How Do You Pronounce Moët?

I recently discovered that there are a couple of brands I’ve been pronouncing wrong.

There’s the age-old debate on the pronunciation of ‘Moët’ from the champagne house, ‘Moët et Chandon’. Some swear by mo-wett while others add some linguistic flair with some fancy mo-way. It was for this particular example that this post exists. I will clear this debate up once and for all with confirmation from several sources. You know it’s legit when you see the word ‘diaeresis*’ come up.

The funny part is this – I was searching for confirmation on the correct pronunciation of ‘Moët’ and I stumbled upon well-known global brand names that (I thought) had established pronunciations, but the generally accepted pronunciation is incorrect.

Below is a list of 5 commonly mispronounced brands, with some interesting back stories, some boring but necessary linguistics stuff and the verdict on some vintage debates.

Moët et Chandon

moet et chandon pronunciation the curious panther

My rudimentary search turned up a Wikipedia search. What else is new.

The article stipulated that [moɛt e ʃɑ̃.dɔ̃] is the correct pronunciation. This confusing code can be broken into several parts.

mo: as it is, so ‘mow‘ as in ‘mow the lawn’

ɛ: ‘eh’ as in ‘best’

t: ‘t’, the short ‘t’ as in ‘hot

e: similar to ‘ɛ’ but more drawn out, like ‘air

ʃ: not quite an integral, but pronounced ‘sh’ as in ‘shoe’

ɑ̃: a little difficult to find an English equivalent, but I would say adecent stab at it would be ‘a’ as in ‘sand’

d: standard ‘d’ as in ‘dog’

ɔ̃: similar to ‘ɑ̃’ a decent attempt would be on‘ as in ‘son

This is further underpinned in a dedicated Pronunciation segment that states that the correct pronunciation is mo-wette as it is originally a Dutch name that has retained it’s native pronunciation in French.

According to a native french speaker, the two dots (tréma) above the ë imply that the ‘t’ can’t be mute because the diaeresis* is here to change the pronunciation of the ‘e’ by demuting the final ‘t’.

I’m sold.

Correct pronunciation: mo-wette

* – also known as a tréma or umlaut. A diaeresis indicates the two dots above a letter: ë

Hermès

hermes wallpaper pronunciation the curious panther

Hermès a.k.a Hermès of Paris a.k.a Hermès International S.A is a French high fashion house. They do leather, perfumes, accessories and generally high-end luxury stuff. It is also a commonly mispronounced brand. I’ve heard variants of her-meez, her-mez, herms and homies.

Even what is believed as the technically correct er-mez is wrong.

The correct pronunciation here is /ɛərˈmɛz/

Using the previous explanation for Moët, we can break this down.

ɛər: airrrrrr like ‘scarce’ or ‘Mary’

mɛz: mez. That part’s standard.

Correct pronunciation: air-mez

Givenchy

givenchy wallpaper pronunciation the curious panther

Another French high-fashion house with a commonly mispronounced brand name. These guys do haute couture clothing and accessories etc. They’re the second largest apparel division of Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH)

The common mispronunciation is given-chee or given-shee, even jee-von-shee. The last one is close, but no cigar. The correct pronunciation is [ʒivɑ̃ʃi]

Deconstructing again:

ʒ: This is difficult to explain. The closest English letter would be a ‘j’ but it’s pronounced more like the ‘s’ from ‘measure’.

i: ‘ee’ as in ‘bee

v: ‘v’. standard ‘v’ like ‘valentino’

ɑ̃: ‘aw’ but with a French nasal twist, like the one you put on when saying ‘non

ʃ: as illustrated previously, ‘sh’ like ‘shoe’

i: ‘ee’ as in ‘bee

Correct pronunciation: jee-vo-shee

Porsche

porsche logo pronunciation the curious panther

Fun fact, I always thought Porsche was Italian. Turns out it’s German, which is indicated by the ‘Stuttgart’ that’s right in the middle of their logo. 🙂

The common pronunciation of Porsche is porsh. I’ve heard some say Porsha and I heard one individual say Porch. The last one is so wrong that it’s not even right, but that’s not the worst I’ve heard. I remember a friend referring to a Maserati as a Mazda.

Returning to the pronunciation, the correct way to say Porsche is [ˈpɔʁʃə] 

In parts, it is:

ˈp: as in ‘p’ for ‘Porsche’.

ɔ: ‘o’ as in ‘cost’

ʁ: ‘r’ as in ‘rouge’

ʃ: as above, ‘sh’ as in ‘shoe’

ə: ‘a’ as in ‘comma

Correct pronunciation: por-sha

Mercedes Benz

mercedes benz wallpaper pronunciation the curious panther

This one took me by surprise. I’ve grown up with the common mer-say-deez pronunciation and never gave it a second thought that it would pronounced differently. Some would argue that the pronunciation I’m going to illustrate below is technically a German one, and so shouldn’t be expected to be used globally. But if that’s the case, we would all be saying loo-es voo-ee-ten, instead of the French loo-ee-vwee-to(n).

The correct way to say Mercedes Benz is [mɛʁˈt͡seːdəs ˈbɛnt͡s]

mɛʁ: ‘Mer’. Pretty straightforward here.

ˈt͡se: ‘tsee’ as in the end of ‘cats‘ followed by the ‘ee’ from ‘bee

dəs: ‘dus’ as in ‘dust’ or ‘dusk’

bɛnt͡s: ‘bents’. Also not that tricky.

Correct pronunciation: mer-tsee-dus bents

Some of these ones, I knew already, like Moët and Givenchy, but the Mercedes pronunciation was definitely new.

Hope you all found this as informative and interesting as I did!

Panther

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