It’s one thing to mispronounce your neighbor’s name, and a whole other to actually go to a store looking for NAIK shoes only to realize not a single store assistant is taking you seriously. Or telling your friends how much you like that posh Italian fashion brand Versaakay. Or showing off your brand new Uhdeedass tracksuit.
Some people clearly won’t raise a brow and will totally get you. Others, though, will burst out laughing because, let’s face it, this is defo not how you pronounce these popular brand names. So in order to save us all from eye-rolls and unnecessary giggles, the list of the top most common faux pas and the correct way to pronounce your fave brand names is in down below.
You see, knowledge is power, and the more of it you have, the more you can go out into the world and become a brat who knows-it-all-and-doesn’t-miss-a-chance-to-correct-others: something we all secretly wanna be, but would never dare to admit.
Update: some of the pronunciations have been corrected after the post was published.
To find out more about the confusing world of pronunciations, Bored Panda spoke to Max, a professional English language teacher with over ten years of experience who runs a successful YouTube channel “English With Max.”
Max told us that when it comes to right and wrong pronunciations, there’s really no straightforward answer. “What's considered wrong in one language won't necessarily be considered wrong in another language.”
As a result, “Most foreign names have one or two common and accepted pronunciations in a different language—normally they'll resemble the original, but they won't be exactly the same.” Max gave us an example: “the way German speakers pronounce Mercedes-Benz when they're speaking German is different to how it is most commonly said in English. The anglicised version(s) isn't wrong, it's just different to how it's said in German.”
The English teacher explained that “If you try to stick too closely to how it's said in the original language when you're speaking a different language, there's a chance that people won't understand you, or you'll just sound ridiculous and pretentious.”
According to Max, the same thing applies to the names of well-known places. “Some people try to pronounce place names the way locals say them, but I think most would agree that pronouncing 'Paris' the way the French say it ('Puhree' with a rolled R in the back of the throat) would sound very strange in English (and in many other languages).”
Moreover, Max said that there are also names, especially English ones, that often don’t follow common pronunciation rules and as a result, even native speakers won’t always know how to pronounce them just by looking at them.
Among some brand names that native English speakers sometimes struggle with are Chevrolet, Renault, Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu, Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Citroën, and Hoegaarden. “These all have anglicised versions, but if they've never heard them before, an English speaker would probably have no idea how to pronounce these. Adobe (an American brand) also causes some confusion,” Max said.
She advises everyone who’s not sure how to pronounce one thing or another to look up a commercial on YouTube (in the language that you speak or are trying to learn) and see how it's said in that ad.