How to Pronounce

by Leandra Medine
August 12, 2013
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Here’s your Monday afternoon pick-me-up!

how to pronounce

Uncommon it is not, especially when you’re American and want to engage in the fashion discourse, to find yourself at the intersection of dumbfounded and dimwitted. After all, so many of the pivotal terms and words stored in the bank of pretentious fashion jargon are derived from the French and Italian languages. In response to that, a decent sized bevy of model citizens have been selflessly posting pronunciation videos on YouTube to help remind even the most plebe of interlocutors that Givenchy is not pronounced “give-en-chye” — it’s “jee-von-shee.”

Now, I’m not trying to hit on myself or anything but I’ve never really considered this condition a problem of my own. Call it the singular redeeming quality of having immigrant parents who still, twenty six years later, struggle with the English lexicon, or call it my own reluctance (after all, I was born and raised here) to let go of the heritage I have chosen to cling to. As a matter of fact, I have found that pronouncing American words (see: assuage, predilection, solace) is a far more humiliating experience for me.

Still, last Friday, just before a phone call with a brand I shall not name, pronounced with a most affected rolling r, silent h and dramatic w that I still can’t quite utter, I took to YouTube to learn the ways of an otic dictionary. The result?

This.

And this.

And these.

I could go on…

Nay, I will go on!

Fine, last one.

Needless to say but I will anyway, when all was erroneously said and done, I learned absolutely nothing but laughed really, really hard. Now, it seems like my duty as a citizen and your friend to pass on the torch (that’s tawarachtor) to you.

How’s that for a Monday pick-me-up?

REPLIES
  • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

    Haha yes! 10/10 for a pick-me-up. I’m trying to guess which brand you were on the phone with…perhaps Superga, although that collaboration is not so secret anymore.

  • Kezia

    This YouTube channel has been the source of hysterical laughter for hours amongst my family and friends for quite a while now. I appreciate your encouragement of its existence. The pronunciation of Justin Bieber is one of the best.

  • Jen

    “Haute Couture” is the best one. Hottie Cooteratie.

    • Lauren

      YES!

  • Lust Covet Desire

    This is helpful for so many people. :)

    http://www.lustcovetdesire.tumblr.com

  • http://alcessa.wordpress.com/ alcessa

    So … if I may ask … how do you pronounce your name and surname? (am not good at pronunciation and have a sneaky suspicion my idea of your name could be oh so wrong)

    • Leandra Medine

      Lee-anne-druh // Meh-deen.

      • http://alcessa.wordpress.com/ alcessa

        Thank you – I wasn’t sure abut the surname (my guess was an all-American sounding “mee-dine”, while “Meh-deen” is what I’d pronounce it, because I live in Germany) and I thought it would be theoretically possible that you say “Le-” (as in lemon) instead of Lee-.

        (As a foreigner in Germany I pronounce my name slightly differently than Germans do, for logical reasons: they use the German pronunciation system and I use the Slovenian one. They are not that dissimilar but make for interesting differences and I decided not to adapt my own pronunciation. There are many interesting stories about names and pronunciation all around the world, so thanks for satisfying my curiosity :-))

      • Izur

        I wish it were pronounced Leen-druh. Like.. Lean Cuisine.

  • el Mar

    I always know I can listed to these for a good laugh!

  • http://www.fashionsnag.com/ Fashion Snag

    haha, I always have to look it up =) Lanvin used to get me pretty bad.

    http://www.FashionSnag.com

  • http://themannequintheory.blogspot.com/ Marin

    Sooo I got really excited when I thought I was finally going to learn how to say Louboutin. Then that dude said “viagra.” LOLZ

  • Alexa Curtis

    I always come across this problem during NYFW. I can never figure out how to say designers names. Especially on interview. Holy embarrassing.

    http://www.alifeinthefashionlane.com

    xo

  • danielle

    pooper macho.

    i’m dying.

    http://www.indieelectronicalternative.com/

  • Inês Meireles

    God, I am laughing so hard!

    GIVEAWAY on my blog!

    http://www.the-goldensoul.blogspot.com

    XOXO,
    Inês

  • ASULikeIt

    Proenza Schouler: Pretzel Shoulder.

  • CarolinaG

    Nice!

    I’m posting looks from Los Angeles and accessories:

    http://www.thegavlaks.com

  • Ayaan

    I think the Chloe one was the best. Idk I guess it’s the ridiculousness is what got me

  • jassyonyae

    This made me laugh, and I’m so guilty of this

  • Amatoria Clothing

    Maybe I am being a snob, but it bothers me when people pronounce the H in “haute”… Especially in the case of “Haute Hippie”, where they obviously wanted the H to be pronounced to create alliteration.

    Or when someone starts correcting everyone’s French because they took a semester of French I in college. Those are the people that pronounce Louboutin “louie bootin”.

  • katja

    not funny. i try and learn english and ask for kapoochi monkey at starbuks.

  • Passant Adel

    Can’t believe the Chloe one, for me it was like kolw-wee, insane!

  • Yohi

    Maybe Gucci can be “guh-khi”? :)

    • Tegan

      Is this a Friends reference? Like when Rachel explains to a maitre de that she is meeting someone from Gucci, that it looks like gukky but it’s actually goochi? Haha

  • http://www.farandwildjewelry.com/ abigail lind
  • Gabi

    There’s this brunch place in Newport Beach called Haute Cakes, and I, having lived here for four years and becoming accustomed to the bougie (boo-jee) ways of the OC, pronounce “haute” correctly when ordering the meal for which the restaurant is named. The cashier repeats back to me “so just the hot cakes? Ok your order will be right out.”

  • Sasha Jane Shanks
  • Avery

    Bless you.

    wellbygeorge.blogspot.com

  • Crystal

    Uh, this is gold.

  • andrieya

    listening to portishead now on another window….faux pas added such an amazing layer to it!

  • Greer Clarke

    what the hell did i just watch

    • Leandra Medine

      some evil pronounciators trying to fuck up your most pretentious conversations

  • lunadeh1990

    Learn how you can generate 35 dollars a day at your own home simply go to surveymoneymaker dot net

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