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Old 6th September 2016, 07:05   #1
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Lightbulb Automotive brand names - Are we mispronouncing them?

Automotive brand names - Are we mispronouncing them?-emblems.jpeg

I came across a video (attached below) from carwow yesterday and it was amusing to hear how some brand names are pronounced in their home countries. So, I went about searching and the following is what I found. The correct pronunciation is in italics.


Alfa Romeo: If you're talking about cars and not the play by William Shakespeare, draw out the second syllable of Romeo - alfa ro-ME-yo, with me pronounced as in "mezzanine."


Audi: It's aw-dee, not 'o-dee'. Say it like it hurts: aw-dee.


BMW: Too easy in English, so let's do it the German way: bey-em-vey. Which of course stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke, pronounced bayerishuh motoren verke. The 'w' becomes a 'v'. That means the BMW Welt isn't a roundel-shaped scar, mind you.

This was the big one for me from the video, which effectively kick started the thread. I have never heard anyone say like this ever and even the logo has a W instead of a V in it.


Buick: Dating back to 1899, GM's luxury brand is also the oldest among all active American makes. And yet a lot of folks still can't properly say byoo-wik. Stretch both syllables and soften the 'i' in the second. It's the 'i' in "lavish," not the 'y' in "costly," even though Buicks are both.


Chevrolet: Again, for another GM marque that's been around over a hundred years, you'd think there's no way people could still get Chevrolet wrong. Here's hoping that over the next century of its existence, shev-ro-ley gets the faultless enunciation it deserves.


Citroen: What's making folks falter is that Citroen is French--so there must be some letters that don't sound the way they usually do or aren't said entirely. But as far as French words go, this one's actually simple: SEET-tro-en. You can make the 'r' nasal, if you wish. Native English speakers do away with it, and also say the first syllable as "sit." That's fine, too.


Hyundai: Hyoon-dey, we usually call it. Hon-dey, the Americans prefer to say. Well, talktomeinkorean on YouTube sort of gives the 'h' a millisecond life of its own: hh-yonn-de. The version you should use depends on where you are.


Koenigsegg: And here's the big mouthful. We suppose the Swedish language has facets only native speakers can truly navigate. Elsewhere in the world, the accepted pronunciation is kou-nig-zegg. The 'ou' is midway between an 'o' and a 'u,' while the 'z' is midway between an 's' and a 'z'. And the 'gg'? Its utterance here is aggrandized. Just gggo for it.


Lancia: No, as we've mentioned earlier, it's not lan-see-ya. Next time, say lan-cha as in "Mancha," where a certain quixotic don hails from. (For the record, the Italian carmaker has 16 WRC cups--10 manufacturers' titles and six drivers' trophies.) Again!


Mercedes-Benz: Mer-SAY-deez, Americans keep saying, and so it became the mainstream delivery of the name. In case you want to be a stickler about it, however, stiffen up your 'r' a bit and say mur-SEE-dus bents, the 'u' in both cases like the one in "dust." If that's too hard, there's always the Filipino fallback: Chedeng lang 'yan.


Peugeot: Those French intricacies we were talking about in SEET-tro-en do come in play here. Take away both 'e's and the 't', for a start. That leaves you with three letters, the most troublesome of which is the 'g'. It's essentially a jsh sound rather than an outright j as in jet. So, poo-jsho. Yes, that's it. Poo-jsho. Very good.


Plymouth: Not the first syllable of "plywood" crossed with mouth. Not even close. Not that you'll have many chances of saying the name - the brand's been defunct since 2001. But for the record, you say pli-muth. It's an abrupt intonation, the 'u' in the second syllable uttered like the one in, well, "utter." As for the first syllable's vowel, it sounds like the 'i' in "listen."


Porsche: Instead of stopping at porsh, go right for the overrun: porsha. You can even let it rip on the 'r' instead of rolling the consonant. And for the record, the brand's iconic sports coupe is the nine-eleven or the noyn-elf in German, never the nine-one-one.


Renault: Let's eliminate the unneeded letters again--the last two in this case. Now, the marriage of 'a' and 'u' here is not the painful combination in aw-dee. Say it as in "automobile." Put all remaining letters together, and you have re-no. Easy, no?


Subaru: The stress is on the first syllable - SOO-ba-roo instead of soo-BAA-roo. It's a Japanese carmaker famous for boxer engines, Symmetrical AWD, and the im-pret-sa model, the go-fastest variant of which is the STI.


Volkswagen: We said earlier that Germans turn their 'w's into 'v's. Well, their 'v's also become 'f's. What the eff, right? So the biggest German carmaker is folks-va-gun, with that last syllable a clipped enunciation of "gun" (as in pistol). If you're keen to get a job with the new local distributor, get the name right: folks-va-gun.


And now the video which started this thread.



Source, Source
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Old 6th September 2016, 07:47   #2
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Pronunciation to Buick, Lancia and BMW were really eye openers.
I got the rest almost right thanks to the myriad automotive channels I follow on the web. BTW, I've been ridiculed for calling an O-dee as an Aww-dee.
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Old 6th September 2016, 08:29   #3
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Default re: Automotive brand names - Are we mispronouncing them?

I was surprised that we pronounce Ssangyong and Hyundai pretty much like the Koreans do! The others were not such a surprise. Nice thread!
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Old 6th September 2016, 09:07   #4
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Default re: Automotive brand names - Are we mispronouncing them?

Nice one DeetJohn

Too often we mispronounce words, taking refuge behind the fact that these are Proper Nouns and technically be pronounced any which way one chooses (more or less).

Its nice to pronounce things the way the native speakers do.

And the same goes for our India too - just for fun most Northern people say CHI-NNAAI - for Chennai.

And Kerall - for Kerala

And MUDH-RAAS for Madras

And so on.
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Old 6th September 2016, 09:42   #5
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Default re: Automotive brand names - Are we mispronouncing them?

It is not a big deal actually. If we start pronouncing Mercedes as Germans, nobody will know what we are saying. When I say Renault with the French pronunciation, nobody in my extended family understands. So I have to move back to Indian version.
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Old 6th September 2016, 09:54   #6
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Default re: Automotive brand names - Are we mispronouncing them?

I hope you also summarize the colloquial names used. In Haryana for example Audi is called chaar challe wali (cars with four rings), and so on...... Very descriptive terms! I will not even be surprised to see some terms which may be considered profane by some.
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Old 6th September 2016, 12:13   #7
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Default re: Automotive brand names - Are we mispronouncing them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by deetjohn View Post

I came across a video --SNIP--
Nice one! I am surprised Škoda isn't included in the list. It is one of the most mispronounced names in India IMO.

Škoda: Almost everybody pronounces it as Sko-da. However, the correct pronunciation is Shh-ko-da.
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Old 6th September 2016, 12:45   #8
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Default re: Automotive brand names - Are we mispronouncing them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by deetjohn View Post
Lancia: No, as we've mentioned earlier, it's not lan-see-ya. Next time, say lan-cha as in "Mancha,"
The root for it stems from the way the letter C is pronounced in Italian, it's pronounced as chee. As a result, cio becomes cho. Interestingly Ch is pronounced like K, for example chi (meaning who) is pronounced as ki

Quote:
Alfa Romeo: If you're talking about cars and not the play by William Shakespeare, draw out the second syllable of Romeo - alfa ro-ME-yo, with me pronounced as in "mezzanine."
Even the me used in context meaning myself is pronounced the same way

Quote:
Originally Posted by Added_flavor View Post
Škoda: Almost everybody pronounces it as Sko-da. However, the correct pronunciation is Shh-ko-da.
The Sh pronounciation is more subtle, its not easily recognizable unless you hear closely
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Old 6th September 2016, 13:03   #9
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Default re: Automotive brand names - Are we mispronouncing them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
It is not a big deal actually.
Yup! many of my friends from TN/AP when they say Audi, it sounds like AaaDii and Mercedes is generally pronounced as mmurrrk (Merc)
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Old 6th September 2016, 15:18   #10
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Default Re: Automotive brand names - Are we mispronouncing them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by deetjohn View Post
Porsche: Instead of stopping at porsh, go right for the overrun: porsha. You can even let it rip on the 'r' instead of rolling the consonant.
I have to sheepishly admit I've never been consistent with Porsche. Sometimes, it's just Porsche (like paush), other times Porsha. Here's the bestest video on it ever:



Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
If we start pronouncing Mercedes as Germans, nobody will know what we are saying.
And we're in India! Even those who do, they'll correct you right away .
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Old 6th September 2016, 15:41   #11
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Default Re: Automotive brand names - Are we mispronouncing them?

I really don't know what the big deal is, pronunciations of the same word differs all over the world.

One Example is Nissan:

Nissan Motor Company usually shortened to Nissan (/ˈniːsɑːn/ or UK /ˈnɪsćn/; Japanese: [nisːaɴ]),

Google Nissan Commercials on Youtube from different countries and differnt years and you will see Nissan being pronounced in different ways.

If the company itself doesn't have one fixed global pronunciation, why expect a customer to have one?

Last edited by Foxbat : 6th September 2016 at 15:43.
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Old 6th September 2016, 15:55   #12
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Default Re: Automotive brand names - Are we mispronouncing them?

Nice thread Deetjohn. A few minor corrections, if I may:

Audi is pronounced ow-dee (or, ah oo dee), not aw-dee.

Citrôen - The "see" part is correct, the "t" is pronounced softly, like "th", and the "oe" is the hardest for non-europeans to say. Imagine saying "eh" but with your lips formed like you're saying "o". So, it kind of ends up like "seethrowen" approximately. You do not say the o and the e part separately.

Mercedes - most of the Germans I have interacted with for some reason say it as "maertsaydis" with a distinct 't' sound (like in pizza). I am not sure if that's right or wrong.

Peugeot - again, as with Citrôen, after the "p" you say an elongated "eh" (like in the word "say") but purse your lips like you're saying "o". You're spot on with the "jsho". Ultimately when spoken fast, it will sound almost as though you're saying "payzsho".

Subaru - almost correct. the nuanced pronunciation would be "sooobroo".

Volkswagen - ah, here it comes First the VW itself: like BMW, it's pronounced "fow-vay". "Fow" is how V is actually pronounced in the German alphabet, and "vay" as you already pointed out, is W. Next comes the full word. You got it almost right except for one tiny bit - in German, you pronounce every letter that the word has. Meaning, you do pronounce the "L" in "folks". Also, in "folks" do not elongate the "o" - it's not "foalks", it's almost like "fulks". And as for the ending, instead of saying "gun" say just the "gn", as in Ajay Devgn.

Nice thread.

Cheers

Last edited by tilt : 6th September 2016 at 15:59.
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Old 6th September 2016, 16:04   #13
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Default Re: Automotive brand names - Are we mispronouncing them?

Wouldn't it be fun to find out how MARUTI, MAHINDRA, HINDUSTAN, EICHER or SONALIKA is pronounced by non-Indians.
More fun will be to find out how many know of us the full form of TVS.

Regards-Sonu
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Old 6th September 2016, 16:06   #14
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Default Re: Automotive brand names - Are we mispronouncing them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by deetjohn View Post
Renault: Let's eliminate the unneeded letters again--the last two in this case. Now, the marriage of 'a' and 'u' here is not the painful combination in aw-dee. Say it as in "automobile." Put all remaining letters together, and you have re-no. Easy, no?
I think the "en" in Renault should be pronounced as you would pronounce "en" in "entrée", for example.
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Old 6th September 2016, 17:16   #15
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Default Re: Automotive brand names - Are we mispronouncing them?

Quote:
Peugeot: Those French intricacies we were talking about in SEET-tro-en do come in play here. Take away both 'e's and the 't', for a start. That leaves you with three letters, the most troublesome of which is the 'g'. It's essentially a jsh sound rather than an outright j as in jet. So, poo-jsho. Yes, that's it. Poo-jsho. Very good.
Take a look at this pronunciation
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