I Have an English Degree! Quit Trying to Eff with Me!
May 12th, 2010 by plumpdumpling

So, I just called Becco to confirm my reservation for tomorrow night, and the voice recording that picked up pronounced it BECK-o. Even though pretty much anyone who knows anything about Italian has told me it’s BAYCH-o.

Should I take this as a clue that I’m not going to have the most authentic Italian experience possible tomorrow, despite this being a Lidia Bastianich restaurant?

Also, do I need to start a blog entirely devoted to NYC restaurants with easily-mispronounced names? Why’s everyone always trying to make me look like an idiot?

22 Responses  
  • Michael Madden writes:
    May 12th, 20105:08 pmat

    Don’t feel too bad. In Canada, everyone pronounces Taco Bell “TACK-o Bell”. That’s far worse, IMHO, and they’re like 30 million people.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      May 12th, 20105:51 pmat

      Whereas when the German interns say dune reed for Duane Reade, it’s totally endearing.

      Now that I think about it, taco is a weird word. Its pronunciation sounds almost aristocratic. Like ahnt for aunt. Although Kamran thinks AHL-mund is funny, while his AL-mund sounds ridiculous to me.

      • Michael Madden writes:
        May 12th, 20106:52 pmat

        Thanks, now I will never be able to say “Taco” without feeling like a snooty old British lady. And… AL-mond? That IS ridiculous. What region is that?

        • plumpdumpling writes:
          May 13th, 20101:10 pmat

          Middle Eastern region, I guess? Kamran’s from Iran, and I suppose his family thinks AL-mond is normal. Note that Kamran has absolutely no hint of an accent, though, which makes things like this inexcusable.

          He also says FIG-urr instead of FIG-yer for figure, which drives me insane. In a cute way.

          I’ve always thought of you as a snooty old British lady, if it helps.

      • Kim writes:
        May 14th, 20101:49 pmat

        “Ahnt” is the only acceptable pronounciation. I’ve been known to condemn the proletariat to their deaths for less.

        Although, interestingly, someone was recently explaining to me that in certain regions of this nation of ours (you know, the SOUTH), “ahnt” prevalent among African Americans and no one else.

        My best friend pronounced “Albany” as “AL-bany” until last year, when, during a heated debate over the pronounciation of “Proenza Schouler” (I was winning), I shrieked at her in a rage about how I will trust her pronounciation of NOTHING due to this AL-bany crap.

        And then she almost cried and explained that it was because of some state capitals song she learned when she was 5 or whatever, so it’s not really her fault. BUT IT’S STILL SO GROSS.

        Kamran’s ALmand pronounciation makes me laugh a little; though, my nutty Romanian grams (um, don’t tell anyone I’m Romanian, how Eastern Bloc and slutty!) always makes this amazing cake called Almandine that I don’t eat because it’s food, and her pronounciation leans toward AL as well.

        • plumpdumpling writes:
          May 18th, 201012:22 pmat

          I’m so hardcore ant, but I understand that ahnt should be right. But yeah, I do only associate it with black people, which is pretty hilarious considering how white you are.

          Pretty sure I’ve said AL-bany more than once, too. OMG, are you ever going to be able to look at me the same?

          I Wikipediaed “almandine”, and the first line says, “Not to be confused with amandine,” which is what you’re talking about. WORLD? ROCKED.

          • Kim writes:
            May 18th, 20105:40 pmat

            Holy crap! MINE TOO! Because now she talks even more idiotically cause she puts an “L” in. Well, now that I’m really thinking about this I guess it is an “L” that could be interchanged with a “W” (seriously, she says like, “aaaaaaahwlmandIN – like a French “in” with the silent “n” and all there at the end) but I just assumed. Why the hell can’t I just be a WASP, dammit? Everyone knows how to say gin right.

            Although my new favorite Almandine is found in Google – the upscale New York sailing charter company.

            I can’t believe this AL-bany offense has now been committed by more than one person I have heard of.

  • caropal writes:
    May 12th, 20105:09 pmat

    Actually, the rules of pronouncing C’s or CC’s in Italian are defined by the letter following it, not before it. Because Becco has an O following the CC (and not an I or an E), it’s a hard C, sounding like a K.

    Whoo, college language requirement!

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      May 12th, 20105:19 pmat

      Wait, so Italian and English both have an I/E/C rule? That’s freaky.

      Thanks for the language lesson! I’m totally gonna rub this in my friend Anthony’s face; he’s all, “I’m a real Italian, and real Italians don’t eat Papa John’s, and real Italians know how to pronounce double Cs.” I no longer trust anything he says.

      • caropal writes:
        May 12th, 20107:14 pmat

        Regarding hard and soft sounds, doubling the C doesn’t really do anything, but adding an H makes the rules go backwards! Oh, those wacky Italians.

  • Bachelor Girl writes:
    May 12th, 20105:42 pmat

    I HATE stuff like that. HAAAAATE it. Mispronunciations (either on my own part or the part of others) are like nails on a chalkboard to me.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      May 12th, 20105:52 pmat

      Oh, you’ll love this, then: I have a friend who says chick for chic. I think it’s soooooooooo cute that I’ve never corrected her, but if she ever finds that out, she’ll be so embarrassed.

      Here’s hoping she doesn’t read my food blog!

      • Alfagirl writes:
        May 12th, 20107:24 pmat

        I hope you’re not talking about me. Eventually it will become acceptable because so many people end up pronouncing things wrong that it ends up becoming acceptable. Have you ever noticed lately that nobody says “John and I” anymore, but rather “Me and John”? That one really drives my mom nuts.

        I always wondered if it was better to correct someone when they made the mistake or continue to let them embarrass themselves. I think it would be a good thing if your friend not only read your blog, but also read the comments.

        Of course, I’ve lost some of the grammar rules I learned in school so I still make mistakes too.

        However, pronouncing it “chick” is appropriate if the person meant to be facetious. (And I don’t mean that to be fah-set-ee-uhs) ;)

        • plumpdumpling writes:
          May 17th, 20102:29 pmat

          Anyone saying “Me and John” is an idiot. Anyone putting periods inside of quotation marks when the quote isn’t a complete sentence is an idiot. Just because people are dumb doesn’t mean the rules should change to suit them.

          Whew. Sorry. I get pretty riled up over writing rules. Although, you know, I remember a high school teacher telling us it isn’t correct to split infinitives (“to boldly go” should be “to go boldly”), and I thought that was ridiculous. So clearly I like it when the rules change to suit me.

          I will never correct our friend, and every time she says it from now, I’ll look at you, and we’ll share an inside joke at her expense.

  • thickcrust writes:
    May 12th, 20106:04 pmat

    Context matters. Is it wrong to pronounce Houston “HOW-stin”?

    I imagine Italian is like every other spoken language in that different people pronounce words differently. Maybe due to an accent. Or a childhood head injury. Or ignorance.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      May 13th, 20102:22 pmat

      Yes, yes, it is. But I appreciate anything that makes the language harder on people who don’t speak it natively. Spanish, with its vowel sounds that never change, is far too easy to fake knowing.

      I will be saying BAYCH-o with a very extravagant fake accent, pressing my thumb to my four fingers and then kissing them, and asking if it’s “time to make-a the meatballs!” all night tonight. You have been warned.

      • thickcrust writes:
        May 13th, 20105:10 pmat

        I will out-obnoxious you for sure. I will be playing the role of the rube who pronounces everything phonetically, requests “something that tastes like Ragu or Chef Boyardee” and compares everything to Olive Garden.

        • plumpdumpling writes:
          May 17th, 20103:19 pmat

          (I’d pick Olive Garden any day. Don’t tell anyone.)

  • Sarah writes:
    May 12th, 20109:58 pmat

    Considering I’ve only been to like 5 restaurants in NYC my opinion may not mean much, but I have been here and had the pre fix pasta deal they have – it was really tasty. I’m excited to hear about your meal.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      May 17th, 20102:35 pmat

      I trust your opinion more than anyone’s, because I know you and I come from the same place and have eaten the same things!

      “Deal” is the right word. I was really saddened by my inability to finish more than a plate and a half, but I still feel like I got well more than my money’s worth. The zabaglione (or zabaione; I forget which they called it) for dessert was also insane.

  • Monica writes:
    May 17th, 20101:39 pmat

    I’m curious what you thought of Becco. A friend and I ate there about a year ago and were NOT impressed. The food seemed very touristy — catering to a rushed crowd who really weren’t foodies. My friend and I are foodies, and usually big fans of Lidia. We were NOT happy with the food. The restaurant was beautiful, but who cares? We wanted good food!

    What did you think?

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      May 17th, 20102:43 pmat

      It seems like this place gets awfully mixed reviews. My friends who just like to eat think it’s really great, while my snobby/foodie friends think it’s just okay, like you.

      I thought it was . . . good. The truffled mushroom ravioli we had was something special, and I liked the veal bolognese enough to ask for seconds, but the spaghetti didn’t wow me at all. In fact, I’d say I was really disappointed with the spaghetti; I want more to my tomato sauce than just tomatoes. (But who knows? Maybe that’s more authentic.)

      My apple strudel for dessert was very good, but my boyfriend’s zabaglione sort of blew me away, so I guess I’d say dessert ranked higher than the actual pasta for me. Still, for $23, all that pasta is a great deal.

      I get what you’re saying about the place being touristy, though, and the menu definitely felt like it was designed for a non-foodie palate.

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