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Test Your Knowledge: 7 Country Names You May Be Mispronouncing
There are many reasons we may be unintentionally mispronouncing a foreign country’s name. Some of us have adopted a mispronunciation we heard from a friend or family member. We may have been misinformed through the media. Or, we may simply have never heard it properly said before and just gave it our best effort.
Though there are various differences in the letter sounds of foreign languages that inevitably trip us up, natives always appreciate visitors having taken the time to learn the correct pronunciation of their homeland’s name. It’s a great way to display respect, and it shows that you’ve done some research to learn about the nation prior to your trip.
Here are seven country names you may be mispronouncing.
1. Antigua and Barbuda
The letter ‘u’ provides all types of confusion in the pronunciation of this Caribbean nation. The country is named for its two main islands, which are pronounced by natives as “an-TEE-ga” and “barb-YOU-da.”
So, when speaking of the country, remember that the ‘u’ in Antigua is silent, while the ‘u’ in Barbuda is pronounced just like the letter name rather than as the “oo” sound.
When looking at the name of this Polynesian island nation, it would appear to be pretty simple to say. However, rather than the “sa-MO-a” often used by native English speakers, it is actually pronounced “SAH-mo-ah.”
An ideal country for a romantic and relaxing getaway, the islands of the Maldives top many a bucket list. You may be tempted to pronounce its name just as it appears: “mal-DIVES.” But, to say it like a local, you should pronounce it “MOHL-deevs.”
You’ve probably often heard the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar pronounced as “ka-TAR,” however, this is incorrect. To correctly pronounce this country’s name, say “kut-tur,” with emphasis on the T.
Considering the pronunciation of neighboring Nigeria, one may assume Niger is pronounced simply “nigh-jer.” With the country having French as its official language, however, its name has a francophone pronunciation: “nee-ZHER.”
When reading the country name Iran, many people naturally want to say “eye-ran.” However, it is actually pronounced “ee-ron.” Likewise, neighboring Iraq is pronounced “ee-rock” rather than “eye-rack.”
Many people are unsure exactly how the name of this East African country is said. When you discover that the D is silent, it becomes so much easier. The correct pronunciation is “jee-boo-tee.”