Do you say ‘Yoo-No’ or ‘Oo-No’? I refer to the card game kids and adults play around the world. Our family has it right. We say ‘Oo-No’. Because ‘Uno’ is a Spanish and Italian word meaning ‘one’ and you say ‘Uno’ when you have one card left. It makes perfect sense and yet so many of my friends are arguing with me that Aussies say ‘Yoo-No’, because we live in Australia.
It is the same as ‘You beaut’ or ‘You bet!’. To my misguided friends I say this: you know you are wrong saying, ‘Yoo-No’ because it is ‘Oo-No’ so you can go away.
There are many words I am always unsure how to pronounce. Moët. Is it ‘Moat’? ‘Moe-eh’or ‘Moe-eeee’? I just avoid saying this at all, but please be reassured I do not avoid drinking the stuff. “Pass me a glass of the bubbles, love”, is what you will hear me call the good plonk.
What about our iconic thongs, Havaianas? Do you say ‘Hav-i-anas’ or ‘Hav-anas’? Again, to be safe, I would say thongs. Another tricky word I avoid like the plague is celtic. Is it ‘sell-tic’ or ‘cell-tic’? Designer brands are fraught with danger, people. Hermes. I do not know where to begin. Does it rhyme with ‘herpes’? Is it ‘Herrmmmmmm’ as if you are about to spit, or is it plain ‘hers’? I like to tell my husband it is pronounced ‘H is for happy wife’. Gifs. Another nightmare word. Is it ‘jiff’ as in, I will be back in one or is it ‘giff’ as in Aussie lingo for I got one for my birthday? Who the heck knows unless you are very well educated and well read.
What about ‘Ibitha’ in Spain and ‘St Tropez’? I once asked a chemist assistant if she had any of the ‘Saint Trop-ez’ sunscreen in stock. I turned bright red when she made a point of telling me as she looked me up and down it is the ‘San Trow-pay’ sunscreen.
Food groups are another trap for tricky words. You know that delicious soup from Vietnamese restaurants that is spelt ‘pho’? Well, I would like to know how the pho you say that word. I usually point to the menu and ask for number 23 on the list. And the last tongue-twisting and mind-blowing word I will leave you with is ‘acai’ bowl. If you are rolling your eyes you are probably under 30. You are not my spirit animal. Apparently it is pronounced ‘ass-sigh”. I will leave it there.