100 English Words Commonly Mispronounced by Filipinos

By | 08/25/2014

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Philippines is an English-speaking country, but that doesn’t mean every English speaker in the world will understand everything we say. Using the language is one thing, knowing the right way to pronounce English words is another.

Of course, we have to forgive ourselves if we sometimes commit mistakes–after all, Filipino is our national language. But then again, it shouldn’t be a hindrance for you to improve your English speaking skills.

Also Read: 6 English Words You Didn’t Know Have Filipino Translations

Some blame it on a unique language called “Philippine English” and what they call “Filipino accent,” while others think it’s just an excuse for not learning how to speak English the right way. Regardless of what you believe, there is indeed a standard way to speak the universal language, the mastery of which will give you an edge in both local and international job markets.

Listed below are 100 English words commonly mispronounced by Filipinos (and  how to pronounce them the right way).

 

Pronunciation guide: 

ei or EI – Examples: bale = “beil”; whale = “hweil”

æ or Æ – Example: ban = “bæn”

ee or EE – Example: be = “bee”

igh or IGH – Example: tie = “tigh”

i or I – Examples: tip = “tip”

oh or OH – Examples: code = “cohd”; soul = “sohl”; bowl = “bohl”

o or O – Examples: law = “lo”; order = “OR dur”; chocolate = “CHOK lit”

au or AU – Example: out = “aut”

yoo or YOO – Example: duty = “DYOO ti”

oo or O – Example: rule = “rool”

u or U – Example: book = “buk”

oo or OO – Example: moon = “moon”

ur or UR – Example: curve = “kurv”

th or TH – Example: thick or “thik”

Unaccented vowel – uh – Example: fistula = “FISH chuh luh”

zh or ZH – Example: measure = “MEZH ur”

 

1. abalone. “æb’ uh LOH nee” (not “AH buh lohn”). A delicious seafood. 

2. accessory. “æk SES uh ree” (not “æk ses SOH ree”). Subordinate part.

3. acknowledge. “æk NAH lij” (not “æk NOH lej”). Admit; give credit to.

4. acoustic. “uh KOOS tik” (not “uh KOHS tik”). Pertaining to hearing.

5. admirable. “ÆD muhr uh buhl” (not “æd MIR uh buhl”). Worthy of admiration. 

6. adolescence. “ad’l ES ens” pronounced minus the “o” (not “uh DOL luh sens”). Period between youth and maturity.

7. advocacy. “ÆD vuh kuh see” (not “uhd VO kuh see”). Active support, especially for a cause.

8. affidavit. “æf i DEI vit” (not “æf i DÆ vit”). A sworn statement in writing.

9. allegedly. “uh LEJ id lee” (not “uh LEJD lee”). Supposedly.

10. almond. “ÆM uhnd” (not “ÆL muhnd”). A delicious nut.

11. alms. “ahmz” (You don’t pronounce the “l”). Money or goods given in charity.

12. alumnae. “uh LAHM nee” (not “uh LAHM nei”). Feminine of alumnus. 

13. amoebiasis. “æm’ uh BIGH uh sis” (not “uh mib YAH sis”). Infection caused by the amoeba Entamoeba histolytica.

14. analgesic. “æn uhl JEE zik” (not “æn uhl JE sik”). Pain reliever.

15. any. “EN ee” (not “EY nee”). One chosen  at random. 

16. applicable. “ÆP li kuh buhl” (not “ahp LEE kuh buhl”). Able to be applied; appropriate.

17. appreciate. “uh PREE shee eit” (not “AHP ree sheit”). To recognize the quality, significance, or magnitude of something or someone.

18. associate. “uh SOH shee eit” (not “AH soh sheit”). Colleague.

19. asthma. “AHZ muh” (not “AHST muh”). A respiratory illness often arising from allergies.

20. attaché. “ah tuh SHEI” (not “ah TAT chee”). One assigned to the staff of a diplomatic mission to serve in a given capacity.

21. attorney. “uh TURN nee” (not “uh TOR nee”). A legal agent qualified to act for persons in legal proceedings. 

22. awardee. “uh wor DEE” (not “uh WAHR dee”). One that receives an award.

 

23. bamboo. “bæm BOO” (not “BÆM boo”). Any of various woody mostly tall tropical grasses including some with strong hollow stems used for building, furniture, or utensils. 

24. beneficiary. “ben uh FISH ee er ee” (not “buh ne’ fish YAHR ee”). Receiver of benefits.

25. bicuspid. “bigh KAHS pid” (not “BIGH kuhs pid”). Having two points or cusps.

26. boutique. “boo TEEK” (not “boh TEEK”). A kind of specialty shop, now used to describe also small hotels.

27. broccoli. “BROK uh lee” (not “bro KOHL ee”). A delicious vegetable. 

english words commonly mispronounced by filipinos

28. bury/burial. “BER ee”/”BER ee uhl” (not “BUHR ee”/”BUHR ee uhl”). Inter/internment. 

29. busy. “BIZ ee” (Pronounced with a “z”). Filled with activity.

 

30. category. “KÆT uh go ri” (not “kuh TE go ri”). Class.

31. cement. “si MENT” (not “seh MENT”). Bond.

32. cemetery. “SEM i ter ee” (not “se MEN tuh ree”). Burial grounds.

33. chocolate. “CHOK lit” or “CHOK uh lit” (not “CHO kuh leit”). A food prepared from ground roasted cacao beans.

34. cleanliness. “KLEN lee nis” (not “KLEEN li nes”). State of being clean.

35. climb. Pronounced with silent “b.” To ascend using the hands and feet.

36. comfortable. “KAHM fuhr tuh bl” or “KAHMF tuh buhl” (not “kuhm FOR tuh bl”). Providing comfort or security.

37. condolence. “kuhn DOHL ens” (not “KON doh lens”). An expression of sympathy with a person in grief. 

38. confirm. “kuhn FURM” (not “kuhn FEERM”). To verify.

39. Connecticut. “kuh NET i kuht” (Silent “c”). A US state.

40. controversy. “KAHN truh vur’ see” (not “kon TRO vur see”). A dispute characterized by the expression of opposing views. 

41. corps. “kor” or “kohr”. A group of people with special training, organized for working together, or associated under a common direction. 

42. coupon. “KOO pahn” or “KYOO pahn” (not “KOO p0n”). A detachable slip.

 

43. debut. “dei BYOO” or “DEI byoo” (not “di BOO”). A first public appearance; the formal presentation of a girl to society. 

44. didn’t. Use the inner part of the tongue for the second “d” to slide on to the “n” (not “din’t”). Contraction of ‘did not.’

45. douche. “doosh.” A jet of fluid (as water) directed against a part or into a cavity in the body. 

 

46. education. “ej uh KEI shuhn” (not “ed yoo KEI shuhn”). The process of learning. 

47. embryo. “EM bree oh” (not “em BRIGH yoh”). An organism in its early developmental stage, especially before it has reached a distinctively recognizable form. 

48. entrepreneur. “on’ truh pruh  NUR” (not “en TUR puh noor”). One who organizes, operates, and assumes the risk in a business venture. 

49. exciting. “ik SIGHT ing” (not “eg SIGHT ing”). Creating or producing excitement.

50. executive. “ig ZEK yuh tiv” (not “ik SEK yuh tiv”). Administrator or manager. 

 

51. faux pas. “foh PAH” (not “FOHX pas”). French word for “false step,” figuratively meaning “social blunder.”

 

52. gargantuan. “gahr GÆN choo uhn” (not “gahr’ guhn TOO uhn”). Immense in size or volume. 

53. genre. “ZHAN ruh” (not “JEN re”). Type or class.

54. gourmet. “goor MEI” or “GOOR mei” (not “gor MEI”). A connoisseur of good food and drink.

 

55. hacienda. This is a Spanish word so the first letter must be silent. Country estate.

56. handsome. “HÆN suhm” with a silent “d” (not “HÆND suhm”). Pleasing and dignified.

57. heinous. “HEI nuhs” (not “HEE nuhs” or “HIGH nuhs”). Grossly wicked or deserving strong condemnation.

58. hippopotamus. “hip’ uh PAHT uh muhs” (not “hee’ puh puh TAHM uhs”). A large, short-legged, chiefly aquatic African mammal.

59. humongous. “hyuh MAHNG guhs” (not “hu MONG gohs”). Extremely large.

100 english words commonly mispronounced by filipinos

 

60. idiot. “ID ee uht” (not “EE juht”). Mentally deficient person.

61. indigent. “IN di juhnt” (not “in DIGH jent”). Without means of subsistence; impoverished.

62. ingenuity. “in juh NOO i tee” (not “in JEN wi ti”). Cleverness.

 

63. journal. “JUR nuhl” (not “JOR nuhl”). Diary.

 

64. knowledge. “NAHL ij” (not “NOH lej”). Understanding gained by actual experience. 

65. Kuwait. “kuh WEIT” (not “kweit”). An Arab country in Western Asia.

 

66. legume. “LEG yoom” (not “LE joom”). Any of a large family of plants having fruits that are dry pods and split when ripe.

67. lettuce. “LET uhs” (not “LET is”). Vegetable that is best eaten fresh. 

68. lip-synch. “LIP sink” (not “LIP sing”). To move the lips in synchronization with recorded sound. 

69. lychee. “LEE chee” (not “LIGH chee”). An oval fruit with a hard scaly outer covering , a small hard seed, and edible flesh. 

 

70. mahjong/mahjongg. “mah ZHAHNG” or “mah ZHONG” (not “mah JONG”). A Chinese game. 

71. maniac. “MEIN yuhk” (not “MAHN yahk”). Pervert.

72. mayonnaise.  “MEI uh neiz” or “mei uh NEIZ” (not “MAH yuh neiz”). A dressing of beaten  egg yolk, oil, lemon juice or vinegar, and seasonings. 

 

73. nuisance. “NOO suhns” or “NYOO suhns” (not “NOOY sahns”). Inconvenient or vexatious; a bother. 

74. nuptial. “NAHP shuhl” (not “NOOP shuhl”). Regarding wedding or marriage. 

 

75. orange. “AH rinj” (not “OH reinj”). A citrus fruit.

76. orator. “OR uh tuhr” (not “oh REI tuhr”). One who makes an oration.

 

77. parachute. “PAHR uh shoot” (not “PAHR uh kyoot”). An apparatus used to retard free fall in descending from an airplby ane or from a great height.

78. picture. “PIK chuhr” (not “PICH uhr”). A representation made by painting, drawing, or photography.

79. Porsche. “POR shuh” (not “porsh”). A brand of an expensive sports car.

80. preface. “PREF is” (not “PRI feis”). Introductory statement or essay. 

81. pseudonym. “SOOD’n im” (not “SYOO duh nim”). A fictitious name taken on by an author; pen name. 

 

82. Quaker Oats. “KWEI kuhr ohts'” (not “KWAH ker ots”). Brand name of a very popular oat meal. 

83. query. “KWIR ee” (not “KWER ee”). Request for information. 

 

84. rendezvous. “RAHN dei voo” (not “REN  des voos”). Meeting place.

 

85. salmon. “SÆ muhn” (not “SAHL muhn”). Pronounced with a silent “l.” Food fish.

86. sauce. “sos” (not “sohs”). A flavorful liquid dressing or relish for food. 

87. sergeant. “SAHR juhnt” (not “SUR jent”). A non-commissioned officer.

88. species. “SPEE sheez” (not “SPE sees”). A fundamental classification category in biology.

89. suicide. “SOO i sighd” (not “SWI sighd”). Intentional killing of oneself. 

 

90. tarantula. “tuh RAHN chuh luh” (not “tah’ ruhn TOOL uh”). Any of various large, hairy tropical spiders capable of inflicting a painful but not seriously poisonous bite. 

91. thesis/theses. “THEE sis” (for singular) and “THEE seez” (for plural). A proposition maintained by argument. 

92. tortoise. “TOR tuhs” (not “TOR tois”). Turtle that lives only on land. 

93. tourniquet. “TOOR ni kit” or “TUR ni kit” (not “TOOR ni kei”). A first aid device to temporarily stop the flow of blood through an artery.

94. Tucson. “TOO sahn” (not “TOOK suhn”). City in Phoenix, Arizona, USA; brand name of an SUV made in Korea.

95. turquoise. “TUHR kwoiz” (not “TUHR kois”). A blue or blue-green mineral valued in the polished blue form as a gemstone. 

96. typhus. “TIGH fuhs” (not “TEE puhs”). Any of several forms of an infectious disease caused by a rickettsia microorganism carried by fleas, ticks, mites, or lice. 

 

97. utensil. “yoo TEN sil” (not “YOO ten sil”). An implement or tool. 

 

98. Worcestershire. “WOOS tuhr shir” (not “wur CHES tuhr shighr”). Trademark of a piquant sauce of soy, vinegar, and spices. 

99. worry. “WUR ee” (not “WOR ee”). To feel uneasy.

 

100. zucchini. “zoo KEE nee.” A European vegetable. 

Try This: FilipiKnow’s Ultimate Tagalog-English Dictionary

 

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References

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (2004). 11th ed. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.

Zarate, E. (2012). The Malictionary Pronouncing Dictionary. 1st ed. Mandaluyong City: National Book Store.