Top 10 hardest-to-pronounce Canadian city names includes Mississauga, study shows

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Published November 24, 2023 at 12:46 pm

Mississauga on top 10 list of cities in Canada that are difficult to pronounce.

Mississaugans might not be surprised to learn that many people around the world find it difficult, at first, to correctly pronounce the name of Canada’s seventh-largest city.

What might come as a bit of a surprise, though, is that an informal study released this week indicates that Toronto, Ottawa, Niagara Falls and Cambridge are among six Canadian cities that seem to present an even greater pronunciation challenge for those outside Canada’s borders.

According to research conducted by entertainment site CanadaCasino on the most difficult city names to pronounce — both in Canada and throughout the world — Mississauga ranks No. 7 on a top 10 list (see chart below) of Canadian city names people from around the globe find most difficult to properly say.

The rankings list Quebec City in top spot followed by Toronto, Ottawa, Cambridge, Niagara Falls and Regina all placing ahead of Mississauga. Vaughan, Montreal and London round out the top 10 list.

Cities were ranked according to the annual number of online pronunciation searches conducted worldwide, authors of the study say.

Quebec City recorded some 240,000 such online searches while Toronto had 172,920 and Ottawa 138,000. No. 7 Mississauga recorded 73,920 pronunciation searches globally.

“Taking the crown as the most commonly mispronounced Canadian city is Quebec,” the study notes, adding the French language “may be where some of the confusion lies. The correct pronunciation for non-natives is ‘kwuh-bek,’ while French speakers would say ‘keh-bek.’”

The difficulty with pronouncing Toronto, authors of the study note, is that many people simply don’t pronounce the second “T”.

“The right way to pronounce it for non-natives is ‘tuh-ron-tow,’ although locals will usually say ‘tuh-runno,’” they explain.

In conducting its research, CanadaCasino says it analyzed Google search data for nearly 300 Canadian cities.

“The research looked at the combined totals for a variety of search terms such as ‘how to pronounce’ and ‘how to say’ each city to reveal which are the most commonly mispronounced,” study authors say.

The entertainment site’s research also looked at, among other things, city names from around the world that Canadians found most difficult to correctly pronounce.

Edinburgh (ed-in-bruh), in Scotland, topped that list, with 28,800 searches each year from Canadians looking for pronunciation help.

Chart shows names of Canadian cities that people around the world find most difficult to pronounce. (Source: CanadaCasino)

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