'Burger' Tops List Of Most Mispronounced American Foods

Most people have been to restaurants and found something on the menu that they don't know how to pronounce, or more embarrassingly, they think they know how to pronounce it only to discover they've been saying it wrong this whole time. Language is a tricky thing, especially when it's not your native tongue. Also accents vary from region to region. An Australian can be asked to repeat a word like "winter" several times before an American understands them despite it being the same language because the pronunciation is so different.

So, while you may be confused by why the Italian dish "bruschetta" is pronounced /broos-keh-t-tah/ and not /broo-sheh-ta/so to are non-native English speakers with words like "burger." According to Word Tips, the famous American sandwich is one of the most mispronounced American foods of all time with over 886,000 listens on how to pronounce it correctly. The reason someone would have trouble saying "bur-ger" may come as a surprise to many.

The problem with English and its variety of sounds

There are a number of sounds in the word "burger" that cause confusion for non-English speakers. According to Susan Ryan, an American accent specialist, the biggest issue is the sound made by the letters "ur" in the word. The letter "u" is most commonly pronounced like the "u" in blue (making an "oo" sound) or the "u" in under or blunt, which makes an "uh" sound. The "ur" combination in burger is the same as in purple. 

The next issue with the word is its double use of the "r" sound. According to English language school, Kris Amerikos, the letter is one of the most difficult to pronounce, which isn't surprising considering that it's even a difficult letter for native-speaking children when they start learning to talk, per Speech Language Center. In many languages, the letter "r" doesn't exist or it has a different sound. Take American English over Australian English, for example, where "winter" is pronounced "wintah."

Amongst other difficult to say American foods, Word Tips discovered that BBQ followed the word burger with 216,000 listens, and pecan pie with 93,000 were also problem words for people. Of course, the pronunciation of pecan is a matter of debate between northern and southern America, let alone to foreign speakers.