We all have a few words we struggle to pronounce. It sounds right when we say it in our head, but it sounds completely wrong when the word comes out of our mouth. However, it seems there are a few words a lot of us pronounce incorrectly.
Babbel commissioned the British Institute of Verbatim Reporters – an organisation for subtitling professionals – to identify the top words of 2022 which newsreaders, politicians, public figures and others have most consistently struggled to pronounce correctly. This annual analysis is now in its seventh year, running since 2016.
The British Institute of Verbatim Reporters (BIVR) is responsible for captioning and subtitling real-time events, on television and in courtrooms. Its members are professionally attuned to exactly how words are spoken.
In 2022, we saw Adele reveal that she prefers her name pronounced in an East-End accent and the tongue-twisting drink ‘negroni sbagliato’ went viral on TikTok. But those didn’t make the list.
Instead, the BIVR surveyed its members to identify the following words and names as the most commonly mispronounced of 2022:
Cyclone Batsirai [BAT-sir-eye]
Tropical cyclone which caused major damage in Madagascar in January and February 2022, and resulted in 123 fatalities.
Adjective used to describe the reign of King Charles III, which featured on the shortlist for the Collins for Word of the Year 2022.
US actor Steve Carrell struggled to say the name of the children’s TV channel when guest- starring to read a bedtime story.
Erling Haaland [err-LING HO-land]
Norwegian football star Erling Haaland, who plays for Manchester City. Visit Halland pointed out that mispronunciations and misspellings of Haaland as Halland are causing confusion for those wanting to find out more about the Swedish coastal province.
Jeremy Hunt [JEH-ruh-mee huhnt]
Newsreaders have consistently, accidentally referred to the Chancellor by the profanity that rhymes with his second name live on broadcast.
Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha’apai [HUN-gah TON-gah HUN-gah ha-AR-pie]
Undersea volcano which erupted in January causing a tsunami and reshaping the ocean floor. The plume of the eruption has been declared the tallest on record.
Rishi Sunak [REE-shee SOO-nahk]
Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister in October following Liz Truss’ resignation. Sometimes mispronounced as ‘Richie’, President Joe Biden also mispronounced his name in a speech, leading to ‘Rashid Sanook’ trending on Twitter.
Sarina Wiegman [sa-REE-nah VEEG-mahn]
Dutch football manager who led England’s Lionesses to victory in their Euros win against Germany in July.
The Taoiseach is the head of the government in Ireland. In June, former Prime Minister Liz Truss, then Foreign Secretary, faced criticism for mispronouncing Taoiseach as ‘tea sock’.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy [voh-LOH-deemer zeh-LEHN-skee]
The President of Ukraine since 2019.
Honorary mention (falling just outside of the top 10):
The popular Swedish homeware store is set to open a new flagship on Oxford Street in 2023. Often pronounced ‘eye-KEE-ya’ by Brits, the correct Swedish pronunciation is with a ‘short i’.