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From SZA to the Stone of Scone, the words that help tell the story of 2023 were often mispronounced

A man staring at blank sheet of paper with his head in his hands. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — You are not alone if you have a hard time pronouncing some pretty common words and names.

According to the Associated Press, some of the words tied to this year’s hottest topics were also among the most mangled when it came to saying them aloud, with stumpers ranging from the first name of “Oppenheimer” star Cillian Murphy to the singer SZA to the name of a sacred slab of sandstone used in the coronation of King Charles III.

This year’s lists of the most mispronounced words in the U.S. and Britain were released Thursday by the online language learning company Babbel, which commissions The Captioning Group in the U.S. and the British Institute of Verbatim Reporters in the U.K. to identify the top words that news anchors, politicians and other public figures have struggled with.

Going through the lists provides a bit of a year-end review that ranges from science to entertainment to politics. Babbel teacher Malcolm Massey said the diversity of the words struck him, with words coming from several different languages.

SZA, who leads in nominations for the upcoming Grammys and whose “Kill Bill” was the second most-streamed song on Spotify this year, made the U.S. list. Her name is pronounced SIZ-uh, according to the experts at Babbel, who say the first name of another entertainer on the list, the Irish actor who starred in this summer’s hit as physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, is pronounced KI-lee-uhn.

Other pronunciations often mispronounced in the united states includes:

 The name of biotech entrepreneur and Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, pronounced Vih-VAKE Rah-mah-SWAH-me.

— Two volcanos — Mexico’s Popocatepetl, pronounced Poh-poh-kah-TEH-peh-til, and Hawaii’s Kilauea, pronounced Kee-lou-EY-uh.

— The late Karl Lagerfeld’s cat, Choupette, pronounced SHOO-pet, who garnered headlines as the Met Gala honored the late Chanel designer.

In some cases, the correct pronunciation is in the eye of the beholder. Earning a place on the U.S. list was the last name of Travis Kelce, the Kansas City Chiefs’ tight end whose relationship with Taylor Swift has grabbed countless headlines this fall. Whether Kelce should be pronounced with one or two syllables, Kels or KEL-See.