ATHENS – Greece’s temperamental tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas’ name is as hard for people to pronounce as his game is for his rivals to deal with, the moniker a mouthful that slides off the tongue, doesn’t roll off.
Tsitsipas is on a list of the world’s most mispronounced words for 2021, compiled by the US Captioning Company and commissioned by language-learning platform Babbel, based on a poll of captioning professionals, said the Reuters news agency.
They identified frequently used, topical words that newscasters and people on television struggled to pronounce correctly this year, tongue twisters that can easily trip up announcers covering a sporting event.
That became evident when Tsitsipas advanced to his first major final at June’s French Open, giving the 23-year-old Greek added exposure and sports commentators around the world a hard time, the news agency noted.
Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce revealed in a radio interview that his team mates and the media had been mispronouncing his name for years as Kell-See instead of Kelss – although that was disputed.
Joining Tsitsipas – (Tsit-si-pas) – were 11 other words, including another Greek word from the alphabet -Omicron – given to a strain of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, and two cryprocurrencies, Dogecoin and Ethereum.
Slang term Cheugy, fast-food restaurant chain Chipotle, South Korean treat Dalgona, singer Billie Eilish and Suez Canal-blocking ship Ever Given also made the list, said he report, followed by the Scottish city Glasgow, Chinese fashion company Shein and beauty filter trend Yassify.
“Newscasters in the US have struggled with 2021’s new words and names while reporting on key sporting events, viral internet trends and emerging celebrities,” Esteban Touma, a Babbel Live teacher told the site.
“As a language teacher it’s always interesting to see that some of these terms are usually new colloquialisms, or are rooted or borrowed from another language,” said Touma. “As a non-native speaker, I must confess it’s fun to see English speakers stumbling a bit for a change,” he added.
The tongue trouble for broadcasters now can’t match what the late Boston Celtics legendary broadcaster Johnny Most tried to fumble through names when the team was playing the then-Yugoslavia squad in 1988 in Madrid.
“You know what I remember the most was that Johnny couldn’t pronounce anybody’s name,” said guard Danny Ainge. “That was really funny.”