Babbel Logo

Professional Captioners Reveal The Mispronounced Words Of 2018

From “Jamal Khashoggi” to “specific,” here are the words and names people struggled to pronounce correctly this year in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.
Author's Avatar
Professional Captioners Reveal The Mispronounced Words Of 2018

It’s been a wild ride, but 2018 is finally coming to a close. This year, we struggled to pronounce the names of celebrities and politicians, the language spoken in Black Panther, the scientific name for the human consumption of insects and much, much more. From the mundane to the highly specific (and even the word “specific” itself), these words and names brought the news, pop culture and trends of 2018 to life, allowing us to chat about them with our friends and family. But first, we had to learn how to pronounce them.

We teamed up with the U.S. Captioning Company, the British Institute of Verbatim Reporters, and National Captioning Canada to identify the prominent words and names that commonly proved challenging for newscasters and TV hosts to pronounce correctly in 2018. Let’s get to the list!

Top Mispronounced Words In The United States

Provided by the U.S. Captioning Company.

Beto O’Rourke (BEH-toe oh-RORK)
A Democratic politician who ran in the U.S. Senate race in Texas, between March and November.

Brett Kavanaugh (BRETT KAV-a-naw)
An Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, who assumed the office in October, following intense media scrutiny over sexual harassment allegations.

Daniel Kaluuya (DAN-yull ka-LOO-yuh)
A British actor who was nominated for an Oscar this year for his role in Get Out.

Entomophagy (en-to-MOF-o-jee)
The consumption of insects, promoted as a lifestyle trend by celebrities including Nicole Kidman and Kanye West.

Freekeh (FREE-kah)
Cereal, originally from the Middle East, which became a major health-food trend in 2018.

Halapoulivaati Vaitai (ha-la-poo-lee-VAH-tee VIE-tie)
Offensive tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles, who was part of the 2018 Super Bowl-winning team in February.

Jamal Khashoggi (ja-MALL ka-SHOW-gi)
A Saudi Arabian journalist who was assassinated in October.

Mukbang (MUCK-bahng)
An online audiovisual broadcast originating in South Korea, in which a host eats large amounts of foods while interacting with the audience.

Saoirse Ronan (SIR-shuh ROE-nin)
An Irish-American actress nominated for an Oscar in February for her performance in Lady Bird.

Xhosa (click O-sa)
An official language of South Africa and Zimbabwe, which was used in the movie Black Panther as the language of the fictional country of Wakanda.

Top Mispronounced Words In The United Kingdom

Provided by the members of the British Institute of Verbatim Reporters.

Coorie (COO-ri)
An Old Scots word which has became a lifestyle trend in 2018, encapsulating coziness and warmth.

Geraint Thomas (ger-AINT TOM-ass)
A Welsh cyclist who won the 2018 Tour De France in July.

Huawei (WA-way)
A Chinese consumer-electronics company, whose chief financial officer was arrested in December.

Jamal Khashoggi (ja-MALL ka-SHOG-gi)
A Saudi Arabian journalist who was assassinated in October.

Nizhny Novgorod (nits-NEE nov-go-ROD)
A Russian city in which the England national football team beat Panama 6-1 in the Russia 2018 World Cup.

Papoose (pa-POOSE)
A bag or sling used to carry a child. Actor Daniel Craig was photographed wearing one in October.

Princess Eugenie (PRIN-cess you-JAY-nee)
A member of the British Royal Family who married Jack Brooksbank in October.

Saoirse Ronan (SIR-shuh ROW-nun)
An Irish-American actress nominated for an Oscar in February for her performance in Lady Bird.

Specific (spe-SI-fik)
Something that is clearly defined or identified, often mispronounced as ‘pacific.’

Ypres (EE-pru)
A Belgian city, which has been a focal point of First World War centenary commemorations this year.

Top Mispronounced Words In Canada

Provided by members of National Captioning Canada.

Steven Mnuchin (STEE-vun muh-NOO-chin)
The United States Secretary of the Treasury.

USMCA (you-ess-EM-see-EY)
The acronym of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which is set to replace ‘NAFTA,’ but lacks a similarly convenient pronunciation.

Entomophagy (en-to-MOF-o-jee)
The consumption of insects, promoted as a lifestyle trend by celebrities including Nicole Kidman and Kanye West.

Felix Auger-Aliassime (fay-LIX ow-ZHAY alia-SIM)
A Canadian tennis player who has won four ATP Challenger titles to-date.

Huawei (WA-way)
A Chinese consumer-electronics company, whose chief financial officer was arrested in Canada in December.

Jamal Khashoggi (ja-MALL ka-SHOW-gi)
A Saudi Arabian journalist who was assassinated in October.

Mi’kmaq (meeg-mah)
An indigenous community that was among Canada’s original inhabitants.

Nunavut (NOO-nah-voot)
A territory in northern Canada that contains the country’s northernmost lands.

PyeongChang (piong-CHAng)
A South Korean county that played host to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in February.

Saoirse Ronan (SIR-shuh ROW-nun)
An Irish-American actress nominated for an Oscar in February for her performance in Lady Bird.

Learn how to pronounce words in a new language.
Get Started With Babbel
Pick a language to speak