Thanksgiving Words That You're Probably Mispronouncing

Thanksgiving is perhaps the most typical American holiday, and it's coming up! Do you know how to say these tricky Thanksgiving-themed words?
October 1, 2022
Ron Carlos
Ron Carlos
Speech & Accent Coach at BoldVoice
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Happy Thanksgiving! This classic American holiday brings a slew of tricky words to pronounce. While most people know how to pronounce the simpler words like turkey, pie, and corn, other words can be a bit more challenging.

Here are four words to keep an eye out for this holiday season, with tips on how you can say them confidently.

1. "Dessert" Pronunciation

Everyone loves turkey and mashed potatoes, but no thanksgiving dinner is complete without an incredible variety of pies. Apple, pumpkin, you name it. Add a little bit of ice cream and you’re golden.

While it’s hard to mess up a classic Thanksgiving dessert like pie, it’s very easy to mess up pronouncing the word “dessert” itself. Many people pronounce it like “desert”, so if you aren’t careful, you may find yourself asking for someone to pass you a plate of dry, barren land.

If you’re saying diz-urt, with emphasis on the second syllable, you’re saying it correctly. If you’re saying dez-urt, with stress on the first syllable, you might end up with a mouth full of sand instead of tasty pie.

2. "Almond" Pronunciation

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t like green beans and almonds, another classic Thanksgiving dish. But how are you supposed to pronounce the word “almond” to begin with?

In standard American English, the “L” in almond is actually meant to be silent. So instead of all-mund, you would say something like ah-mund. You’ll find a lot of variation among native speakers, and many do pronounce this “L”, so you can’t go wrong either way.

3. "Pecan" Pronunciation

Another member of the nut family, pecans are hard to dislike. If you’re lucky, you might find candied pecans and a pecan pie on your Thanksgiving table this year.

There’s actually many different pronunciations of the word pecan out there, and no consensus on which is more correct.

The tried-and-tested puh-kaan is what Merriam-Webster lists as the correct pronunciation. However, the alternative pee-can is just as common. Among native speakers, this difference is regional: puh-kaan is more common in the American South, while pee-can is more popular on the East Coast.

So go nuts (pun intended) and pick whichever pronunciation you prefer.

4. "Cupboard" Pronunciation

You may think the word cupboard has nothing to do with Thanksgiving, but odds are you’ll hear this word tossed around at Thanksgiving dinner. Whether it’s cups, plates, or bowls, everything is in a cupboard somewhere, you’ll likely find yourself needing to pronounce this word.

Although cupboard is a compound word, the two words that make it up are not supposed to be distinctly pronounced. Specifically, the “P” in cupboard is silent, so the word is pronounced kuh-burd, not cup-bird.

Hopefully, you feel a little better equipped to pronounce things confidently this holiday season.

If you’re still having trouble pronouncing these words or any others, be sure to check out BoldVoice. BoldVoice uses advanced speech AI that listens to your speech, identifies any weaknesses in your pronunciation, and helps you tackle them so you can sound as clear as possible. On top of that, BoldVoice's Hollywood accent coaches Ron Carlos, Eliza Simpson and Adeola Role will provide you with the expert advice you need to take your English to the next level.

You can try BoldVoice with a free 7-day trial to get started on your accent journey!
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Ron Carlos
Ron Carlos
Speech & Accent Coach at BoldVoice
About the author
Ron Carlos is a Hollywood voice, speech, and dialect coach based in Los Angeles, California. He received his Master’s in Voice and Speech at Harvard University, and taught speech and dialects at the Yale School of Drama. Ron has coached performers on productions including Netflix, Marvel, and Broadway. Ron is a Head Coach on the BoldVoice app.
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