Monday, April 27, 2009

The Ultimate Sin: Mispronunciation

There's perhaps nothing more embarrassing than striking a conversation with a knowledgeable fashionista and realizing that Hermes is not, in fact, pronounced anything like the STD. Nor is Givenchy pronounced Gah-vin-chee (that's to you, Whitney Port.)
But how is one supposed to keep track of all these foreign names? Fret not, dear readers, for there are plenty of resources to guide your quivering tongues.
  • Some kids over at Chictopia put together this cute video that tackles a few names.
  • As part of a luxury brand study, students at IMHC (a hotel management school in Canada) recorded short YouTube videos of a person pronouncing each designer.
  • Fashionista has done a few posts about pronunciation, where they spell out the names phonetically. They also put together an insanely helpful fashion glossary, that comes complete with phonetic spellings for the tougher names.
If you Google around, you'll find that a lot of variation in the way people pronounce names. So the real trick is to talk confidently and act like you know your stuff. Maybe you'll convince whoever you're talking to that they don't know how to say it right.

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