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Stephanie Hallett
December 21, 2016 1:02 pm

A lot of ish happened this year, and with all of that horrible-ness came quite a few words the American public was not used to saying. And now that we know the 12 most mispronounced words of 2016, we’re 1.) laughing at ourselves and 2.) vowing to do better next year.

Among the many words we were saying wrong all damn year were references to Pokémon Go, celebrity culture, and politics (surprise surprise). Lucky for us, though, the good people at language-learning site Babbel teamed up with the U.S. Captioning Company, which provides closed-captioning for live televised events, to provide a list of words we’ve been mispronouncing — and a guide to how to say them correctly. You can thank them later.

Without further ado!

1Bowie (boh-ee)

Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns

We lost musical legend David Bowie this year, which meant that mourners, fans, and newscasters alike were saying his name on the regular. Instead of “boh-ee” though, many said “bough-ie” — like “ow-ie,” the word for a child’s minor injury.

2Breitbart (breyt-bart)

The white nationalist media site Breitbart News was all over headlines this year when Donald Trump named its former head, Stephen Bannon, his chief strategist after winning the November election. The word is commonly mispronounced as “bright-bart.”

3Cisgender (sizz-gen-dehr)

Defined as a person whose gender assignment at birth matches their gender identity, this word rose in popularity this year when anti-transgender laws began to crop up nationwide.

4Hygge (HUE-gah)

This Danish word means “coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being” — something we all clearly needed more of in 2016.

5Marion Cotillard (koh-tee-yar)

John Lamparski/WireImage

The French actress found herself unexpectedly in the news this year when Brad Pitt announced his divorce from Angelina Jolie amid filming of the Pitt-Cotillard film Allied. (For the record, there’s nothing romantic going on there.)

6Narcos (nark-ohs)

The Netflix series by the same name was on every watch list this year, but it appears many were saying the Spanish word totally and completely wrong.

7Nomophobia (noh-moh-pho-bee-ah)

This unusual word describes a familiar feeling: the fear of being away from your phone. So, pretty much everyone in 2016.

8Quinoa (kee-NOH-ah or kee-NOO-ah)

This high-protein grain continued to grow in popularity this year (and increased sales actually helped the Andean farmers who cultivate it) but we’re still saying it all wrong.

9Rattata (RAT-ah-tah)

If you’re going to waste your life trying to catch this Pokémon Go character, at least say its name right.

10Roald Dahl (rohld daal)

The English author died in 1990, but he would have turned 100 in September this year, so we often found ourselves saying his name (wrong).

11Xenophobia (zen-oh-phoh-bee-ah)

We’re pretty sure you can guess why this word was in the news (*ahem* presidential election) but many of us were fumbling its pronunciation.

12Zika (zee-kuh)

The awful mosquito-transmitted virus that swept many parts of the world this year was a major news topic, but many called the illness “zye-kuh” instead of the correct “zee-kuh.” Let’s hope we don’t have to say this one as much in 2017.

Did you learn anything from this list? Let us know!

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