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You're Messing Up the Names of These Foreign Places

Let’s face it - we’ve all goofed up the foreign place names at some point. It’s not always our fault. After all, there are more than 7,100 languages spoken in the world today, and the way we pronounce the names of some places tends to differ from our native language. And sometimes, we do so without even realizing it. While they may be innocent errors on your part, these kinds of faux pas may be quite embarrassing when you're traveling. Therefore, it's best to know the right pronunciation of some commonly mispronounced country names.  

1. Edinburgh

Mispronounced Countries, Edinburgh
Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland, known for its beautiful architecture, is often pronounced “Eh-din-berg.” The proper way to pronounce it is “Eh-din-bruh.” Yes, the “g” is silent. 

2. Reykjavik

Mispronounced Countries, Reykjavik
You can be forgiven for not being able to pronounce Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, does it? But it’s still better to learn it anyway. It’s “Reh-kyuh-vik.”

3. Laos

Mispronounced Countries, Laos
The beautiful Southeast Asian country of Laos is commonly referred to as “Lay-ouse” or just "La-ou." Locals, however, say “Lou-se” (rhyming with blouse). Read our article on Top 10 Places to Visit in Laos to know more about the place. 

4. Belarus

Mispronounced Countries, Belarus
There should ideally be no confusion in pronouncing Belarus correctly. However, many people mistakenly call this European country "Bel-air-us." Its correct pronunciation is "Bel-uh-rooz."

5. Seoul

Mispronounced Countries, Seoul
The capital of South Korea is frequently called “See-oohl,” but the right way to say this vibrant city's name is “Soul.” Simple, isn’t it? To know more about the city, check out our article on Breathtaking Sites to Explore in Seoul.

6. Seychelles

Mispronounced Countries, Seychelles
Now, this is indeed a tricky one. “Say-chillis” is not what you call this gorgeous archipelagic island country in East Africa. No, it’s not “Say-cherls” either. The right way to pronounce it is “Say-shelz” (think of it as “Say-SHELLS").

7. Kyrgyzstan

Mispronounced Countries, Kyrgyzstan
There are seven Asian countries with the -stan suffix, and most of them have plenty of consonants in their names (such as Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan). But Kyrgyzstan is the trickiest of them all, as its name is a proper tongue-twister. This mountainous Central Asian country should be pronounced “Keer-gihs-taan” and not “Cry-gee-stan.” Our photo feature on Kyrgyzstan's beauty will leave you stunned. 

8. Qatar

Mispronounced Countries, Qatar
Football fans are excitedly waiting for the 2022 FIFA World Cup that’s slated to be held in Qatar later this year. But do you know how Qatar is pronounced? Most people wrongly call this Western Asian country “Cut-taar” or “Kuh-tar.” It’s actually “Kut-uhr.”

9. Phuket

Mispronounced Countries, Phuket
Phuket is Thailand's largest island. It's known for its sandy beaches and blue waters. But do you call it “Foo-ket”? That’s incorrect. It’s “Poo-ket.” 
Did you know the word Phuket actually means "mountain jewel"?

10. Colombia

Mispronounced Countries, Colombia
People often confuse Colombia with the District of Columbia. Colombia is a country on the northern coast of South America and doesn’t have a "u" in its name like the District of Columbia. It’s pronounced “Co-lohm-bee-uh” and not “Co-lum-bee-uh.”

11. Marseille

Mispronounced Countries, Marseille
Marseille is a port city in southern France. It’s commonly mispronounced as “Mah-sail” or “Mah-sally.” The correct way is “Mahr-say.” 
Marseille is the oldest city in France. It was founded by Greek mariners in the 7th century BC.

12. Antigua

Mispronounced Countries, Antigua
Many people mistakenly add a “gwah” while saying Antigua. This Caribbean island nation should actually be pronounced as “An-tee-guh.”
It was Christopher Columbus who named the island during his 1493 voyage.

13. Munich

Mispronounced Countries, Munich
Calling Munich “Moo-neetch” is wrong. There’s no excuse for saying the German city's name that way. Not even if you’ve chugged down a few jugs of beer during the annual Oktoberfest celebration. The German city is pronounced “Myoo-nik.”

14. Niger

Mispronounced Countries, Niger
Niger is a landlocked country in West Africa. It takes its name from the Niger River. People often pronounce it "Nigh-jer.” The "g" in Niger probably confuses them. But it’s supposed to sound like “Nee-zher.”

15. Samoa

Mispronounced Countries, Samoa
Samoa may seem like an uncomplicated name, but this Polynesian island country is often called “Sam-oh-uh.” This is because people tend to emphasize the wrong syllable. Locals call the country “Saah-moah.” Make sure you remember it!
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