Learn to Speak English: Mispronounced Words-Food

Business professionals and others who speak English as a second language (ESL) know that when speaking, they are likely to be judged by strangers for speaking American English with an accent. Any advantage an ESL speaker can find as they learn to speak English will help in establishing credibility.

Pronunciation is one area that can be significantly refined. Unfortunately, there are many words in the English language that are mispronounced by both native English speakers and foreign English speakers, many times without the individual being aware of the inaccuracy. These mispronunciations have become commonplace, but our blog may be able to help some individuals make some positive changes.

Below you will find a few commonly mispronounced words picked by our clients at Accent Pros. The example is linked to dictonary.com and includes an easy to understand representation of how the word is supposed to be pronounced using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). We also provided a second explanation using a spelling pronunciation guide. If you want to hear how the word is pronounced, simply click on any of the given words and you will be redirected to dictionary.com where an audio version of the correct pronunciation is provided.


Learn to Speak English 1 Buffet

Spelling Pronunciation Guide: buf-fay

IPA Pronunciation Guide: /bʌ fe/

learn to speak EnglishExample: Third example for buffetBuffet

Definition: Buffet as in smorgasbord of food. It’s when food and drinks are laid out in a table or counter where guests or diners can serve themselves.

Why it is difficult: Often, people get confused in differentiating the word – if it’s associated with striking or hitting someone or if it’s the one associated with food. When you use “buffet” as in to describe striking someone with your fist, the “t” at the end is pronounced

[buft-it]. But when it comes to food association, the “t” is silent and the second syllable is stressed, as in /buf-FAY/ and not /BUF-fay/.


Learn to Speak English 2 Quinoa

Spelling pronunciation Guide: keen-wah, kee-noh-uh

IPA Pronunciation Guide: /ˈkin wɑ, kiˈnoʊ ə/

Example: Quinoa

Definition: Quinoa is a crop plant. The fruit and seed of the plant are often dried and ground into flour. It’s a high grain staple food in the Andes.

Why it is difficult: The difficulty and mistake are focused on the non-existent middle syllable of the word. People often pronounce the grain as [kee-no-wah].This very old word was first used in Spain between 1615 and 1625.



Learn to Speak English 3 Omelet

Spelling pronunciation Guide: om-lit, om-uh-

IPA Pronunciation Guide: /ˈɒm lɪt, ˈɒm ə-/

Definition: Beaten eggs, usually combined with other ingredients and cooked in fat.

Example: Omelet

Why it is difficult: This English word derived from the French word ‘omelette’ is usually mispronounced because of the middle “e.” In this case, it should be a silent one. So instead of saying [ohm-e-let], the word must be pronounced without the letter “e.”


Learn to Speak English 4 Cutlery

Spelling Pronunciation Guide: kuht-luh-ree

IPA Pronunciation Guide: /ˈkʌt lə ri/

Definition: Utensils, especially cutting instruments such as knives, used when eating.

Example: Cutlery

Why it is difficult: From the old French word ‘coutelerie,’ cutlery is often mispronounced as [kat-LEH-ree]. Not only is this doubly incorrect, the mispronunciation focuses on the second syllable, when in fact the correct enunciation of the word requires emphasis on the first one. learn to speak English


Learn to Speak English 5 Champagne

Spelling Pronunciation Guide: sham-peyn

IPA pronunciation Guide: /ʃæmˈpeɪn/

Definition: A sparkling, dry, white table wine.

Example: Champagne

Why it is difficult: The primary reason why people mispronounce this word regularly is due to incorrect enunciation of the first syllable. The first syllable of the word, which is originally a region in Northeast France, must be pronounced as /sham/ and not [tyam] or [cham]. learn to speak English


Accent Pros Frequently Mispronounced Words Series

This article series focuses on the most commonly mispronounced words in the English language. If you’ve reached the end of the article and are surprised to find words you thought you were pronouncing correctly, don’t worry! There are a number of words in the English language that have had their pronunciation modified throughout the years due to the influence of regional dialects, tradition, and social media to name a few contributing factors. Keeping up with the ever evolving state of the English language has never been more important. Be sure to check out posts from our popular idioms series and stand alone topics. Are you ready for a complimentary accent reduction tutorial or a free foreign accent screening? Our on-line accent reduction courses are available to students with accent reduction goals all over the world. For consistent access to posts in our commonly mispronounced word series and other accent reduction tips, please Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter.