The Most Mispronounced Places in the World

Because we are a language education company, we always pay attention to correct pronunciation. It’s not always easy though. This list shows the most searched places in the world for correct pronunciation. You’ll be surprised at some of them – we were!

For correct pronunciation, conversation and grammar in Spanish, Italian and English, click HERE to get more information on our individual and corporate classes.

  1. Cannes, France
    Correct pronunciation: KAN or KAN-uh
    Incorrect: CON or CONZ or CON-es
  2. River Thames, London, England
    Correct pronunciation: TEMZ
    Incorrect: THAYMZ
  3. Yosemite National Park, USA
    Correct pronunciation: yoh-SEH-muh-dee or yoh-SEH-muh-tee
    Incorrect: yoh-SEH-mi-nee or YOH-se-might
  4. Louvre Museum, Paris, France
    Correct pronunciation: LOO-vruh
    Incorrect: LOOV or LOO-vray or LOO-vraa or LOO-ver
  5. Versailles, France
    Correct pronunciation: vair-SIGH
    Incorrect: ver-SALES or ver-SAY-les
  6. Seychelles, East Africa
    Correct pronunciation: SAY-shellz
    Incorrect: say-CHE-les
  7. Ibiza, Spain
    Correct pronunciation: ee-BEE-tha
    Incorrect: ih-BEE-za or eye-BEE-tha or ee-BEE-za
  8. Phuket, Thailand
    Correct pronunciation: poo-KET
    Incorrect: FUE-ket or fue-KET or FUH-ket
  9. Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda
    Correct pronunciation: an-TEE-guh
    Incorrect: an-TEE-gwah
  10. Dubai, UAE
    Correct pronunciation: doo-BAY
    Incorrect: doo-BYE
  11. Oaxaca, Mexico
    Correct pronunciation: wah-HAH-kah
    Incorrect: OAK-suh-kuh or oh-AX-uh-cuh
  12. Maldives
    Correct pronunciation: MULL-deevz
    Incorrect: mal-DIVES or MAL-deevz or MOLE-deevz
  13. Laos
    Correct pronunciation: LOUSE (like “blouse”) or LOU (like “loud”)
    Incorrect: LAY-os or LA-ose or LOSS
  14. Beijing, China
    Correct pronunciation: bay-JING
    Incorrect: beige-ING
  15. Seoul, South Korea
    Correct pronunciation: SUH-ool or SOLE
    Incorrect: SEE-ole or see-ULE
  16. Reykjavik, Iceland
    Correct pronunciation: RAKE-yah-veek
    Incorrect: RAKE-juh-vick
  17. Worcester, England (or Massachusets!)
    Correct pronunciation: WUSS-tuh or WUSS-ter
    Incorrect: WAR-chest-er or WAR-cess-ter
  18. Budapest, Hungary
    Correct pronunciation: boo-da-PESHT
    Incorrect: boo-da-PEST or BOO-da-pest
  19. Qatar
    Correct pronunciation: KUH-ter
    Incorrect: kuh-TAAR or KAT-aar
  20. Edinburgh, Scotland
    Correct pronunciation: ED-in-bruh or ED-in-bur-uh
    Incorrect: ED-in-berg or ED-in-buh-row or EED-in-berg

How Difficult is it to Learn a New Language?

The short answer is: it depends on the language you choose and how close it is to your native language. Other factors are:

  • How complex is your new language?
  • How many hours a week can you devote to learning the language?
  • Your Motivation
  • Your language learning resources

Here’s a list of common languages that are easiest and hardest to learn for English speakers with the population of native speakers .

Easy – 23-24 weeks
575-600 class hours:
Spanish 329 million
Portuguese 178 million
French 67.8 million
Italian 61.7 million
Romanian 23.4 million
Dutch 21.7 million
Swedish 8.3 million
Afrikaans 4.9 million
Norwegian 4.6 million

Medium 44 weeks
1,110 class hours
Hindi 182 million
Russian 144 million
Vietnamese 68.6 million
Turkish 50.8 million
Polish 40 million
Thai 20.4 million
Serbian 16.4 million
Greek 13.1 million
Hebrew 5.3 million
Finnish 5 million
Hard – 88 weeks
2,200 class hours
Arabic 221 million
Chinese 1.2 billion
Japanese 122 million
Korean 66.3 million

At Luminoso Language Services we make learning Spanish and beginners Italian fun and easy. To get started, fill out our form. We look forward to hearing from you!

All data from U.S. Department of State Foreign Service Institute

The story of Ñ and why it took so long to be able to use it in a URL

The grapheme Ñ is a mainstay of the Spanish language. It’s formed by a tilde (also called a virgulilla – little comma) over an upper or lower case N. It’s the 15th letter of the Spanish alphabet, after N, and has its own name, eñe. More than 15,700 words in the Spanish language contain it. Another example of a grapheme like this is the German W, which came from a double V or the German umlaut.

Have you noticed that the symbol ~ is an abstract n? Ñ formally originated in the eighteenth century with its first official recognition by the Royal Spanish Academy as a contraction of NN. Año in old Spanish was spelled anno (Latin annus) and the use of the tilde was developed as a shorthand version and was finally adopted and added to the Spanish alphabet. One theory of its origin is that in the Middle Ages monks devised its usage as a way to save parchment and time. One of the first usages is found in a document dated 1175.

Italian and French use gn for the same sound.

The use of Ñ has gradually become adopted in the U.S. Have you ever ordered a piña colada, had extra jalapeños on your nachos and talked about El Niño when discussing the weather?

So why hasn’t Ñ been used in URLs until last year? There’s no eñe in English and much of the tech developments for the internet started in the U.S. In 2021, a law passed in Spain set the standard that enabled the use of ñ in a URL.

You don’t have to know all 15,700 words in Spanish that use Ñ, but we can help you learn a lot of them with our personalized individual or group lessons. Contact us for more information.

Cheech Marin’s Chicano Art Museum Opens

We all know Cheech Marin as an actor and one half of the stoner comedy team of Cheech and Chong, but for years he’s also been an avid collector of Chicano art. He’s been collecting art for 40 years and parts of his collection have been touring museums and breaking attendance records during that time.

The collection is now housed in a new museum in Riverside, California. The museum is officially called the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture, but let’s face it, “The Cheech” is much more appealing. It occupies 61,420 square feet in what was formerly Riverside’s main library. Cheech’s collection now numbers 700 pieces of Chicano art. He’s gifted 500 pieces to the museum where there are about 100 pieces currently on display, along with other exhibits.
Cheech’s interest in art started in the 1980’s and he credits his ex-wife, a painter for opening his eyes to contemporary art. He sees the art in his collection as mixture of Mexican art, world art and pop culture.
“It was also art history that I understood, because all these artists were either art school and/or university-trained,” Marin says. “So they weren’t naive backyard artists that did it on weekends — these are really serious artists that were influenced by world art.”  He compared seeing the art to hearing the Beatles for the first time – the Beatles filtered American music through their lens and the artists filtered pop culture through a Chicano lens.
The term Chicano came into use in the 1960’s as a political movement for people of Mexican descent to express political empowerment, ethnic solidarity, and pride.
Finding out about Cheech’s other side is rewarding and show’s a different side of his personality and interests. Find a way to express yourself in a second language – contact Luminoso Language Services to learn Spanish at any level.

Improve Your Spanish During the Day

People ask, “How do I improve my Spanish aside from taking lessons?” One answer is to integrate Spanish into your daily routine. Here are some easy ways to do it on and offline:

  1. Lots of websites have English/Spanish versions. Read them first in Spanish, then look at the English to see how you did.
  2. Read a Spanish language newspaper online or in print.
  3. When you’re watching TV, watch movies or shows in Spanish. Turn on English subtitles to help your understanding if people are talking too fast.
  4. Read a book in Spanish. Here’s a link to Don Quixote in English and Spanish or pick a book you know well and read it in Spanish with your English copy close by.
  5. Are you a gamer? You can find Spanish language versions of your games online.
  6. Listen to podcasts in Spanish. Do the people speak too fast? Here’s a site that has slow, intermediate, and advanced podcasts News in Slow Spanish
  7. Pay attention when you’re out. Lots of stores and public places have multilingual signs and brochures you can read alongside English versions.
  8. Use different colored sticky notes to label objects around your house, it will help your vocabulary and brighten up your home!
  9. If you’re a list person, write your lists in Spanish.
  10. Join or find a Spanish speaking group.
  11. Don’t be shy! If you’re talking with a person who speaks Spanish, step up to the plate and talk to them – you’ll be amazed at how much you know!

These are some easy ways to integrate Spanish into your life and build confidence speaking a second language. For comprehensive, personal lessons online, click here and we’ll be in touch soon.

Un agricultor egipcio encuentra por error una estela faraónica de 2 mil 600 años/An Egyptian farmer mistakenly finds a 2,600-year-old pharaonic stele

Mientras preparaba su tierra, un agricultor descubrió una estela faraónica al noreste de El Cairo, con nueva información sobre una gran guerra contra los fenicios.

En las cercanías de la ciudad de Ismailia, en Egipto, un agricultor empezó su día de trabajo sin saber que encontraría una estela faraónica. Como sucede en los países con amplia riqueza cultural e histórica, es común que este tipo de hallazgos por parte de la población civil sean accidentales. Sin embargo, resalta el hecho de que la pieza está casi intacta, y podría datar de hace 2 mil 600 años.

Leer más aquí

An Egyptian farmer mistakenly finds a 2,600-year-old pharaonic stele

While preparing his land, a farmer discovered a pharaonic stele northeast of Cairo, with new information about a great war against the Phoenicians.

In the vicinity of the city of Ismailia, in Egypt, a farmer started his work day not knowing that he would find a pharaonic stele. As is the case in countries with extensive cultural and historical wealth, it is common for this type of discoveries by the civilian population to be accidental. However, it highlights the fact that the piece is almost intact, and could date from 2,600 years ago.

Read here in Spanish

¿Cómo se ve el atardecer desde Marte, Urano o el satélite más grande de Saturno, Titán?/ What does the sunset look like from Mars, Uranus, or Saturn’s largest satellite, Titan?

Así se ven los atardeceres en Marte y otros mundos según la NASA.

El espacio es un sitio hostil para la humanidad. La radiación, las temperaturas extremas y la falta de las condiciones particulares que hacen posible la vida en la Tierra hacen de cada planeta y luna del vecindario cósmico un mundo distinto.

Pero aún en esta diversidad, el sistema planetario mantiene un orden armónico gracias a un elemento que para ningún planeta resulta indistinto: el Sol.

Una simulación de la NASA pretende explorar cómo se vería una puesta de Sol en distintos planetas y los colores que iluminan el cielo hasta que desaparece en el horizonte.

Leer más aquí

This is what sunsets look like on Mars and other worlds according to NASA

What does the sunset look like from Mars, Uranus, or Saturn’s largest satellite, Titan?

Space is a hostile place for humanity. Radiation, extreme temperatures and the lack of the particular conditions that make life possible on Earth make each planet and moon in the cosmic neighborhood a different world.

A NASA simulation aims to explore what a sunset would look like on different planets and the colors that light up the sky until it disappears over the horizon.

Read more in Spanish HERE

Google celebra a la letra Ñ/Google celebrates the letter Ñ

Por primera vez en la historia, los dominios web de toda España podrán incluir la letra Ñ, un bastión de la lengua española.

Onomatopéyica y soñadora, la letra Ñ es el grafema número 25 del alfabeto arábigo. A diferencia de la creencia popular, el sonido no es exclusivo del idioma español. Por el contrario, también se emplea en el guaraní, chamorro y quechua, así como otras lenguas nativas de Europa. Hoy, Google la celebra como parte de la riqueza lingüística del mundo.

¿De dónde viene el gorrito de la letra Ñ?

Al día de hoy, según El País, se tiene registro de más de 15 mil 700 palabras que contienen a la letra Ñ en su constitución. A pesar de que otros idiomas utilizan el fonema /eñe/ para expresar ciertos términos, el símbolo de la Ñ sólo se usa en el español.

Leer más aquí

Google celebrates the letter Ñ

For the first time in history, web domains throughout Spain will be able to include the letter Ñ, a bastion of the Spanish language.

Onomatopoeic and dreamy, the letter Ñ is the grapheme number 25 of the Arabic alphabet. Contrary to popular belief, the sound is not unique to the Spanish language. On the contrary, it is also used in Guaraní, Chamorro and Quechua, as well as other native languages ​​of Europe. Today, Google celebrates it as part of the world’s linguistic wealth.

Where does the hat with the letter Ñ come from?

As of today, according to El País, there is a record of more than 15,700 words that contain the letter Ñ in its constitution. Although other languages ​​use the phoneme / eñe / to express certain terms, the symbol for Ñ is only used in Spanish.

Read more in Spanish HERE

Origen de los espejos y cómo se crean/Origin of mirrors and how they are created

Antes de la mecanización moderna, el nitrato de plata se usaba para hacer espejos. Cuando golpea un panel de vidrio, instantáneamente se vuelve reflexivo.

Desde la historia más antigua registrada, los humanos han estado fascinados por los reflejos. Narciso supuestamente estaba hechizado por su propio reflejo en un charco de agua, y los poderes mágicos se atribuyen a los espejos en los cuentos de hadas.

Asimismo, los espejos han avanzado desde piscinas reflectantes y superficies metálicas pulidas hasta espejos de vidrio transparente para baños de mano.

El espejo moderno

Los espejos de vidrio plateado que se encuentran en todo el mundo hoy comenzaron por primera vez en Alemania hace casi 200 años…

Para saber más haga click aquí

Origin of mirrors and how they are created

Before modern mechanization, silver nitrate was used to make mirrors. When you hit a glass panel, it instantly becomes reflective.

Since the earliest recorded history, humans have been fascinated by reflections. Narcissus was supposedly haunted by his own reflection in a pool of water, and magical powers are attributed to mirrors in fairy tales.

Likewise, mirrors have advanced from reflective pools and polished metal surfaces to clear glass mirrors for hand baths.

The modern mirror

The silver glass mirrors found throughout the world today first began in Germany almost 200 years ago…

To Find out More in Spanish, Click Here

¿De dónde vienen los nombres de los meses del año?/Where do the names of the months of the year come from?

Los nombres de los meses del año reflejan una mezcla de dioses y diosas, gobernantes y números. 

Marcamos el tiempo de muchas maneras diferentes. Una unidad, el mes, ha estado en uso durante miles de años. Usamos sus nombres todo el tiempo, pero ¿qué significan los nombres de los meses del año y de dónde vienen?

Hoy nos rige el calendario gregoriano, pero se basa en el antiguo calendario romano, que se cree fue inventado por Rómulo, el primer rey de Roma, alrededor del año 753 a . C.

Antiguamente, los calendarios se estructuraban en torno a las fases de la luna, como en el musulmán, o en función del sol como hacían en el Antiguo Egipto. Se trata de una herramienta que ha acompañado al hombre desde hace mucho tiempo, siendo el calendario más antiguo encontrado uno que data del 8.000 a.C. y que medía el tiempo tanto por la luna como por el sol.

Los egipcios, como casi todos los pueblos, utilizaron en los albores de su civilización un calendario lunar.

Como ya lo mencionamos, el calendario que ahora nos rige, como casi todo, es herencia del poderosos Imperio Romano. 
Originariamente, el calendario primitivo de Roma se dividía solamente en 10 meses y no coincidía con los ciclos astronómicos.
Fue Numa Pompilio, el segundo rey de Roma (715-672 a. de C.), quien adaptó el calendario al año solar según el modelo egipcio y le agregó los 2 meses restantes. Desde que Roma lo hiciera su calendario oficial, el modelo compuesto por doce meses se extendió por toda Europa y fue utilizado hasta el siglo XV, cuando hizo su entrada el calendario gregoriano. 

Los nombres que los romanos utilizaban para designar los meses del año tienen su origen en dioses, emperadores o números, y estos se han conservado en las lenguas inglesa, española, francesa, italiana y portuguesa.

Para obtener más información haga clic aquí

Where do the names of the months of the year come from?

The names of the months of the year reflect a mixture of gods and goddesses, rulers and numbers.

We mark time in many different ways. One unit, the month, has been in use for thousands of years. We use their names all the time, but what do the names of the months of the year mean and where do they come from?

Today the Gregorian calendar governs us, but it is based on the ancient Roman calendar, which is believed to have been invented by Romulus, the first king of Rome, around 753 BC. C.

In ancient times, calendars were structured around the phases of the moon, as in the Muslim, or based on the sun as they did in Ancient Egypt. It is a tool that has accompanied man for a long time, the oldest calendar found being one that dates from 8,000 B.C. and that he measured time by both the moon and the sun.

The Egyptians, like almost all peoples, used a lunar calendar at the dawn of their civilization.
As we already mentioned, the calendar that now governs us, like almost everything, is inherited from the powerful Roman Empire.
Originally, the primitive calendar of Rome was only divided into 10 months and did not coincide with the astronomical cycles.

It was Numa Pompilio, the second king of Rome (715-672 BC), who adapted the calendar to the solar year according to the Egyptian model and added the remaining 2 months. Since Rome made its official calendar, the twelve-month model spread throughout Europe and was used until the 15th century, when the Gregorian calendar entered.

The names that the Romans used to designate the months of the year originate from gods, emperors, or numbers, and these have been preserved in the English, Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese languages

To find out more, click HERE