(NEXSTAR) – Not just you; almost no one knows how to pronounce “acai”.
That’s the main takeaway from a new study conducted by Unscrambled Words, which sought to identify words, terms or names that Americans often say.
It’s not just “acai,” of course. Analysts at Unscrambled Words – an online resource for players of word-based games like Scrabble or Words With Friends – have found nine other language-bending terms that Americans probably don’t know how to say, according to the average monthly Google count. search for “How to pronounce [X].”
“This data may indicate that some people may be mispronouncing words for years without realizing it,” an Unscrambled Words spokesperson stated in a press release. “However, it also shows that there is no shame in wanting to know the correct pronunciation, and thousands of people in the United States want to know it every month.”
In addition to “acai” (a species of palm tree that bears a berry of the same name, and is pronounced “ah-sah-EE” or “ah-sye-EE,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary), the top-searched pronunciations on Google include several other food-related words, such as “gyro,” “charcuterie” and “pho,” among others.
Others from the list include: “Omicron,” now the name of the main variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus; “Nguyen,” a common Vietnamese surname; and “GIF,” the word for a special type of image file format that linguists and software engineers still debate the pronunciation of.
The full top ten list is below, along with the average monthly number of Google searches for that pronunciation, according to Unscrambled Words. Each term is also hyperlinked to the pronunciation in Merriam-Webster, except where otherwise indicated.
- water – 20,400 monthly searches
- Giro – 17,660 monthly searches
- Omicron – 15,530 monthly searches
- Charcuterie – 15,140 monthly searches
- Nguyen (pronunciation via Heritage-Line) – 14,990 monthly searches
- Gnocchi – 11,350 monthly searches
- GIF – 11,230 monthly searches
- Worcestershire – 8,880 monthly searches
- Dogecoin (pronunciation via Benzinga) – 7,540 monthly searches
- Pho – 7,270 monthly searches
Meanwhile, the folks at Merriam-Webster, would like to remind us that we are fools for thinking there are only 10 words. we usually say wrong. In June and October 2022, Tome editors have released their own list of the most mispronounced words in the English language, which include whoppers like “victuals,” “awry,” “epitome” and, yes, “acai.”
“This famous berry is harvested in Brazil, but featured on menus and in recipes read by English speakers aplenty,” the editor for Merriam-Webster wrote the word that is often mispronounced. “Even if you’re not throwing it into your morning smoothie, you might want to make sure you’re saying acai correctly.”