Say it right

CAR names can be a tricky thing to pronounce. Being nouns they are subject to etymological influence. The names are not often pronounced as they are spelt. One has to be aware of the country of origin, if not to pronounce it correctly but spell it correctly too.

It is very common to mispronounce car brands. The constant mispronounciations have been heavilly reinforced today that they are now taken as the norm, so much that if one correctly pronounces a widely mispronounced name it seems odd and funny.

Others then opt to stick with the mispronouncing masses rather than correct. Here are a few mispronounced names and the correct pronounciation thereof. 

Alfa Romeo – One local artiste is actually nicknamed this. Not knowing whether he gets the name from the car brand or other inspiration but if its the former, then it is mispronounced. We often say Alfa Ro-mi-yo instead of correctly Alfa Ro-me-yo. It is an Italian name and not British as people would pronounce.

Audi – the famous Ingolstadt brand is commonly pronounced as awudi unlike the correct one of aww-dee. Kind of like an exclamation.

Buick – in this neck of the woods, is a very rare American brand. Unless someone purposefully imports it from the United States or Europe, you will not see it in any dealership. When you get the chance to see it, please correctly call it bew-wick.

Chevrolet – The American brand is quite simple to say…the t is dropped to read shev-ro-ley. It is still mispronounced despite its popularity. When in doubt, just say shevy, everyone will know what you are talking about.

Citroen – a French car brand that is quite embarrassing to say if not known correctly. Of the French cars it is rather more straight forward to say in relation to the spelling….see-tro-en.

Hyundai – the Korean giant is one that can be mispronounced usefully, if you correctly call it, most people will not know what you are talking about. Growing up, there was a white Elantra in my neighbourhood and aptly called it by its spelling.

Even the owner did not know the correct pronounciation of it. The correct one is simply hun-dey not hyoon-dai. Hyundai has a small crossover SUV called Tucson which is also widely said wrongly. Instead of saying it as spelt, should be said as too-son.

Koenigsegg – this is a Swedish Super car company that creates dreamy cars. It is very rare and expensive and pertinently reserved for the super rich. The spelling is itself a big challenge but when you get around that it is said as Kou-nig-zeg.

Lamborghini (Gallardo) – while there is little difficulty in pronouncing the Italian super car maker, there is mispronounciation of one of its popular cars the Gallardo. Again the error is in pronouncing it as it is spelt, it is however correctly called Guy-ar-do.

Lancia – has definitely seen more glorious days. It is a small company now and most people have never seen or heard of it but it ruled the racing world in the 70’s and 80’s. It is correctly said as Lan-cha and not lan-ci-ya.

Mercedes Benz – always wrongly said but one can get away with it. I have even heard Germans themselves say the common pronounciation. It should be correctly called mur-ce-dus bents.

Nissan Qashqai – oh the pronunciations I have heard of this best seller!!! The name adds to the aura of a great car and they pretty much match. It is said as kash-kai. You are very likely to see this one prowling our streets.

Peugeot – yet another French car with a not-straight forward name. It is worth noting however that this was a very popular brand in Zambia a few decades ago and thus most people correctly call it Poo-jho instead of Pi-geot as the spelling would suggest.

Porsche – the luxury German sports car maker should be said as por-sha and not porsh; you will not be forgiven for this!!!!

Renault-a popular French automaker with great formula one experience. Admittedly this name is being correctly used nowadays, maybe due to marketing or sports, most people have caught-on to the correct pronunciation of re-no. For those that haven’t caught on, you are welcome!!

Subaru – Cars famous for their all-wheel-drive, boxer engine, distinctive rumble and rich racing pedigree. A personal favourite brand and always called Soo-Baah-Roo; the correct being Soo-Ba-Roo. The ba does not drag.

Volkswagen – one of the biggest auto makers in the world and needless to say, German. It is thus said as folks-va-gun. The V is read as F and the W as V. quite a handful!!

Go ahead correct that someone who wrongly pronounces some car name. However, we are heavily accented and pronouncing some names is a tricky affair. Stick to your accent, it is no crime!! But correctly pronounciation will make you look like an expert.

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