Josh, where during a rainstorm, Josh's dad tells off one of a myriad houseguests for pronouncing "touché" with the correct French accent.

    "It's pronounced TOOSH!"

    • Married... with Children: Kelly met the man who made her parents' couch. His name is "Mary" but he corrected her, insisting it's "Mar-AY". She then commented about being Bus-AY.


    • Sade is pronounced "shah-DAY", or /ʃɑːˈdeɪ/ in IPA. And it was only supposed to be the name of her band, not the singer herself. Although she did change her name to Sade.
      • Made worse in (most of) North America, as the first Sade album featured the pronunciation guide "Pronounced SHAR-DAY," assuming a British pronunciation. The result: many DJs and television hosts articulated the nonexistent "R" sound.
      • Actually, this trope is averted since the e is pronounced the with long A sound in Yoruba, one of the main languages spoken in Nigeria (her father is Nigerian, and she was born there). Furthermore, Sade is her name. Or rather, Sade is the common short form of her middle name, Folasade.
    • Kerli's name is pronounced "carely", not "curly".

    New MedIa

    Pro Wrestling

    • Old-school announcer Gordon Solie, trying to class things up, would pronounce "Suplex" as "Souplay". (It's pronounced "souplay" in amateur wrestling, partly because of the sport's European origins.)
    • Japanese wrestler Taka Michinoku's name is often typed TAKA Michinoku. (In Japan, his character used to insist that the "Taka" be in "American letters", while the "Michinoku" (like most other names) was printed in Kanji.) While it isn't pronunciation per se, it is a character trying to distinguish himself and "social climb" through a name difference.
      • This trope might also apply to KENTA (Kenta Kobayashi, not to be confused with Kenta Kobashi) and CIMA (Nobuhiko Oshima), who're referred to as such, never using kanji or katakana. Averted by Shingo Takagi in Japan (where his name kanji are used), but he fell right into it in ROH where he was billed as SHINGO.
      • This is fairly common in Japanese wrestling, and generally only done by heels.

    REcorded and Stand-up ComÉdy

    • Brian Regan has a comedy routine in which he has trouble remembering names, and he stresses the difficulty of making a mistake when somebody else's name is similar to another.

    "Oh, hey there, Carolyn."
    "It's Caroline. It's Caroline, Brian."
    "It's Bri-awnh! Yes, my name is Brauaaagh! It's very hard to say my name correctly, because my name is Brynamengenjah! Can you say that? Very few can."

    • Dawn French had a bit where she would show off her new dress saying "It's by Pinay -- J.C. Pinay"
    • Zach Galifianakis frequently mispronounces words such as stage (stahj).
    • Jimmy Carr had a joke where he mentioned how he read the word "chav" before actually hearing it, and thought it was pronounced "shav".

    TabLETop GaMES

    • Dungeons & Dragons has the bulette, whose name is "pronounced Boo-lay." If it were really a French word, that is exactly how it wouldn't be pronounced. Apparently, it's now back to being the "bullet", as the person who wrote the 2nd Edition caption was being pretentious. In his last Podcast before he left Wizards of the Coast, Dave Noonan joked that he pronounces it "land shark."
      • There are also the evil fish-men called the sahuagin, which is frequently pronounced "sa-HWA-gin" but is officially (according to the sourcebook The Sea Devils) supposed to be "sa-HOO-a-gin".
      • Also in the Monstrous Manual are the tabaxi, panther-like humanoids who are pronounced "ta-BAX-ee" or "tah-BAHSH-ee" depending on the clan.
      • Writers for D&D tend to have lots of pronunciation misconceptions. It's listed in the Player's Handbook that the coup de grace action (correctly pronounced coo-duh-grahss, meaning strike of mercy) should be pronounced "coo-day-grah" (translated roughly as "bowl of fat"). You'd think they would check before printing it in the book. Not to mention that this particular mistake has been repeated over several editions of the game.
        • One larp system dealt with the constant mispronunciation by introducing "coo-de-grah" as an actual call (as well as coup de grace) - effect: "your target is covered in butter and cannot be grappled for the remainder of combat, now stop being a moron and get your calls right!" Sadly this rule was open to abuse and had to be removed.
    • In the future setting of Chaos, the pronunciation of the word "meme" (memes have become an even much more important concept in the future than they are today) has changed to "mem" (rhymes with "gem"), as opposed to today's "meem" (rhymes with "dream").
    • Rifts has an alien race called the Xiticix. The books state it is meant to be pronounced "zeye-TICK-icks," but gaming groups (as well as many staff members at Palladium Books) almost never get the pronunciation right. As an example, Kevin Siembieda mentioned that his father called them "City Chicks." Siembieda has said that he dislikes the name himself, but they were named by the artist who did the concept art for them, so he kept it.
    • As very little guidance (save various video games) exists to the pronunciation of a variety of Warhammer Fantasy Battle and Warhammer 40,000 names, players tend to call them as they see them. There has been some debate of the pronunciation of the Chaos God Tzeentch, with most people agreeing it to be a single syllable with a "tz'" hissing sound following by "zeentch" (as if the speaker were going to say "Zeentch", but had their tongue in a position to make a "T" sound), but others pronounce it "TER-zeentch", "Teh-ZEENTCH", "Teh-ZENCH", "Zench" or "Tench" in rough order of reading ability. Similarly with "lasgun" or "lascannon", most say "Laz", but a few go by the root of "Laser" and pronounce them as "Layz-guns". This was noted among some gaming communities as a point of contention in the otherwise well-received Dawn of War series, where Imperial Guardsmen mentioned "Layzguns", although not as Egregious as the pronouncing of the Greek word "Chimera" as "Shimmerer"...
      • As far as Tzeentch goes, it's explicitly said in various fluff sources that (in both fantasy and 40K) different cults and cultures have different pronunciations - indeed often different names - for the different Chaos gods. Which, makes sense, given that they're the gods of freakin' Chaos.
      • Apparently it is Catachan is cat-a-can, no idea why.


    • William Barfée ("it's Bar-FAY") from the musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
      • Barfée in French would indeed be pronounced Bar-FAY.
    • Wicked: "My name is GAH-linda, with a GAH!" (and later, ""In honer of Dr. Dillmond, I officially change my name! From now on, I will be known as Glinda, without the GAH, because that's how he always pronounced it.")
    • In HMS Pinafore the first name of the character Ralph Rackstraw is pronounced Rafe, as is usual in the UK. (The name is rhymed with "waif" in "A many years ago.")
    • In Ruddigore, Robin Oakapple's real first name is always pronounced "Rivven" except once, in the second act opening song:

    With greater precision
    (Without the elision),
    Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd--ha! ha!

    • In "Sonatina" from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Admiral Cockburn corrects the pronunciation of his name:

    And "Co'burn", not "Cockburn";
    Though for that you are excused.
    'Tis spelled c-o-c-k
    But only half the cock is used.


    VidÉo GaMES

    • Derby [pronounced "DAR-bee"] in Bully. Which is how you pronounce the horse race, the city, or half of the county Derbyshire (DAR-bee-shur) in England.
    • Charmles in Dragon Quest VIII refers to himself as "Sharm-LAY". He's the only one who does—everyone calls him "CHARM-ulz", or Charmless when he's not looking.
    • The character of Dudley Cholmondely in Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon. His name is pronounced "Chumley"; justified in that "Cholmondely" is actually pronounced that way (see the Discworld example above).
    • Qix = "Kicks"
      • On the other hand, Japan pronounces it "Quicks" when written in katakana
      • Taito (the company that released) is pronounced "TIE-to", and not "tay-to".
    • Ys is pronounced either "ease" or to rhyme with "peace" (or "yeece" as in the localization of Ys VI). Not "wise".
    • Faxanadu is pronounced "fah-ZAN-uh-doo", not "faks-AN-uh-doo", being short for Famicom Xanadu.
    • The obscure adventure Gene Machine features the main character Pierce Featherstonehaugh, pronounced Fanshaw. The phonetic variant is used for most of the game. The name is Truth in Television, though.
    • Galaga (GAL-a-ga), similarly to how you would pronounce "Gallagher" (the comedian best known for his "Sledge-O-Matic" routine)
    • Because of Japanese double consonants, Tekken is pronounced "Tek-KEN", and not "TEK-ken".
    • Metroid: It's not "Zeebs", or "Zeebees", or even "Zeebus", it's [["ZEH-behs".
    • In Mega Man 8, because there's No Pronunciation Guide, the characters mistakenly calls Bass as the fish. Of course, it's actually BASE.
    • The villain of the third season of Telltale Games Sam and Max is an albino gorilla from space named General Skun-ka'pe (skoon-KAH-pay), so naturally our heroes call him "Skunk Ape". However, everyone understands who they mean, and no one corrects them.
    • Not mentioned in the games themselves, but Pokémon is pronounced po-kay-mon. Not po-kee-mon, not po-kee-man, and not po-kay-man. See the little notes about the title at the bottom of the page? Yeah, the accent over the e makes all the difference. And that's an o at the end of the word. Not an a.
    • Drakengard has several:
      • "Caim" rhymes with "time", not "aim".
      • "Leonard" is "LAY-o-nard", not "Len-nerd".
      • "Arioch" is "ARE-ee-ohsh", not "AIR-ee-ock".
      • "Seere" is "SAIR-ay".
      • "Furiae" is "furry-eye", which is the actual Latin pronunciation, but most English-speakers are probably inclined to think "Fury, eh?".
      • The name of the protagonist of Drakengard 2 (Nowe) is pronounced "No-Way".
    • NieR has Kainé, whose name is pronounced Kai-Nay, not Kain. There's a reason why there's an accent above the E.
    • In the Monkey Island series there's a running joke about the pronunciation of Guybrush Threepwood's name.
      • Also, in Tales of Monkey Island the Marquis De Singe (and Joaquin D'Oro) pronounces his own name as "deh SANJ" (with the short "a" sound in "apple"), and the Voodoo Lady and Hemlock McGee pronounce the name as "day SAHNJ" (with the "a" pronunciation in "father"). Guybrush and Morgan LeFlay, on the other hand, pronounce De Singe's name poorly, coming out only as "deh SIHNJ", like the word "SIHN-jee" without the "ee", or like the English word "singe". It's possible this may have been them pulling a My Name Is Not Durwood with him, though. The correct pronunciation, incidentally, is how he says it himself, and it means "of Monkey" (not "of the Monkey", that would be "du Singe") in French.
      • Tales also has every single character pronounce "La Esponja Grande" with "esponja" pronounced with a J sound (es-pon-JA). Not until the very end of the final episode does Elaine FINALLY say "Actually, it's pronounced 'es-pon-HA' with an 'H' sound at the end?"
      • And of those who pronounce the word "Caribbean" as "CA-ri-BEE-an", only Morgan pronounces it as "cuh-RIH-bee-an".
      • Most of the people who pronounce Guybrush's name wrong are doing it on purpose as a way of showing their disrespect for him. Rise of the Pirate God even lampshades it.

    Galeb: Don't worry, Carniferouswood--
    Guybrush: Oh, come on, that doesn't even sound like "Threepwood."

    • It's a good thing Persona 4 has voice acting, otherwise everyone would be pronouncing the store name "Junes" as "Joonz". The correct pronunciation is "Joo-NESS".
      • Similarly, Rise is pronounced "Ree-Say" rather than rhyming with "Size".
    • Chrono Trigger: It's "Ay-la", not "Eye-la" (the katakana for her name is Eira).
    • It's Ninja GUY-den not Ninja GAY-den.
    • Final Fantasy: It's pronounced Tee-dus. Also, Seh-sul.
    • The title of the Toaplan shmup V-V is pronounced "V five" according to the furigana.
    • In Fallout: New Vegas, Caesar is pronounced in the Latin form "Kai-Sarr" by members of Caesar's Legion while most other characters simply call him See-Zer.

    Web Animation

    • Strong Bad did this for Illinois ("Eel-ee-nwah"). He also calls Texas "Tejas", pronounces "California" the Spanish way, etc.
      • "Eel-ee-nwah" is pretty much how it's pronounced in French, though. It's a French adaptation of an Algonquin word. The silent 's' was definitely added by the French. It was probably pronounced something like "Eel-ee-nee-weh".
      • He also (at least once) pronounced Ohio "OH-HEE-OH". This could be a subtle, running gag about him making just as many goofs as he corrects in his SB-Emails or a part of his oft-childish personality and his accent.
      • In another episode he read "Kelly, USA" as "Kelly Usa" and referred to her as an "exotic lady from the far east".
    • In the last episodes of the Strangerhood it's revealed that Nikki's name is actually pronounced Nik-kay.
    • In Red vs. Blue Reconstruction, a soldier sent to retrieve Caboose is named Jones, however, his commander pronounces it "Jo-ah-nes", annoying Jones ("It's a really common name!"). Later in Recreation, CT tells one of his mooks "Great shot Jones!"; the mook responds "Thanks, but it's actually pronounced Jo-ah-nes, Sir!".
    • Irate Gamer goes by the name Chris Bores (he typically pronounces it "boar-es" rather than the expected pronunciation).

    Web Comics

    Web OriGInal

    • A running joke in the "Jack and Dean" videos involves Dean pronouncing Facebook "Fack-ee-book" for the sole purpose of annoying Jack.

    WesTERN Animation

    • In the Looney Tunes short "To Hare Is Human", Wile E. Coyote introduces himself to Bugs Bunny as "Wile E. Coy-OH-Tay".
    • In Hercules, god-of-where-three-roads-meet Trivia keeps having to tell people "Actually, it's 'try-VEE-ah'." Unfortunately this is a SLIGHT case of Did Not Do the Research—Trivia in actual mythology was female and a ROMAN goddess. Her name would have been pronounced something like "tree-wee-ah".
    • Used in Kim Possible, when Kim meets her brothers' guidance counselor.

    Kim: ... Miss... Guide?
    Miss Guide: "Guh-DAY", dear.
    Kim: Uh, g'day to you too.

    • On King of the Hill, Rad Thibodeaux, a "self-proclaimed genius", pronounces his last name as "Thi-ba-DAY-oks." This leads to Hank attempting to correct him (Thibodeaux is French—a very common Cajun name pronounced like Hank says):

    Hank: Isn't that pronounced "Tib-a-do?"
    Rad: Well, you know, sometimes, by mistake.

    • Newscaster Brian Pinhead (pih-NAYD) on The Tick (animation).
    • On Bobby's World, Bobby's family name is Generic, pronounced JEN-eh-rik and mispronounced by everyone else in the world.
    • The Simpsons:
      • Inverted when Moe makes fun of Homer for Frenchly pronouncing garage as "ga-RAJ" (the correct way in America). Moe prefers the term "car hole".
      • Also, Marge's country club friends Karen, Gillian, Elizabeth, Patricia, and Susan all pronounced their names differently than the norm.
      • There's also Krabappel which is pronounced "Cruh-BAW-pull". Despite coming up with numerous insulting nicknames for her, none of her students ever think to call her "crab-apple". In one episode, there's a set-up where Homer is surprised at hearing the correct pronunciation of her name, only for him to cry "I've been calling her 'Krandall'!"
      • And again when Bart corrects Homer on the pronounciation of "party", insisting that it's "par-TAY".
      • An early episode had an argument between Freddy Quimby and a waiter over whether "chowder" was pronounced "CHOW-dah" or "shau-DAIR".
      • An episode when Homer joined the naval reserve.

    Instructor: Simpson, as you have experience in a nuclear power plant, you can serve on a submarine.
    Homer: Nu-cue-lar. It's pronounced nu-cue-lar.

    • "Burns, Baby Burns" has this little exchange.

    Marge: Next to Spring and Winter, Fall is my absolute favorite season. Just look at all this beautiful foilage.
    Lisa: It's not "foilage," mom, it's "foliage."
    Marge: That's what I said, foilage. It doesn't take a nucular scientist to pronounce foilage.

    • Of course she later says it properly, and comments how she can't "ex-cape" the living "li-berry" that is her daughter.
    • Zapp Brannigan from Futurama often has trouble with loanwords:

    Zapp: Champaggen?
    Leela: (sarcastically) I didn't realize you were such a coin-a-sewer.

    • Done again in "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings" when he pronounces "bravo" and "encore" as "BRAY-vo" and "enn-KORR".
    • And in "The Problem with Popplers":

    Zapp: (eating a poppler, which, it turns out, are the larval form of the Omicronians) Mmm, these would go great with gwack-a-mole!
    Lrr: Stop eating our young! And it's pronounced "gwah-kah-moh-lay"!

    • Parodied on Drawn Together, during one of their finale's when Captain Hero corrected the host saying "It's pronounced Kah-Pee-Tawn. The Hero is silent." This is also a reference to Captain Hero's behavior after his last name, Shero, is revealed. It's pronounced "Hero", the "S" is silent.
    • When Peter from Family Guy goes to an ultra-posh auction house surrounded of the wealthiest elite, he says "It would look really good in Lois's crapper... I mean, krah-pee-AY." This pronunciation is immediately corroborated. "Oh yes, I would simply love that in my crapier!"

    Peter: Oh sweet, I'm getting an Audi!
    Brian: ... Peter, that says "audit".
    Peter: No, Brian, it's a foreign car. The "T" is silent.

    • And yet another:

    Peter: Ha ha, you said "nuclear"! It's "nucular", you dummy, the "S" is silent.

    • Done in an episode of The Proud Family, where Penny gains a case of Acquired Situational Narcissism and insists on "Penn-AY".
    • This was done in The Critic, too. Jay goes to a fast food restaurant and addresses the clerk by the name on his nametag, "Pizzaface." The clerk of course responds with, "Hey, that's Pizza-fah-CHAY!"
    • An episode of Tale Spin features a shifty client named Weezelle. Although he is an actual weasel, he insists that his name be properly pronounced ("wee-ZEL!", accent on the third "e") at all times. Naturally, everyone just called him "Weasel".
      • Eventually, this annoys him so much that he refuses to do anymore work for his boss "until you call me by my correct name." His boss, mind you, is the most feared and ruthless crime lord in the city, and has probably killed people for less than that. Clearly, Weezelle's name is important to him.
    • The '88 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles also has a one-shot villain with that name (although he was not a literal weasel—only a figurative one).
    • Timon and Pumbaa once meet a suspicious-looking raccoon named Thief who insists that his name is pronounced "thife" (rhymes with "life").
    • Lilo & Stitch: The Series has the villainous Dr. Hämsterviel. Pronounced HOHM-ster-vheel, although many pronounce it like "hamster wheel". The fact that Hämsterviel is in fact a literal Intelligent Gerbil doesn't help the situation.
      • Of course, the actual way to pronounce it in German would be "Hame-ster-feel". The umlaut works in the same way the silent "e" does in English, and in German "v" makes an "f" sound and "w" makes what is in English a "v" sound.
      • In the first Lilo and Stitch movie, the Grandcouncilwoman pronounces Earth's name as "Ee-Arth."
    • Cow and Chicken got one under the radar featuring the Ahz-Wee-Pay tribe.
    • Metalocalypse has a band therapist called "Jonathan Twinkletits" pronounced "Twink-LET-its" instead.
    • In The Boondocks it's not "Uncle Ruckus," it's "Uncle Ruckuu." Because it's French. Also an inversion, Robert is pulled over by one Officer Douche. Despite being high, Robert has the presence of mind to call him "Doo-shay." Except the officer's name is pronounced the way it looks.
    • There was a Lampshade Parody in the South Park episode Margaritaville, starting out with a clerk in a store called Sur La Table, which he pronounced tāb-lé, and running with it the whole episode whenever various words ending in 'able' were used by that character.
    • On Clifford the Big Red Dog, there was a story in which Jetta read Emily Elizabeth's private journal and was led to believe that Emily Elizabeth was going to Hawaii by reading one of her made-up stories. She kept dropping all sorts of hints about Hawaii to Emily Elizabeth, but kept pronouncing it in a really pompous way, with the accent heavily on the second syllable.
    • In an episode of Doug, Doug was trying to impress Patty by trying to look sophisticated and play classical music, only to be shot down by Judy when she corrected him on the pronunciation of the name, Chopin (pronounced SHO-pan).
    • In the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode The Best Night Ever, Pinkie Pie tries to adapt to an upper class party.

    Pinkie Pie: Ooooh. They don't want to party. These ponies want to par-TAY!


    Real LifÉ - PeOple

    • Allegedly actress Jean Harlow was at dinner with Margot Asquith (wife of the UK Prime Minister at the time) and kept pronouncing her name with the "t". Eventually Asquith told her "No, Jean, the 'T' is silent, like in 'Harlow'".
    • In England, the surname Berkley is pronounced Barkley.
      • Similarly, Derby is "Darby" (surname and county city. The county is Derbyshire (DAR-bee-shur)). And the word 'clerk' is "clark". There's something going on there.
        • A Great Vowel Shift during the settlement of the New World, perhaps?
        • And "Berkshire" is pronounced "Bark-shire". But the abbreviated form "berk" (rhyming slang: berk = Berkshire Hunt = cunt; usage: insult) is still pronounced "berk", not "bark".
          • The rhyming slang takes its name from the Berkeley Hunt. Which is, of course, pronounced "BARK-lee".
    • Possible case: Nicholas Cage pronounces his son Kal-El's name as ka-LELL, despite the hyphen making the correct pronunciation perfectly obvious. More likely he simply pronounces it the same way as Brando did in Superman.
    • Ralph ("Rafe") Fiennes ("Fines") definitely falls into this category.
      • Also the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.
    • Scottish actor Gerard (JAYR-id) Butler played King Leonidas in 300, whereas Joisey-born Gerard (juh-RAWRD) Way is the lead singer of My Chemical Romance.
    • John Boehner, the Republican Speaker of the House. His last name is pronounced BAY-ner, not "boner".
    • Jared Lee Loughner's last name is prnounced LOFF-ner, not "loner".
    • After winning the Heisman Trophy, Tony Dorsett announced that his last name should be pronounced "Dor-SETT" rather than "DOR-set". The next year, Earl Campbell won the award and joked that his last name was "Cam-BELL".
      • In his senior season, Joe Theismann (originally pronounced THEES-man) changed the pronunciation of his name so that it'd rhyme with Heisman, thinking he'd get more votes that way. He failed; Jim Plunkett won that year.
    • The printing method known as Giclee is pronounced "Zhee-clay". Go figure.
      • Because it's correctly spelt giclée and pronounced as such. It was taken from the French verb, "gicler" meaning "to squirt, spurt or spray".
    • Remember... Guy Forget? (Ghee FOR-zhay)
    • Mike Krzyzewski, coach of the Duke Blue Devils basketball team. Apparently, "Krzyzewski" is pronounced "Sheshefski".
      • It's much easier for Americans to try "Sheshefski" than the actual Polish. This is understandable, seeing as it's Polish.[3]
    • Kirsten Dunst is Pronounced KEER-stuhn, not KUR-stuhn.
    • Louis Armstrong disliked being called "Louie", as he saw the nickname demeaning and dismissive of his achievements and talents. Even today, the pronunciation of his first name is Serious Business to jazz aficionados.
    • While most people say "Carnegie" with the first syllable emphasized, "CAR-neh-gee", Andrew Carnegie himself pronounced his last name with the stress on the second syllable, i.e. "Car-NAY-gee".
    • Thandie Newton's first name is pronounced "Tandy", like the computer.
    • One of Oxford's most famous colleges is 'Magdalen'. However, it is not pronounced as it's spelt, it's pronounced 'maudlin'. Same in Cambridge.
    • Halley's Comet. "Hay-lees" used to be a common mispronunciation; it's now usually pronounced "Hah-lees", but if you're following the man it's named after, it should be pronounced "Haw-lees".
    • Also, Walter Raleigh. It's "Raw-Lee", not "Rah-lee".
    • Charlize Theron has stated in interviews that she finds it amusing that people pronounce her last name in the media as "Tha-Rown" to make it sound fancy, saying that it's simply pronounced "thair-in".
    • Arab is supposed to be pronounced "Air-rib," not "A-RAB" like the way Huckleberry Finn pronounces it.
      • Or Elvis Costello.

    "Hong Kong is up for grabs,
    London is full of Arabs..."

    • Stephen J. Cannell (rhymes with "channel")
    • Matt Groening (rhymes with "raining")
    • There is an actress named Karen Cliche ("kleesh")
    • George Dzundza ("zoonza")
    • "Deborah Kerr is the star."
    • The "Seuss" in Dr. Seuss is pronounced Soyce (rhymes with voice). Dr. Seuss himself has stated this, but nobody seems to remember or care.

    You're wrong as the deuce
    And you shouldn't rejoice
    If you're calling him Seuss
    He pronounces it Soice

    • Scandinavian tongues have weird pronunciation rules, for example the Norwegian name Kjerstine is pronounced "cher-steen-uh".
    • Steve Blum pronounces his last name as "bloom". He isn't known to get annoyed about it too often, though.
    • Many people pronounce Vic Mignogna as it is written, which is wrong. It's pronounced something like min-nya-na.
      • It's pronounced Min-yon-na. You can hear him pronounce it himself in this Youtube video. If you don't want to watch the whole thing, he says his name at 1:50. However, if you want to see the hysterical Mustang-miniskirt bit, fast forward to 6:30.
    • A German living in England named her daughter Caroline, but spells it (unofficially) as Caro-Lynne to force the German pronunciation.
    • Subvertable. Any person is free to officially change their name, or the spelling of their name.
      • That is, in the US and most of Canada. In most of the world, people are not free to officially change their names.
    • There is an Isreali talk show host named Guy Pines (it's pronounced like the male body part, for you non-Isrealis)
    • Maurice Gibb of The Bee Gees pronounced his first name "Morris".
    • English novelist Oliver Onions would have you pronounce it "oh-NYE-onz."
    • Cillian (KIL-ian, not SIL-ian) Murphy definitely qualifies.
    • Major League Baseball outfielder Matt Diaz, who has gone on record to state that yes, it's pronounced "DIE-az".
    • Actor Peter Krause pronounces his surname "KRAU-zuh," rather than the more-common-in-America single-syllable pronunciation.

    Real Life - PlacES (S is silent)


    • The Canberra suburb of Manuka is pronounced 'mahn-NAH-ka', not 'mah-NU-ka' like the plant.


    • Newfoundland is not, in fact, New-Found-Land, it's Newfin-LAND.
      • It's not to be pronounced as "New Finland" either. Many a tourist have made that mistake.
      • To add to the confusion, Leif Ericsson discovered "Vinland" (Wineland), which is thought to be the southern tip of Newfoundland.
      • Though some people pronounce it more like Newfun-land.
    • People who live in or near Toronto tend to pronounce the city's name as something rather like "Tronno". Sportscaster Don Cherry tends to pronounce Toronto as "trah-na".
    • A university in Halifax and a road in Ottawa are both named Dalhousie. The school's name is pronounced "dal-haw-sie", the road's is "dal-hoo-sie".


    • Many people pronounce Tokyo with three syllables (toh-kee-oh); it's more accurately pronounced toh-kyo, with the "kyo" one syllable (its name translates to "Eastern Capital")
      • Both characters are pronounced with long vowels, so by Japanese reckoning it's actually four beats, or on: to-o-kyo-o.
    • People like to pronounce the city of Kobe (written in Japanese as "Koube"), Japan, and the steak that takes its name from the city, like Kobe Bryant ("koh-bee"), when it's actually "kohh-beh." In Japanese, "Koubi" (交尾) means "animal mating," and when applied to human intercourse means "very rough sex."

    New Zealand

    • The working class suburb Mangere in Auckland, New Zealand (pronounced MAH-NGE-RE according to the Maori or MAN-gerry in common use), is sometimes fondly referred to as "Mon-ZHER" by its inhabitants.


    • The (somewhat fairy-tale) name of the village of Appletreewick in North Yorkshire, UK is pronounced "Ap-trick" by locals.
      • Similarly, the locals pronounce the town of Worcester, Massachusetts, "WUH-ster".
        • That is how the original Worcester in England is pronounced - "WORCE-ster".
        • Same goes for Gloucester (GLOSS-ter), Leicester (Lester), and Leominster (Lemon-ster). All named after places in England (though the English Leominster is pronounced "Lem-ster").
        • The Gloucestershire Airplane Corporation (one of the predecessors of British Aerospace) changed its name into Gloster as it expected foreign contracts. "Gloster" is pretty much the phonetic ortography for "Gloucester".
      • The village of Athelstaneford in Scotland is pronounced "EL-shen-ferd", at least by locals. What makes it slightly more bizarre is that the village is named after the medieval king Athelstan, whose name is pronounced as it looks.
    • Great Britain is full of this sort of thing, both in personal names and place names. For example...
      • Mr. Featherstonehaugh (FAN-shaw)
      • Mr. Menzies (MING-iss). Can also be used as a first name, as in politician Menzies Campbell (MING-iss CAM-ble)
        • Partly because it wasn't originally a 'z' in the middle there, but the old Middle Scots letter 'yogh'. Early Scots printers didn't have a handy yogh in their fonts, so used the similarly shaped 'z' instead.
      • Stiffkey (STOO-kee), Cley (CLY) and Wymondham (WIND-um) in Norfolk
      • Leicester (LES-tuh) and its attendand -shire (LES-tuh-shuh).
      • Cholmondeley is pronounced like "Chumley" (/ˈtʃʌmli/).
      • The town of Hednesford in the West Midlands, pronounced "Hens-fud", in a similar manner to Wednesday - not Head-Nes-Ford.
      • Marylebone in London. Which can be said quite a few ways. Mary-le-bone, Marry-le-bone, Marleybun (the right one, says Wiki), Mairbun, Mbn.
      • In any place name ending in 'wick' or 'wich', such as Chiswick and Greenwich, the 'W' is silent. So Chiswick is 'chiz-ick' not 'chiz-wick', Greenwich is 'gren-itch' not 'green-witch'. Also Southwark is 'Suthuk'
      • And Norwich is pronounced "Norrich"
      • Towcester. As in the thing you use to make toast.
    • People who aren't British seem to have trouble pronouncing Worcestershire Sauce (WORCE-stershire). Even though most Brits know how to say it correctly it mostly tends to get referred to as Lea and Perrins.
    • Depending on where you are in the U.K own seems to turn into aarn. For example Town turns into Taarn, Down turns into Daarn and Brown turns to Braarn while 'own' turns into 'who-wen'. Similarly round turns into Raarned and found turns into Faarned. This is mostly faarned raarned the Yorkshire area or more specifically the Barnsley area. The pronunciations can make it very confusing to people not familiar with the area. The other wiki covers more of this
    • UK place names again: Edinburgh, Middlesbrough and Loughborough are in wildly different parts of the country (Scotland, North Yorkshire and Leicestershire respectively) and all pronounce the section of their names after the B as Borough despite the different spelling. Even weirder is the town of Brough which doesn't pronounce it like the similarly spelt Middlesbrough, but pronounces it as Bruff.


    • ESPN guys love to pronounce Detroit as if it were still a French word ("Day-twa"), just for a joke.
      • And you're free to fight amongst yourselves as to whether it's pronounced "Duh-TROIT" or "DEE-troit."
    • Louisville: If you live in Louisville you pronounce it as lul-vul. If you are from anywhere else you may pronounce it as Lou-is-ville, Lou-ie-ville or Low-ville.
      • Kentucky, at least. The other Louisvilles are pretty straightforward in their "Lewie-vill" pronunciation.
        • Except for Ohio (Lew-is-ville). But then, Ohio is sort of wonky with its place names: Lima = LIE-ma; Rio Grande = RYE-o Grand; Bellefontaine = Bell Fountain; etc.
    • Nevada: If you live either there or in California, chances are you say "neh-VA-duh" with the vowel in the middle syllable pronounced like the vowel in "flat." If you don't live in either state, you probably say "neh-VAH-duh" with the "a" pronounced like the "o" in "bother."
      • It's a bit of a Berserk Button for them, actually. Michelle Obama pronounced it wrong at a rally for her husband, back when he was running for president. She was lucky to correct herself in time.
        • Again, Ohio, and Iowa as well, are backward on this. Their little towns of the same name are pronounced "Ne-VAY-da".
    • The city in central Massachusetts is WUSS-tuh, not “Worcester.”
    • It's illegal in Arkansas to pronounce the final "s".
      • Speaking of which, the pronunciation of "Arkansas" is an easy way to tell if a speaker's from the state itself or Kansas. Arkansans say "AR-kan-saw", and Kansans use the "Ar" as a prefix, something like "ar-KAN-sas".
    • Downtown Manhattan has Houston (HOW-sten) Street. It is not pronounced the same as the city of Houston (HYOO-stin), Texas.
    • Several small towns in the Midwest United States are named for more famous world cities and pronounced differently, such as Cairo, Illinois and Cairo, Ohio (both pronounced "CARE-oh") and Milan, Indiana, Milan, Illinois, and Milan, Ohio (all pronounced "MY-lun").
      • In Iowa, you'll find both Madrid (MAD-rid) and Nevada (ne-VAY-da).
      • In New Mexico, there's a small artsy town between Albuquerque and Santa Fe pronounced "MAH-drid".
    • Sorta subverted in Louisiana where half the places and surnames actually are French.
      • And on the subject of New Orleans, it's only Nawlins if you can say it Yat otherwise it's NEW-or-lins (pronounced as one word), not New-or-leans
        • It's impossible to phoneticize as one word, but it's an unaccented 'nuh oe linz' with the vowels schwa'd together. But then you have street names with spellings in familiar English that locals will insist on pronouncing "Bur-GUN-dee".
    • Burnet, TX is pronounced so that the mnemonic "It's Burnet; Durn it! Learn it!" rhymes.
    • Also in Texas, Montague County is pronounced "Mon-TAYG," instead of the European "MON-Tuh-Gyu."
    • Trevor, WI is pronounced "TREE-ver," not like the name Trevor. Folks from the southern half of Milwaukee County frequently leave the L out of Milwaukee (ma-WAWK-ee). Many French city names in Wisconsin are deliberately mispronounced. If you, for example, pronounce "Prairie du Chien" (means "Dog's Prairie", after the local Indian chief) in the proper French as "Pra-RIE du Shee-ohn," you'll be corrected to "Prarie du Sheen." Likewise, Fond du Lac (literally, "bottom of the lake" - it's at the southern tip of Lake Winnebago) is "Fondle-ack." Oddly, other places like Lac du Flambeaux ("Lake of Torches") and Eau Claire ("Clear Water") are pronounced as they would be in French. With Indian names in the upper Midwest, good luck. We'll be sure to make fun of you for mispronouncing "Oconomowoc." BTW, "Racine" is either "ray-SEEN" or "ra-SEEN," about 50-50 each way. Don't let the locals snow you.
      • Yet another Wisconsin hint: It's "New BER-lin," not "New Ber-LIN." Even though it's named after the city in Germany, the pronunciation has shifted for some odd reason. And the second "A" is silent in "Shawano." (it's NOT "sha-WA-no!" - it properly has only two syllables ("SHAW-no"), not three!)
    • People of Prescott, Arizona (and probably by extension, Prescott valley) say the town's name is pronounced PRES-skit, not PRES-cott.
    • Tooele, Utah. It may take visitors a while to realize it is the town referred to when people said, "tuh-WOOL-uh."
    • Pierre the capitol of South Dakota is pronounced PEER Not PEA-AIR.
    • A major road in Houston, TX is Kuykendahl. Pronounced KIRK-en-doll.
    • Head north from Houston towards Dallas, head west when you're a couple hours away, and you'll come to Mexia. Pronounced "Muh-HEY-uh"
    • The city of Beaufort, South Carolina is pronounced "Buew-fert", while Beaufort, North Carolina is pronounced "Bow-fert". NC also has the town of Bahama (Ba-HAY-ma).
    • Missourians are slightly divided on this issue. Most of us pronounce it "Missour-EE", but a small number of people, primarily from the souther part of the state, pronounce it "Missour-AH".
    • The town of Florida, Colorado pronounces its name the Spanish way: fla - REE - da.
    • The Couch in Couch St. in Portland, OR is pronounced "Cooch," not "Couch."
    • The correct pronunciation of the state is OR-uh-gun, OR-uh-gin, OR-ih-gun, or Or-ih-gin (not Orry-gone, Orry-gun, Or-gone, or Or-ray-gone).
    • In something of an inversion: North Versailles, Pennsylvania was intended to be named for the French palace. Take a wild guess at how the natives pronounce it.
    • The Rainier in Mt. Rainier is pronounced "Rai-NEER," not "Rai-ni-er."
    • The Aloha in Aloha, OR is pronounced "A-LO-wah," not "A-LO-ha."
    • Boise, Idaho. Newscasters call it Boy-ZEE, but its Boy-SEE, to the irritation of its residents and repeated corrections.
    • Spokane, Washington. It is not spo-KAYN (as in cane), it is spo-KAN (as in can you do the can-can). The musical Love Life got this wrong.
    • Schuylerville, New York is pronounced (SKY-ler-ville) while the Schuylkill River in Pennsylvania is pronounced (SKOO-kull).
    • In Vermont, Charlotte is pronounced "shar-lot" and Calais rhymes with palace, instead of the French pronounciation Cal-lay.
    • In Rhode Island "Coventry" is "Cawventry" instead of "Cuhventry"
    • Yarmouth, Falmouth, and many other old fishing villages in New England are properly pronounces YAR-mit, FAL-mit, and so on.
    • "Duquesne" is pronounced "Du-KANE". But in "North Versailles", it's "ver-SALES", not "ver-SIGH". Because why should Western Pennsylvania be consistent?
    • People from Illinois will jump down your throat if you make the mistake of pronouncing the "S".
    • In an instance that takes this trope Up to Eleven, the old Southern name "Enroughty" is pronounced "Darby." No, seriously. A newspaper clipping from The Nation in 1887 offers a more detailed explanation:

    It is related that the first Enroughty who settled in Henrico County became so incensed and resentful at the mispronunciation of his surname--some calling it Enr-itjfty, others Enrooty, and others again Enrowty—that he insisted, whenever spoken to, that he should be called "Darby." ... The family has ever been tenacious of the name of Enroughty and equally tenacious of the name of "Darby," and if a stranger should happen to call any of them by any name other than that last given, he would immediately be requested to say "Darby." In all writings, bank accounts, and poll-books—indeed, wherever it is necessary to write the true name—it is spelled Enroughty, but invariably pronounced "Darby." We read, in official reports of the operations of Grant's and Lee's armies below Richmond, of "the battle of Darbytown," but, in truth, the locality was Enroughtytown.

    • The Virginia cities Portsmouth, Norfolk, and Suffolk get this too.
      • Portsmouth: Port-smith or Port-smuhth, but not Ports-mouth
      • Norfolk: Nor-fick or Nor-fuhk, but not Nor-fohlk
      • Suffolk: Suf-fick or Suf-fuhk, but not Suf-fohlk
      • Another strange variation: Norfolk, Nebraska is frequently pronounced NOR-fork

    Real Life - OthER

    • "Tahr-ZHAY" (Target), normally as a humorous jab at the store.
      • Some people think that the company is French, despite Target being headquartered in Minneapolis.
      • People who shop at Tahr-ZHAY also tend to shop at Jacques Penne (J.C. Penney).
        • aka "Jean Claude Penn-YAY". There was also a smaller mass merchandiser in the Upper Midwest called "Venture", aka "Ven-TUR-a"
    • Orion America Inc. used to have a factory in Princeton, IN, USA, which manufactured cathode-ray tubes for televisions. The most common way for locals to pronounce the name was "or-ree-on", despite the word actually being pronounced "oh-ryan".
      • Same thing with Lake Orion and Orion Township, MI.
      • And Farm Report host Orion Samuelson.
      • Evidently, it is pronounced that way in the 23rd century as well, demonstrated by the "Star Trek" animated episode "The Pirates of Orion," when all the Starfleet personnel pronounce it "or-ree-on," despite the long history of pronouncing it correctly in the live-action series.
      • There's a Okinawan brand of beer called Orion Beer. However, it's pronounced similarly (oh-ree-on). You might get weird looks from the locals if you pronounce it oh-rye-on.
    • People who don't like Kwanzaa or don't feel it's a real holiday will often pronounce it as "Kwan-zaa," rhyming with "can."
    • Stereotypically, people who went to Ivy League schools say "RAHW-thuh" or "RAHW-thur."
      • Amusingly, this is pretty much the only word on which George W. Bush does not appear to have a Texas accent. Hooray for Yale?
    • Cornell University is universally pronounced "cor-NELL" now, but Ezra Cornell, its founder, pronounced it "Corn'l."
    • "Karaoke" (kah-rah-O-keh) is perhaps the most mispronounced word of all time.
    • "Ouija" is pronounced just as it looks like, yet many still refer to them as "Wee-gee" boards.
    • Americans (and possibly more of the Western world?) tend to pronounce sake, the Japanese rice wine, as "sah-kee" (as if it's spelled "saki"). However, the actual pronunciation is more like "sah-kay".
      • Or even "sah-KEH".
    • The word "meme" mentioned above is typically pronounced "meem"—which makes sense given its purpose (to transmit ideas and belief information, as genes transmit biological information).
    • Studio Ghibli's name is pronounced with a soft G, which is as it would not be in Italian.
    • The Navy: it's not Boatswain, it's Bosun. It's not Forecastle, it's Fo'c'sle.
    • This one's probably too far gone for rescue, but pronouncing "forte" as "for-tay" is straight affectation. Until the mid-20th century it was pronounced the same way in English as it is in French (where the "e" is silent).
      • Possibly borrowed from musical terminology (i.e. Italian), in which "forte" is, in fact, pronounced "FOR-tay."
      • It may also be a side effect of "fort" already being a word in English, forcing "forte" to adopt a different unambiguous pronunciation.
    • There are a surprisingly large number of people from Englsnd's East Midlands who are blessed with the name Shitehead. According to one member of thre clan, the approved pronunciation is SHEETH - ead
    1. Just like Mickey Mouse is pronounced "Mee-kay"
    2. pronounced Fee-bee Boo-FAY; ironically, not once did her name get mispronounced
    3. For the curious, the Polish pronunciation is (approximately) "kzhy-zev-ski".