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Photograph: Unsplash/Jean-Claude Attipoe

A new study reveals the most commonly mispronounced pasta names in the world

How many of these pasta types are you saying wrong?

Lauren Dinse
Written by
Lauren Dinse

How many times have you visited an Italian restaurant, taken a squiz at the menu and thought: “Do I even know how to pronounce this word?” While most of us feel fairly confident with popular words like ‘spaghetti’ and ‘macaroni’, an interesting new study shows that many of us still get it wrong. 

Preply, a language e-learning platform and app, scoured through Google search data to discover which pasta names non-Italians around the globe are routinely butchering, and ‘spaghetti’ and ‘macaroni’ actually made the list, along with 38 others that proved to be total tongue twisters.

‘Gnocchi’ was the most mispronounced name, with the majority of people calling the popular pasta type ‘NOTCH-ee’ or ‘G-KNOCK-ee’ instead of its correct pronunciation, ‘NYOHK-ee’.  Preply research revealed that a whopping 153,000 people search Google for pronunciation guidance on gnocchi each year.

‘Spaghetti’ and ‘penne’ followed in second and third place with 101,460 and 33,890 searches respectively each year from people looking for pronunciation tips.

The study also picked up on the history of how each type of pasta came to be named. For example, did you know that ‘vermicelli’ means ‘little worms’ and that ‘linguine’ means ‘little tongues’? 

With World Pasta Day coming up on October 25, there’s no better time to polish your pronunciation skills (and your smarts on different pasta types) – especially if you plan on ordering your fave plate at one of these Melbourne venues hosting special deals and events

Here are the top 10 most mispronounced pasta names: 

  1. Gnocchi: Correct: “NYOHK-kee” Incorrect: “NOTCH-ee” or “G-KNOCK-ee” or “NOH-kee”
  2. Spaghetti: Correct: “SPUH-get-tee” Incorrect: “SPAG-et-tee” or “SPAG-ed-ee”
  3. Penne: Correct: “PEHN-neh” Incorrect: “PEN-nee”
  4. Vermicelli: Correct: “VER-me-CHEL-lee” Incorrect: “VUR-mi-SELL-ee”
  5. Tagliatelle: Correct: “TAH-lyah-tell-eh” Incorrect: “TAG-lyah-tell-ee” or “TAH-lyah-tee-lee”
  6. Pappardelle: Correct: “PAH-par-del-lay” Incorrect: “PAH-par-del-ee”
  7. Lasagne: Correct: “lah-ZAHN-yay” Incorrect: “lah-ZAHN-yah” or “lah-ZAHN-neh”
  8. Farfalle: Correct: “Far-FAHL-lay” Incorrect: “FAR-fah-leh”
  9. Orecchiette: Correct: “Or-ek-ee-ETT-ay” Incorrect: “Or-etch-ETT-ee”
  10. Fettucine: Correct: “Fet-oo-chee-nay” Incorrect: “DAR-be”

For 30 more commonly mispronounced pasta names – and each pasta name’s English translation, check out Preply’s full study here.


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