The 12 Most Mispronounced Names and Places in 2022

Mispronouncing words can happen when you least expect.
Mispronouncing words can happen when you least expect. / Tim Robberts, DigitalVision Collection, Getty Images

As we edge toward the end of 2022, it’s natural to scan the news and reflect on the year’s top stories and search trends. It’s also hilarious to hear some of the more cringe-worthy mispronunciations uttered by news anchors, politicians, folks on TikTok, and yes, maybe by you, over the course of the last 12 months. 

To figure out exactly which buzzwords of 2022 were most likely to be pronounced incorrectly in the U.S., Babbel, a language-learning platform, commissioned its seventh annual analysis from The Captioning Group, a closed-captioning company that offers subtitles and captions for live events on television, as well as for those who are Deaf or hard of hearing. 

After surveying its members, The Captioning Group determined 12 of the most commonly mispronounced words in the U.S., which include a mix of popular drinks, foreign cities, and other tongue-twisters. Here’s the list below, in alphabetical order.

1. Adele

How it’s pronounced: “uh-DALE” 

English singer-songwriter Adele revealed back in November that American fans often say her name incorrectly, and she prefers how it sounds with an East London accent. 

2. Chicxulub 

How it’s pronounced: “CHICK-choo-loob” 

The asteroid that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs left behind a massive crater, known as the Chicxulub crater. But for some, the bigger mystery might be how to properly pronounce Chicxulub

3. Dnipro 

How it’s pronounced: “nee-PRO”

Situated in the eastern part of Ukraine, this city is the fourth-largest in the country.

4. Domhnall Gleeson

How it’s pronounced: “DOH-null GLEE-sun

After Stephen Colbert mispronounced his name in October, the actor—whose name is of Irish origin—had to set the record straight. 

5. Edinburgh 

How it’s pronounced: “ed-in-BRUH”

Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral garnered international news coverage in 2022, but American news anchors got a bit tongue-tied when it came to pronouncing the name of the Scottish capital.

6. Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha’apai

How it’s pronounced: “HUN-gah TON-gah HUN-gah ha-AR-pie”

The volcano, which made headlines when it erupted back in January, is now considered the largest recorded volcanic eruption of the 21st century. 

7. Negroni Sbagliato 

How it’s pronounced: “ne-GRO-nee spah-lee-AH-toh”

Cheers to House of the Dragon star Emma D’Arcy, who toasted their favorite drink—the negroni sbagliato, with prosecco in it—to 14 million TikTok viewers, many of whom promptly mispronounced it. 

8. Novak Djokovic 

How it’s pronounced: “NO-vak JO-kuh-vich”

Tennis star Novak Djokovic has dealt with folks saying his name incorrectly for years, and he’s not the only tennis pro who has struggled with this in recent years. 

9. Ohtani rule 

How it’s pronounced: “oh-TAHN-ee”

Named after Japanese pitcher Shohei Ohtani, this new rule was created back in March and allows baseball teams to list a pitcher in the starting lineup as a designated hitter as well. It also allows teams to keep that player in the game as a DH even if they’re no longer pitching. 

10. Rishi Sunak 

How it’s pronounced: “REE-shee SOO-nahk”

Back in October, President Biden stumbled when congratulating Rishi Sunak on his victory in the prime minister race in the UK by calling him Rasheed Sanook.

11. Tuanigamanuolepola (Tua) Tagovailoa 

How it’s pronounced: “TOO-uh-ning-uh-mah-noo-oh-LEH-po-luh TOO-uh TUNG-o-vai-LOH-uh”

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tuanigamanuolepola (Tua) Tagovailoa has had sportscasters stammering over the correct way to pronounce his name during the current football season.

12. Zaporizhzhia 

How it’s pronounced: “zah-POH-reezha”

Located in southeast Ukraine, this city is home to multiple power stations (including the largest nuclear power station in all of Europe).