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!

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  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

Happy New Year! (¡Feliz año nuevo!)


Now that the fireworks and champagne toasts are done, we at Luminoso Language Services thought we would let you know of some Latino and Spanish traditions for New Years Eve.

A tradition that originated in Spain and is celebrated in many South and Central American countries is burning out the old year to get rid of negative karma from the past year. In some countries, the tradition is to write down the negatives on a piece of paper and burn it; in others people make or buy effigies to burn at midnight.

Another Spanish tradition widely followed in the Americas is eating 12 grapes at midnight – one grape for good luck for each month of the year. You can also make wishes on each grape. This tradition started in Spain in 1895 when grape farmers wanted to sell an over-abundance of grapes.

If you want to travel, people in Venezuela and Colombia believe that walking around the block with a suitcase will increase their chances of travel in the new year. To travel a person needs money, right? In Ecuador celebrants hide money around the house to bring prosperity, in other areas, people put money in their shoes.

What better way to make a clean sweep of the past year than cleaning your house? Families clean their houses so they are spotless by New Year’s Eve.

An ancient Roman tradition was to put lentils in their purses with the hope that they would turn to gold. Lentils are a symbol of of prosperity, so this tradition has translated into eating a bowl of lentils at midnight, or planting or putting lentils in your pocket to keep your finances straight in the coming year.

Windows are symbolic of fresh air, so two traditions that exploit that are: throwing last year’s calendar or a cup of water out the window. If it’s the water, the cup should be carried around the house to collect the bad vibes before it’s tossed.

And finally, your underwear matters! Wearing the following colored underwear on New Years Eve will attract:

  • Red: Attracts love, romance, and passion.
  • Yellow: Attracts money, prosperity, abundance, and financial stability into your life.
  • White: Represents peace, harmony, and calmness.
  • Black: Associated with luxury, power, and sexuality.
  • Green: The color of health, good luck, and protection. Wear them for all-around good fortune!
  • Blue: Believed to bring balance and stability. Good for making that elusive personal project come to life or getting that job you always wanted.

Imagine if you layered them and wore them all what a great year you would have!

Contact us to start you New Year with personal, online Spanish lessons

Feliz Año Nuevo from Luminoso Educational Services!

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.

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.

This Map Shows The Most Commonly Spoken Language in Every US State, Excluding English and Spanish.

The map above shows the most commonly spoken languages state-by-state after English and Spanish. Interestingly, the language areas correspond to immigration numbers since the country was founded.

Take a look at the map, think about your ethnic heritage, and see where the language of your family origins is located in the melting pot that is the United States.

The four most prevalent languages in the country are:

English – Is spoken by 79 percent of the population. It’s the default official language of the country because it’s the language that’s used by the government to conduct its business and communicate.

Spanish – Spanish is spoken as a first language by about 38 million Americans. The prevalence of Spanish is shown by the amount of students and adults studying it as a second language – children and adults are learning it as a second language in record numbers. The U.S. is the fifth largest Spanish speaking country in the world.

Chinese – The third largest spoken language in the U.S. is spoken by 3 million Americans. While Cantonese is dominant, more people are beginning to study Mandarin as it is the official language of the People’s Republic of China.

Tagalog – a Philippine language, is the fourth-most spoken language in the U.S. It’s spoken by almost 2 million people. Filipinos are the second fastest growing Asian population in the country after China.

Contact us to find out more about personalized Spanish and Italian lessons.

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

Descubren una nueva figura en las misteriosas líneas de Nasca en Perú/They discover a new figure in the mysterious Nasca lines in Peru

Uno de los misterios más fascinantes de los antiguos pobladores de América son las figuras gigantes (conocidas como geoglifos) dibujadas en la arena y las montañas del desierto de Nasca, en Perú.

El pasado 15 de octubre, el Ministerio de Cultura de Perú anunció el descubrimiento de un nuevo geoglifo en la Pampa de Nasca que se mantuvo oculto durante 2 mil años:

Se trata de la representación de un felino elaborada hace más de dos mil años y es obra de la cultura Paracas, una sociedad previa a la Nasca que coincide con ella un sinfín de rasgos culturales y se desarrolló en la costa del centro-sur de Perú, a unos 400 kilómetros de Lima.

La figura mide 37 metros de largo y su trazado tiene un ancho de línea de entre 30 y 40 centímetros. Está realizada sobre una colina rocosa que servía como acceso a un mirador en la zona, que permite apreciar más figuras en la cara opuesta de la montaña.

Para el artículo completo, haga clic AQUÍ

A new figure is discovered in the mysterious Nasca lines in Peru

One of the most fascinating mysteries of the ancient settlers of America are the giant figures (known as geoglyphs) drawn in the sand and the mountains of the Nasca desert, in Peru.

On October 15, the Ministry of Culture of Peru announced the discovery of a new geoglyph in the Pampa de Nasca that remained hidden for 2,000 years:

It is the representation of a feline made more than two thousand years ago and it is the work of the Paracas culture, a pre-Nasca society that coincides with endless cultural features and developed on the south-central coast of Peru. , about 400 kilometers from Lima.

The figure is 37 meters long and its outline has a line width of between 30 and 40 centimeters. It is made on a rocky hill that served as access to a viewpoint in the area, which allows you to see more figures on the opposite side of the mountain.

Read the full article in Spanish

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Un recorrido prehistórico en el Museo de La Peña/A Prehistoric Tour in the Museum of La Peña

Fósiles de especies de la megafauna que habitaron zonas del Embalse del Guajaro hace más de 10.000 años se exhibirán en este espacio paleontológico del Atlántico.

Una caverna, de cielo rocoso y agrietado, transporta al visitante a más de 10.000 años atrás. A la prehistoria.

Hace varios milenios, recorrían espesos bosques, valles y planicies, animales como megaterios, mastodontes, gliptodontes, smilodontes—conocido como tigre dientes de sable—, entre otras especies de la megafauna. Estos colosales ejemplares que poblaron el planeta entre los periodos Mioceno y Pleistoceno fueron también parte de este territorio. Muchos restos fosilizados de estas especies permanecen aún bajo el suelo del Atlántico.

De espaldas al embalse del Guajaro, en La Peña, corregimiento de Sabanalarga, abre hoy sus puertas el primer Museo Palentológico del departamento y la región.

Leer más en español

A Prehistoric Tour in the Museum of La Peña

Fossils of megafauna species that inhabited areas of the Guajaro Reservoir more than 10,000 years ago will be exhibited in this paleontological space in the Atlantic.

A cavern, with a rocky and cracked sky, transports the visitor to more than 10,000 years ago. To prehistory.

Several millennia ago, animals such as megaterios, mastodons, glyptodonts, and smilodonts — known as the saber-toothed tiger—, among other species of megafauna, roamed through thick forests, valleys and plains. These colossal specimens that populated the planet between the Miocene and Pleistocene periods were also part of this territory. Many fossilized remains of these species still remain under the Atlantic floor.

With its back turned to the Guajaro reservoir, in La Peña, Sabanalarga district, the first Palentological Museum of the department and the region opens its doors today.

Read more in Spanish

8 datos sobre la importancia del sueño que debes conocer/8 facts about the importance of sleep that you should know

Cuánto dormimos y cuánto dejamos de dormir son cuestiones que cada vez más concentran la atención de la comunidad científica

El sueño se ha convertido en un tema fundamental para quienes se preocupan por la salud.

Cuánto dormimos y cuánto dejamos de dormir son cuestiones que cada vez más concentran la atención de la comunidad científica, así como de ciudadanos (insomnes o no) preocupados por su propio bienestar.

Pero ¿cuánto sabemos acerca del sueño y su impacto en nuestras vidas?

1. La importancia de descansar ocho horas (más o menos)

Una de las recomendaciones más extendidas sobre el sueño es la de dormir ocho horas cada noche.

El consejo se sustenta en investigaciones que indican que tanto quienes duermen mucho como quienes duermen poco tienen una mayor probabilidad de sufrir de ciertas enfermedades y de vivir menos tiempo.

Pero es difícil saber si es la falta de sueño la que causa la enfermedad o si se trata de un síntoma de un estilo de vida poco saludable.

Ae asume que una persona duerme poco cuando de forma regular disfruta de menos de 6 horas diarias de sueño; mientras que se considera que duermen demasiado quienes lo hacen durante más de 9 o 10 horas al día.

En el caso de los niños, sin embargo, se recomiendan hasta 11 horas de sueño nocturno; mientras que los adolescentes deben hacerlo hasta por 10 horas.

Para saber más haga click aquí

8 facts about the importance of sleep that you should know

How much we sleep and how much we stop sleeping are issues that are increasingly attracting the attention of the scientific community

Sleep has become a fundamental issue for those who care about health.

How much we sleep and how much we stop sleeping are issues that are increasingly drawing the attention of the scientific community, as well as citizens (insomniacs or not) concerned about their own well-being.

But how much do we know about the dream and its impact on our lives?

The importance of resting eight hours (more or less)

One of the most widespread recommendations about sleep is to get eight hours of sleep each night.

The advice is based on research that indicates that both those who sleep a lot and those who sleep little are more likely to suffer from certain diseases and live less time.

But it is difficult to know if it is a lack of sleep that is causing the disease or if it is a symptom of an unhealthy lifestyle.

Ae assumes that a person sleeps little when they regularly enjoy less than 6 hours of sleep per day; whereas those who sleep more than 9 or 10 hours a day are considered to sleep too much.

In the case of children, however, up to 11 hours of nighttime sleep is recommended; while teenagers must do it for up to 10 hours.

To Find out more in Spanish, click HERE

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