In News on Friday 29th Jun, 2018

The holiday hotspots you're definitely pronouncing wrong

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Reykjavik in Iceland is one of the many hard to pronounce cities. Souce: Getty.

Different languages and accents can create a communication barrier when travelling through many foreign cities and countries. However, if there is one thing you should learn before you travel, it’s how to say the name of the city you are visiting. 

Here is the correct pronunciation of just a few of the places you are quite possibly butchering.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Most people avoid even attempting to pronounce the capital of Iceland. However, it’s not as difficult as you might think. Instead of the commonly pronounced ‘Wrecker-vic’ the title is actually pronounced ‘Ray-kya-vik’. 

Tijuana, Mexico

For some unknown reason, people love adding an extra syllable in the title of the Mexican city to make it ‘Ti-a-whana’. However, the correct way to say it is simply ‘Ti-whana’.

Lucerne, Switzerland

Rather than going for the French pronunciation of ‘Loo-sirn’, the German-speaking area has a slightly stronger pronunciation. It is more correctly pronounced as ‘Lutz-urn’ with a German twang.

Dunedin, New Zealand

Unlike Tijuana, Dunedin is robbed of a syllable. While most people pronounce it ‘June-din’ the correct way is actually ‘Dun-ee-din’. The long eee sound in the middle is where the emphasis should be drawn.


The Middle-Eastern country is a bit of a confusing one. While most people just assume it is ‘Cat-arr’, the correct pronunciation is simply ‘cutter’.


The Polynesian island is usually read phonetically as ‘Sa-mo-a’. However, the locals put a bit of a twist on it by accentuating the ‘r’ sound with ‘Sarm-oa’.

Budapest, Hungary

While it's quite easy to sound out the name of the tourist hub, that is not how the locals would go about it. They rather say "Boo-da-pesht" with a soft "sh" sound on the end.

While these names might be a struggle to pronounce, there are also a few cities and countries that we can guarantee you are calling the wrong name all together. 

The Netherlands is often referred to as Holland, but in fact Holland is only a small part of the nation. The Kingdom of the Netherlands consists of 12 provinces and Holland is actually only two of them - Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland. In the 1800s, Holland was the biggest contributor to the country's economy and as such, many adapted the name when referring to the entire kingdom.

Up until April of this year, the country of eSwatini was known as Swaziland. The name change came from King Mswati III who explained he was sick of people confusing them with Switzerland.

The new name simply means ‘land of the Swazis’ and Mswati has been using it for years before he decided to officially change it.

Similarly, Czech Republic prefers to be known as Czechia as a way of being more appealing and memorable for tourists. It is not the official name but simply a shorter and more English friendly title such as ‘France’ for The French Republic.

However, their efforts to shorten the name have been unsuccessful as most people still tend to refer to the country by the official name. 

It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to names of foreign cities and countries. Spend a bit of time doing research to ensure you know how places are pronounced and you might just save yourself a whole lot of embarrassment!

Is there a city that you struggle to pronounce correctly?

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