Ask the Critic: What Are Your Pronunciation Pet Peeves?

Just got this question: "Does it irk you when people mispronounce food items? Or, what food items do you still have trouble pronouncing?"

Sure, it irks me a tiny bit, when I'm at a nice restaurant and the person botching the pronunciation is my waiter. But if it's coming from a friend, I really don't care.

One word that always sticks out is bruschetta. Do you say it with a soft "sh" sound, or a hard "k" sound? I prefer the latter, although one time I actually looked it up and either pronunciation is acceptable.

I still don't understand how people pronounce mascarpone as if it's spelled marscapone. To hear it is like listening to a typo.

One dear friend of mine says lovacore instead of locavore. She's said it too many times to count, and now it seems like an endering quirk -- sort of a combination of "love" and "hardcore."

You already know about my unfair advantage with pronouncing Japanese words. Mispronunciations abound, but the one that bugs me is for sake. It's not sah-kee, it's sah-keh. I think this annoys me because I associate it with "sah-kee bombers" and the people who pound them.

A funny sidenote: I have intentionally mispronounced things at Japanese restaurants just so I don't get too much attention.

And to answer that second question, hmm. I try really hard to get pronunciations right because I'm just a geek with a love for different cultures. It's fun to order the dish in a foreign language. Been trying to work on my Vietnamese inflection for when I order bun cha gio thit nuong . . . but practice makes perfect.

It's also a good excuse to eat noodles.

Got a question for the critic? Email me at michele dot laudig at newtimes dot com

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michele Laudig
Contact: Michele Laudig