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Beto O’Rourke, Daniel Kaluuya among most mispronounced names of 2018 — find out how to say them


Rep. Beto O'Rourke's first name is among the most mispronounced words of 2018. (Eric Gay / AP)

He may be a potential favorite to be the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, but that doesn’t mean fans can pronounce his first name.

Rep. Beto O'Rourke is among the most mispronounced names and words of 2018, according to a new survey. The U.S. Representative for the 16th congressional district of Texas became a household name during and after he unsuccessfully challenged Ted Cruz for a Senate seat.

O'Rourke’s campaign was compared to former President Obama’s 2008 run thanks to his optimism and charisma, and being a hit with young voters. But all that buzz didn’t help people pronounce Beto.

It was one of the toughest names this past year according to a survey by the language-learning app, Babbel, which commissioned the U.S. Captioning Company to identify prominent words and names that most-often were a challenge for newscasters and TV personalities to correctly pronounce.

If you want to get it right, say BEH-toe — not BAY-toe, and definitely not BEE-toe. So the “Be” part should be pronounced like the first syllable in the name Beverly.

Daniel Kaluuya has landed on a list of the most mispronounced names of 2018.
Daniel Kaluuya has landed on a list of the most mispronounced names of 2018. (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Another toughie was English actor Daniel Kaluuya, who was up for an Oscar and Golden Globe Award this year for his starring role in the horror film “Get Out.”

The pronunciation shouldn’t be too difficult though if you just sound it out: ka-LOO-yuh.

Brett Kavanaugh also oddly landed on the list. The new Associate Justice of the Supreme Court was in the spotlight this year when sexual harassment allegations surfaced after being nominated for the job by President Trump. The correct way to say his last name is KAV-a-naw.

Babbel chose the U.S. Captioning Company to pinpoint some of the toughest words to say because its captioning professionals are responsible for captioning and subtitling real-time events on television and in courtrooms. Its members must know exactly how words are spoken.

The USCC polled its employees to find some of the most commonly mispronounced terms of 2018. A spokesman for Babbel pointed out that the words and phrases on the list are ones that have been in the public conversation this year and have been noticeably mispronounced, rather than the statistically most mispronounced words since those are usually the same each year and not interesting.

Other noteworthy names and words to make the list are: Freekeh (FREE-kah), a Middle Eastern cereal that became a trend here this year, Irish-American actress Saoirse Ronan (SIR-shuh ROE-nin) and Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai, whose team won the Super Bowl in February.