“Cheugy”, “omicron” among the most badly pronounced words in 2021
“Cheugy” is apparently a lot to chew on. Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Billie Eilish and Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce have something in common: Broadcasters spell out their names.
And almost everyone has problems with “omicron”.
All four were on this year’s worst-pronounced list, compiled by the US Captioning Company, which captions and captions real-time events on television and in courtrooms.
The list released on Tuesday identifies the words that have proven to be the most difficult for news readers and people on television to pronounce this year.
The closed captioning company said it polled its members to generate the list, which is now in its sixth year and was commissioned by Babbel, a language learning platform headquartered in Berlin and New York.
“News presenters in the United States have struggled with the new words and names of 2021 while reporting on key sporting events, viral internet trends and emerging celebrities,” said Esteban Touma, comedian and teacher for Babbel Live.
“As a language teacher, it’s always interesting that some of these terms are usually new colloquialisms, or are rooted or borrowed from another language,” he said. “As a non-native speaker, I have to admit it’s fun to see English speakers stumble a bit for a change.”
Here’s how Touma breaks down the correct pronunciations for the most commonly mispronounced words:
– Cheugy (CHOO-gee): A buzzword popularized by Gen Z and used to poke fun at an outdated, old-fashioned aesthetic typically associated with Gen Y, like “Live, Laugh, Love” signs.
– Chipotle (chih-POHT-lay): The American fast food chain has become the center of a viral trend this year that challenges baby boomers to pronounce the name.
– Dalgona (tal-goh-NAH): a Korean treat made from melted sugar and baking soda, popularized in Netflix’s “Squid Game”. (Touma notes that some speakers seem to produce a “K” instead of the “G” in the middle syllable.)
– Dogecoin (DOHJ-coin): A divisive cryptocurrency that started out somewhat ironically before being popularized by Elon Musk, significantly increasing its value.
– Eilish (EYE-lish): Singer Billie Eilish, whose album “Happier Than Ever” was released this year, critically acclaimed and nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards.
– Ethereum (ih-THEE-ree-um): Another cryptocurrency that has skyrocketed in value this year amid the decentralized currency boom.
– Ever Given (EV-er GIV-en): The name of the vessel that blocked the Suez Canal in March, which cost billions of dollars in business losses. Many presenters confused the ship’s name with “Evergreen”, the name of the company that owns the ship, which was imprinted on its hull.
– Glasgow (GLAHZ-go): The host city of November United Nations Climate Conference was mispronounced by President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama.
– Kelce (KEL): Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce revealed on the radio this year that his teammates and the media have mispronounced his name for years.
– Omicron (AH-muh-kraan / OH-mee-kraan): A new variant of COVID-19 first identified in November, named according to the identification system of variants with Greek letters of the World Health Organization. (Touma notes that it is pronounced differently in the US and UK)
– Shein (SHEE-in): The Chinese fast fashion company at the center of the “Shein haul” trend, in which attendees register trying on many different outfits from the company.
– Stefanos Tsitsipas (STEH-fuh-nohs TSEE-tsee-pas): currently ranked 4th tennis player in the world, the The Greek athlete has gained international notoriety when he lost to Novak Djokovic in the Roland-Garros final in June.
– Yassify (YEAH-sih-fai): a popular trend in which several beauty filters are applied to well-known pictures or portraits for a comedic effect.