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Pronunciation Q. - How embarassed should I be?

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Pronunciation Q. - How embarassed should I be?

Old Jun 24th, 2005, 07:19 AM
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Pronunciation Q. - How embarassed should I be?

Perhaps someone with better linguistic credentials than I can straighten out a pronunciation issue for me.

What is the proper pronunciation for Bruschetta? In any restaurant I've been to in North America, it always seems to be called bru-shetta, but I have assumed it should be bru-scetta (with the 'sch' having a hard sound, like Schapiarelli).

While I'm on it, how about cilantro? Around here, I hear it pronounced silantro, but again, I would have assumed that it should be chill-antro (as with cello).

Before I get anymore disdaining of ignorant waiters, I'd like to know if I've simply been embarassing myself all these years!


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Old Jun 24th, 2005, 07:28 AM
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bruschetta = broo-SKET-ta

cilantro = see-LAN-tro

Cilantro I think comes from Sapnish, not Italian, thus the S sound rather than the CH.
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Old Jun 24th, 2005, 07:29 AM
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Bruschetta is an Italian word,the h next to the c makes it a hard c sound
brus-ketta

Cilantro is an English version of the Spanish word for it
cilantrillo (in which the double l would have a y sound)
The c, being next to the vowel i, takes the soft s sound
silantro
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Old Jun 24th, 2005, 07:32 AM
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I hate getting into these pronunciation threads, but:

I always say bru-scetta (using your spellings for phonetics). Recently at a very Italian restaurant in Florida I ordered it that way, and the waiter said clearly "oh you mean, bruSHETTA". As he walked away we laughed at his unsubtle way of "correcting" me. But we laughed harder when the young Italian son of the owner who has only been in the US from Italy less than a year and is working as a busboy/food runner brought out the order, put it in front of us and said clearly "enjoy your bru-scetta."

Gee, I don't think I've ever heard anything but "silantro". But I've never thought of it in terms of being an Italian word!

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Old Jun 24th, 2005, 07:32 AM
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mcburja,
In the US, everyone does seem to say "brew-shetta", but in Italian, it is "brew-sketta".

As far as cilantro, it is a Spanish word, not Italian, so it really is pronounced "silantro", (unless you are speaking Castillian, in which case it would be (more or less) "thilantro".

I don't think you need to be embarrassed, one way or the other.
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Old Jun 24th, 2005, 07:34 AM
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Wow- A lot of us were posting at the same time!
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Old Jun 24th, 2005, 07:44 AM
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So true, Marcy, and if you were Castillian (or you had a bad lisp) you could also get away with saying "bruthetta". LOL
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Old Jun 24th, 2005, 07:48 AM
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Nothing to be embarrassed about...you could even have asked about the pronunciation of these words that would ensure someone did NOT correct you.

Let's face it, sometimes these pronunciations are regional, especially when it comes to place names such as "Versailles" but I guess that's a whole other thread.
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Old Jun 24th, 2005, 08:29 AM
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It WAS a whole other thread not too long ago, but I can't find it to link it here
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Old Jun 24th, 2005, 08:48 AM
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This is too funny. While we are at it, how do you pronounce "pasta fagioli?" My best friend's mother says, "pasta fazul." She is the daughter of Italian immigrants. Other Italians in Philly say, "pasta fajol" or "pasta fajoli." It is enough to make you want to order something else when faced with pronounciation problem in a restaurant. I HATE waiters who correct you.

Once, in an Italian restaurant in Boston's North End, I was corrected by a waitress for saying, "brusketta."
"You mean bruchetta," she replied.

I retorted, "Oh, yes, Bruchetta. And a 2% tip."
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Old Jun 24th, 2005, 09:53 AM
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Patrick & John, I have also been corrected by snotty waiters who think the correct pronunciation is bru-shetta. Right now they get an arched eyebrow, but I'd just love a really snappy comeback. I'm not quite mean enough to use your 2% tip line, John, although I would agree that waitpersons who want a good tip would be well-advised not to correct their patrons, even if the patron is dead wrong.
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Old Jun 24th, 2005, 09:59 AM
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In English, "cilantro" is pronounced "coriander"
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Old Jun 24th, 2005, 10:49 AM
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Ah, Flanneruk, you beat me to the punchline on that one.

To everyone else, I do feel better about the bru-sketta, and have had LOL from you.
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Old Jun 24th, 2005, 10:56 AM
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Hey, mc,

>I'd like to know if I've simply been embarassing myself all these years!<

Well, if you don't know, it's probably because you haven't.

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Old Jun 24th, 2005, 11:20 AM
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If I can beat this dead horse just a bit more I offer the following:

In Italian, a "C" NEVER sounds like an "s".
A "C" followed by a vowel, sounds like an English "ch". Ex. Ciao!
An Italian "ch" or "cch" sounds like an English "K". Ex. Maccheroni
In Italian an "s" surrounded by vowels sounds like an English "z".
Ex. Casa (it's pronounced caza in Italian)


In Spanish, a "c" when followed by "e" or "i", always sounds like an English "s". Ex. Cilantro.
When followed by a consonant or the vowels "a", "o" or "u", it sounds like an English "K". Ex. Crema Catalán.
A Spanish "ch" is the same as in English.

Another common error is the word for coffee in those languages.
Italian: Caffé
Spanish and French: Café
English: Cafe (but we use it to describe the place where we drink our coffee)
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Old Jun 24th, 2005, 11:20 AM
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Sometimes the line between feeling superior and feeling embarassed can be pretty thin! ;-)
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Old Jun 24th, 2005, 11:37 AM
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Actually, cilantro is pronounced coriander in French (coriandre), Dutch and German too. Except that when we lived in Germany, it was impossible to find at any of the supermarkets we tried.
As an American, I think of cilantro as the plant's leaves and coriander as the plant's seeds, but here coriander is an umbrella term.
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Old Jun 24th, 2005, 11:56 AM
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...and if you go to an Indian restaurant, cilantro is pronounced 'dhania " (dah-NEE-ya).
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Old Jun 24th, 2005, 12:32 PM
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ciaony said
>>A "C" followed by a vowel, sounds like an English "ch".
In your own examples you show another option: casa

More correctly:
A "C" followed by an e or i, sounds like an English "ch".
A "C" followed by an a, o, or u, sounds like an English "k".

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Old Jun 24th, 2005, 01:09 PM
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Frankly I think cilantro should be pronounced "yeecchhhh". One of the very few flavors of the world I'm not at all fond of. Am I the only one who thinks fresh cilantro tastes like soap?
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