For the seventh year in a row, Babbel worked with professional captioning organizations to compile a list of words that were consistently mispronounced on TV this past year, both in the United Kingdom and the United States. From newscasters to politicians, public figures went viral for mispronouncing words like “Zaporizhzhia” or “Djokovic,” which, to be fair, are easily bungled by even the most well-read English speakers.
Compiled by the British Institute of Verbatim Reporters and The Captioning Group, these lists summarize the topics, personalities and even TikTok sounds that defined 2022. Language expert Ted Mentele provided phonetic pronunciations and notes for this year’s words.
The Most Mispronounced Words Of 2022 (United Kingdom)
Cyclone Batsirai [BAT-sir-eye]
A cyclone that caused major damage in Madagascar in February.
This adjective for the new reign of King Charles III was featured on the Collins English Dictionary shortlist for Word of the Year.
U.S. actor Steve Carrell struggled to pronounce this TV channel name while reading a bedtime story to viewers.
Erling Haaland [err-LING HO-land]
Playing for Premier League club Manchester City, rising football star Erling Haaland has a last name that is often confused with Halland, a county in Sweden.
Jeremy Hunt [JEH-ruh-mee huhnt]
A newsreader accidentally referred to the now-British Chancellor by the swear word that rhymes with his last name on a live Sky News broadcast.
Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha’apai [HUNG-ah TONG-ah HUNG-ah ha-AH-pie]
A volcano that erupted in January, causing tsunamis across the Pacific Ocean and devastating parts of Tonga. The plume of the eruption was declared the tallest on record, reaching six times the height of Mount Everest.
Rishi Sunak [REE-shee SOO-nahk]
After current British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s victory in the Conservative leadership race in October, U.S. President Joe Biden mispronounced Sunak’s name in his congratulatory speech, calling him “Rasheed Sanook.”
Sarina Wiegman [sa-REE-nah VEEK-mahn]
The Dutch manager of England’s women’s national football team, Lionesses, who celebrated their Euros win in 2022.
Liz Truss, former Foreign Secretary, was criticized for mispronouncing Taoiseach, the name for the head of the Irish government, as “tea sock.”
Volodymyr Zelenskyy [voh-LOH-deemeer zeh-LEHN-skee]
The president of Ukraine.
The Most Mispronounced Words Of 2022 (United States)
In October, Adele revealed that fans, especially in the United States, often mispronounce her name, and she prefers how it sounds in an East London accent.
Chicxulub [CHICK-choo-loob (Mex.) / CHICK-zoo-loob (Eng.)]
In October, researchers revealed the full extent of the Chicxulub (the meteorite that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs) impact. The meteorite, which landed in what is now the Gulf of Mexico, caused a giant tsunami that covered most of the globe within 24 hours.
Domhnall Gleeson [DOH-null GLEE-sun]
This actor and star of serial killer drama The Patient called out Late Show host Stephen Colbert for mispronouncing his name.
American news anchors came under fire for mispronouncing the Scottish capital during coverage of the Queen’s funeral in September. A U.S. tourist being corrected on the pronunciation went viral in August.
Negroni sbagliato [ne-GRO-nee spah-lee-AH-toh]
HBO Max shared an interview of House of the Dragon stars discussing their favorite drinks. The clip instantly went viral, receiving over 14 million views on TikTok and creating a new viral sound, “negroni sbagliato with prosecco in it.”
Novak Djokovic [NO-vak JO-kuh-vich]
In January, the tennis star was deported from Australia and unable to compete in the Australian Open after failing to comply with COVID regulations.
In March, Major League Baseball announced a new rule named after 2021 MVP Shohei Ohtani. The rule allows a starting pitcher who hits for himself to remain in a game as the designated hitter, even if he is pulled for a relief pitcher.
Rishi Sunak [REE-shee SOO-nahk]
After British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s October victory in the Conservative leadership race, President Joe Biden mispronounced the PM’s name in his congratulatory speech, calling him “Rasheed Sanook.”
Tuanigamanuolepola (Tua) Tagovailoa [TOO-uh-ning-uh-mah-noo-oh-LEH-po-luh (TOO-uh) TUNG-o-vai-LOH-uh]
In September, this Miami Dolphins’ quarterback sparked fresh debate around concussion protocols in the NFL after he suffered successive head injuries in two games across a five-day period.
The name of a city and oblast (also known as a region or division), as well as the location of a nuclear power plant, in southeast Ukraine.
Curious about the lists of years’ past? Check out the most mispronounced words of 2021.