Hooniversity- Pronunciation Edition

SchoolRoom
Things used to be simple back in the forties, toilet paper came in catalog form from Sears, everything was in black and white so it didn’t matter if your socks didn’t match, and cars had easy to pronounce names like Ford and. . . Ford. Today, it’s all different and cars come in a plethora of nameplates that require third-party manipulation of lip and tongue to pronounce- but Hooniverse is here to help.
There are a number of brands and car-related companies for which multiple pronunciations have developed. It’s not just regional dialects and accents, but mostly sloth that drives this, but that’s not to say it is uncorrectable. So let’s get started with an English brand, the owners of which get catty about how it’s pronounced.
Jaguar. While there are seemingly endless pronunciations, the brand is British and hence it should be pronounced  ja-gyu-wer – three syllables where the “g” is attached to the second and there is no hard “i” in the last. The etymology is from the Portuguese, from Tupi jawára meaning large carnivore, so that makes sense. Variations on the last syllable can be ‘ur’ or ‘ar’ as the mood strikes, but two syllables and infusing the name with the hard ‘i’ are right out.
Porsche. The German maker of sports cars has, for years, had its name mangled. As it’s not just a brand, but a family name, that’s especially egregious. While many who strive to own a Porsche for its magnetism to the opposite sex feel it’s perfectly acceptable to say PORSH, those who strive for correctness and reverence to the marque know to say Por-sha, with a soft ‘a’ at the end. Leave off that soft ‘a’ and you might as well be wearing a silk shirt open to the navel and gold chain with a razor blade on the end.
Renault. Many people are too young to even remember when this French brand was sold in the U.S.. Back then, most Americans pronounced the name RAY-NALT, or REE-NALT, when they weren’t cursing the cars for having broken down. The correct pronunciation is Ray-know as in, My ray-know wouldn’t start this morning, or Does this bumper belong to your ray-know? It fell off about a mile back. Some day the brand might once again be sold in the states, so it’s best to be prepared.
Bertone. Few realize that the legendary design house built cars, much less sold them under their own name. In the 1980s, after Fiat had abandoned the U.S. market, Bertone continued sales of the X1/9 targa under its own brand. These rebranded Fiats fooled no one, and Bertone was unable to sell enough to keep the venture alive. Aside from that, Bertone designed hundreds of iconic cars and it’s a good idea to be able to properly pronounce it if you should ever come across one at a car show or Tim Horton parking lot. Much like Porsche, Bertone has an active vowel at the end. It should be pronounced Bear-tone-ay, and not bur-tone. Again, it’s European so it has more syllables than Americans are typically used to.
So that’s enough for today, I’m sure your heads are swimming with this much knowedge! Next time we’ll warm up the kim-chee and will look at some Korean brands that can sprain a tongue.
Image sources:[fritzless.com, automobilesdeluxe.tv, Autoblog.com, CPV Performance, Cartype.com]

93 Comments

    1. oh man, totally got first on that.
      JAAAAAAAAAG. My wife and I watched that episode, and every time we see a Jag, she goes Jeremy Clarkson…. "Its a JAAAAAAAGGGGG"
      Thank you for posting this clip, Scorggz

  1. I was hoping to finally learn how to pronounce Citroen without having crepes thrown at me and mimes get in my face. Hopefully we'll cover that next semester?

    1. Ugh, I was at Ihop for lunch with co-workers (don't ask) and ordered some "Crepps". The guy next to me asked, "Isn't it cray-ps"? Mmm, no, no really, it's not.

  2. I always feel tempted to pronounce Citroen the rather appropriate citron rather than the proper see-tro-en.
    And when saying Porsche, I can never quite commit to the a sound at the end. It always feels over-accentuated, and I feel obligated to start ranting about water cooling and safe predictable handling.

    1. It's barely there, clipped, like you were getting ready to start another syllable and decided against it. "Porshuh" makes you sound like a doushuh, and "Porsh" makes you sound like a mouth-breather… it's a fine line.

  3. S'Trro-enh. It should sound like two syllables, where the second syllable is kind of a very hard "T", followed by a rolled "R" and a "woanh" type of sound to end it.

    1. Thanks! I hate it when mimes get in my face because then I want to punch them and I'm not sure if you're not supposed to punch mimes or if it's ok. Do they fall under the "Rules for Women" or the "Rules for Men"?

  4. The dealership told me it was properly pronounced almost like HSHN-die-y.
    The "SH" there doesn't really work, but we don't really have a letter for some of these sounds.

      1. I've heard "Hi-un-die" before and understood immediately why we were able to defeat the British during the Revolutionary War.
        So it's "Hunday", with a barely-there Y after the H? I can dig that.

  5. hehehe… funny on me, eh?
    couldn't figure out why i didn't have a pic up there near me name for a second there… then realized… "OOOOOOOOOHHHH YEAH…"… i'm not at *that* site anymore… (well… not worth mentioning..)

    1. Let me add a welcome too.. And, like Engineerd says, you won't find much in the way of press releases here. And, don't worry, it's still okay to read [Redacted] from time to time.

        1. If it were a German or Metäl Umlaut, sure– as in Mötorhead, Queensrÿche, or Mötley Crüe.
          But in French a diaeresis means, "this is a separate syllable, pause briefly, think about whether you really should have used this word, then continue."
          The same was used in English until recent decades — they even spelled it "coöperation" every once in awhile. Zoë and Chloë know something about this phenomenon.

  6. And points! Don't forget the points!
    "Stars? We don't need no stinking stars."
    By the way, how many points do we need to accrue before we can cash them in on a free seat upgrade? or sandwich?

  7. I'm of the opinion that you can spell your name S-h-i-t-h-e-a-d and pronounce it "Jones", if that amuses you. You kind of lose the privilege of getting snotty with people who mispronounce it, though. I went to school with a girl whose name was spelled T-o-n-n-e-a-u (no kidding). If you were unfortunate enough to pronounce it like it's spelled (~tonno), she would do that indignant head bobbing thing that only women of a certain ethnicity seem to be able to pull off and inform you (in cadence with the head bobbing) "That's Tuh-Nee-Uh!" and give you a look like you were the dumbest piece of shit to ever draw breath for having mispronounced it when it was soplainly obvious how to pronounce it correctly. After about the thirtieth time I witnessed this display (which impressed nobody but her) I told her to look her name up in the dictionary. It didn't help.

  8. Well you never know. There's always gonna be at least one guy at the party without a date, and MD 20/20 is a magical elixer, turning dogs to foxes with just a few sips. I can't really say that every gal I ever wound up with was a home run. I can at least say that I never hooked up with a gal that was hairier than I am, that's gotta be good for something.

  9. Reading all of these comments reminds me of when I moved from Australia to the US when I was 8. Many of the car names I had learned over there were pronounced differently here. Celica, Mercedes, Mazda, Nissan, etc.
    Considering I'm a bit pedantic, I try my best to pronounce things correctly, but every once in a while I'll randomly revert back to my old pronunciations.

    1. And wait, FormerlyTheGreatestDriver just admitted to having Australian roots over on [Redacted] too. How many Aussie expats/refugees are there on these intertubes, I wonder?

  10. If you haven't noticed, your commonwealth brethren from the Canadian north pronounce Mazda, "Masz-duh", (with the first A as in "catch"), but right across the river, or the barren prairie here in the U.S., the voiceover on the same commercial will say "Mozz-duh" (with the first A as in "ahhh, I can't find my keys".) How do they say it in Australia?

    1. In my hometown of Buffalo, NY, they say "Maahz-duh." ("a" as in "avalanche") But, then again, they say every vowel that way. I can still hear my aunt's voice – "Aah Maay Gaad! Yaa Aall Waat! Waats daa maatter?"

  11. Thank you…! Your examples really pointed out the proper pronunciation. I was selectively applying German rules to a French word… no wonder there was a conflict… 😉

  12. Hey! Welcome to the new place to hang out if you don't like endless reams of press releases and self-congratulatory stories.
    Also, if you go to intensedebate you can set up a profile and a picture of your choosing.

  13. Reminds me of those parents that try to give their children cute names with odd spellings and the parents pronunciation doesn't match up with the spelling. P161911, it is pronounced Jason.

  14. I'm of the opinion that you can spell your name S-h-i-t-h-e-a-d and pronounce it "Jones", if that amuses you. You kind of lose the privilege of getting snotty with people who mispronounce it, though. I went to school with a girl whose name was spelled T-o-n-n-e-a-u (no kidding). If you were unfortunate enough to pronounce it like it's spelled (~tonno), she would do that indignant head bobbing thing that only women of a certain ethnicity seem to be able to pull off and inform you (in cadence with the head bobbing) "That's Tuh-Nee-Uh!" and give you a look like you were the dumbest piece of shit to ever draw breath for having mispronounced it when it was soplainly obvious how to pronounce it correctly. After about the thirtieth time I witnessed this display (which impressed nobody but her) I told her to look her name up in the dictionary. It didn't help.

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