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Stinley's avatar

Why do some people prefer to be wrong but the same as other people?

Asked by Stinley (11505points) December 19th, 2015 from iPhone

I’ve got a pet peeve. It’s how people pronounce chorizo. I’m not sure if this is just a uk thing but a lot of people pronounce it wrong. They say chor it zo. I occasionally say, in the nicest possible way, that it’s pronounced cho ree tho, they are just not interested. It’s like because everyone else pronounces it wrong it’s not right to pronounce it correctly. Why would they think that this is the best way to act?

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25 Answers

funkdaddy's avatar

There are a lot of ways to pronounce chorizo

I’ve never heard either of yours here in Texas for example, where it’s most commonly a mexican food.

For me it’s cho-ree-zo, others would correct me to say it’s CHO-izo… with a very light, to no “r”.

So why would people rather be wrong? In this case, maybe it’s too tight of a definition of what’s “right”. In other situations, people often don’t want to argue, but they have their own researched reasons for the way they do things. Will you change how you say it based on my explanation for example? I kind of hope not. But you might go research it a bit, and that’s generally what I do, then decide if I want to change.

Especially with language, sometimes it’s better to be understood than correct, so people tend to pronounce things as they learned them.

jaytkay's avatar

Many words do not have a single pronunciation. It’s “cha reez o” here in Chicago. We have about a ⅓ Hispanic population, and most of the white and black people aren’t aware of chorizo.

But I understand the annoyance at, “chor it zo”. It’s like the Chipotle restaurants in the US, many people call them “Chipolte”.

canidmajor's avatar

Honestly, not trying to sound snarky, but I’m curious, @Stinley. If this comes up in casual conversation, why would people believe that your pronunciation is the correct one and not their own?
In conversation in the the U.S., for example, I pronounce the capital of France “pair-iss” instead of the French “pah-ree”. It would be pretentious to do otherwise.

Maybe the discussion of “chorizo” (which I will make no attempt to pronounce) is just not important enough to most people to worry about.

ETA: as to the bold main question, I haven’t found that people prefer to be wrong, but they just think they are right, or that, in the case of your example, just don’t care enough to verify their point or yours.

janbb's avatar

I will say that I’ve corrected my pronunciation of Muslim after reading the thread on that and feeling the definitive answer was given.

Seek's avatar

I hate being wrong more than I like being right.

That said: MANY words are, in the UK, pronounced in ways I have never heard an American say them. However, I’m sure that the fact that my city has an enormous Cuban and Latin American population has an affect on how I pronounce “cho-ri-so”.

On the other hand, I haven’t the faintest idea how to pronounce any kind of Indian food names—so I just never try. The closest contact I have with such things is the Halal grocery I go to occasionally, and the owners are from Pakistan, so it’s not the same language.

chelle21689's avatar

People don’t like to change when they’re used to what they’ve always done. It is annoying though, if I found out I was saying something wrong I would correct myself.

Some people are just like that. My boyfriend’s sis doesn’t correct herself every time we tel her she’s saying something completely wrong and she knows it. Example, a Korean dish called bibimbap but she calls it bimmy bop. A Japanese store is tensuke pronounced tens keh and she calls it ten sooky

zenvelo's avatar

Well, it definitely is NOT pronounced “cho ree tho”; there is no “th-” sound in it unless you have a lisp.

As the women at the local burrito place (El Faro in San Francisco’s Mission District) pronounce it, @funkdaddy spelled it out the closest. The “z-” has a “ts-” pronounciation, with the t being very short. And in Spanish, the letter “i” is always pronounced as “ee”.

As to the basic question on aligning with right or wrong, I have to agree with @canidmajor on this one. British pronunciation is often wrong. Just try getting some on BBC to say “controversy” properly, with the accent on the first syllable, not the second.

And with the chorizo, don’t forget “con huevos.”

janbb's avatar

Apparently, if you are English you have to say it in a man’s voice and if you are American, in a women’s voice. Otherwise, it is pronounced the same way in both.

ibstubro's avatar

I remember my mother making fun of me when, as a teen, I took the r out of Warshington and the u out of simular.

She thought I was being uppity, while I simply wanted to say the words the way they are spelled. She wanted me to conform and I wanted to avoid red marks on my English papers.
When faced with the choices of admitting she had been saying words wrong for 30-odd years and belittling me, she chose to stick to her guns.
I wasn’t correcting her, just being correct myself, and taking grief for it.

Buttonstc's avatar


Just for the record, in Castillan Spanish it would be a TH sound. So, that’s likely why she thinks that way.

And around these here parts, (MI.) there is a town named Lake Orion.

Prior to moving here, the only way I had ever heard Orion pronounced was the way it is in the constellation Orion’s Belt. Namely: Oh-Rye-on with the accent on the second syllable (Rye).

Imagine my surprise when I hear them referring to Lake Orion and pronouncing it “Ore-Rhee-On with the accent on the first syllable (Ore).

Since I’m not in the mood to tell all the inhabitants of an entire town (as well as the entire state of Muchigan) that they don’t know how to properly pronounce the name of their own town, I just decided to adapt.

And in the five years I’ve lived here, I have yet to hear anyone call it Oh-Rye-On :)

lynfromnm's avatar

We have a town in New Mexico spelled Thoreau. I met a resident of that town once who told me it was pronounced “threw”. I was told you have to go “threw” it to get to Albuquerque.

About 50% of NM’s population is Hispanic, and here, we call it cho-ree-zo, or cho-ree-tho, depending whether the speaker is Mexican or Spanish.

Stinley's avatar

Thanks. Some helpful answers on that people stick to what they know. Still not entirely sure why though.

In terms of the pronunciation. I learned Castilian Spanish, with a z said as a th and the I as ee. That aside, I wouldn’t mind if they said it in an English way with the z like fizz or the Spanish way like the z in Ibiza. Most people here know that Ibiza has a soft th for the z. But they pronounce it with a z like pizza. It’s just so…rude. Like oh that Johnny Foreigner says things in a funny way so let’s not bother to find out which bit of foreign it is and just say it foreign and hope for the best. Even when I say it is a z like Ibiza not pizza (short and sweet) people just aren’t interested in changing.

rojo's avatar

Here in Texas I have only ever heard it pronounced Chor-ee-zo or Chor-ee-so. Speakers of Hispanic descent seem to go with the softer “so” version., or perhaps that is just how my brain interprets it.

janbb's avatar

@Stinley I’m not sure you’re hearing that there seem to be many different acceptable ways of pronouncing it depending on where the local speakers of Spanish come from. I understand your question but your example might not be the best one.

One th other hand, I do get a laugh when I am in England and they talk on the train about going to the “buffett” car so I know what you mean.

rojo's avatar

Perhaps because there is safety in numbers?

LostInParadise's avatar

Names get garbled in translation. The town of Versailles in Kentucky is pronounced ver-SAILS. Here are some other examples

ibstubro's avatar

With place names, I think it’s just following tradition.
At the time the places were named they may have just picked a cool looking name out of an atlas and pronounced it phonetically.
There were a lot of words I was taught to mispronounce in school as a kid, because that was conventional regional pronunciation at the time. In the Midwest people worshed their clothes and Worshington D.C. was our capital. As far as I know, people still say it…I put it on ignore so long ago I never notice.

canidmajor's avatar

There is also the factor that an unsolicited correction of another adult’s pronunciation of anything except your own name comes across as pretentious and snotty, no matter how well-meant or gently done.

Stinley's avatar

I’m not sure why I get worked up about it. I know it’s something to do with what I said before about people not seeming to care enough about other languages to make an effort to learn how to pronounce different words. But I don’t get worked up about other examples. I hear them and let them slide. This one seems so particularly wrong. I do understand that it can be pronounced differently, just not that an English person would pronounce a Spanish word with Italian pronunciation. It’s not phonetic like Buffett or Versails. That would be fine.

Any advice on how to let this go??

zenvelo's avatar

@Stinley One way to let go is to recognize that you are not pronouncing it correctly, and to work on pronouncing it the way your friends do.

Seek's avatar

This question has also made me think of the Texas city Houston “Hews-ton” and the street in New York City, “HOUSE-ton”.

Anyone who asks for directions to HEWS-ton street is obviously a tourist.

zenvelo's avatar

@Seek I didn’t figure that out until someone was explains where SoHo came from, even though it is pronounced with long “o’s” and not as sow-how.

jaytkay's avatar

SoHo isn’t just “SoHo”. Soho in London is much older.

Some place names are fun and interesting because they bounce around the world.

If you say “Hyde Park”, I think of the president’s home Hyde Park.

Not the president’s home Hyde Park.

And not Hyde Park..

rojo's avatar

All this concern when we still live in the shadow of “Nucular” war.

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