Kitchen Is Hard To Pronounce

Watching far too many episodes of House Hunters International, I notice that no matter what country, foreign speakers often seem to have a problem pronouncing the word “kitchen”.

Usually it comes out sounding like “key-chin” or sometimes “keee-chun”

Not that this bothers me an iota, but just find it interesting that the word kitchen seems to be difficult to pronounce for so many non-native speakers.

The one exception would probably be German speakers, considering they have the word “kitsch” in their vocabulary so it is not a far stretch to add an “en” at the end of the word.

Going the other way, the one word I can’t pronounce in French is météorologie (meteɔʁɔlɔʒi). Specifically, the éorolo part. That is my French Achilles heel. Luckily, I can just say temps instead, usually.

A lot of Hispanics in our community (Small Town Northern Nevada), even those who have been here all their lives, have trouble with the ‘‘i’’ in Kitchen, Chicken etc. saying Key-chin, Chee-kin etc.

My local workers in Uganda (former British colony) had a devil of a time with this word. For some reason, it always came out “chicken” or “chichen”. It was a source of some amusement for me, as a crew leader would tell me that they were going to install a new sink in the chicken.

Yeah my grandpa (grandma’s 2nd hubby) was Hispanic, and he had mixed up a lot of sh and ch sounds. He pronounced my name like Ray-shell (I liked it, though).

Does the short i sound in the first syllable of kitchen appear in non-Germanic languages? My real name contains that sound, and I’ve noticed a lot of non-native-English speakers seem to want to substitute the long e sound for that sound when they say my name. German has it, but I don’t think Spanish, French, or Chinese does. If you speak a language that doesn’t have that sound, it’s not surprising you’d have trouble pronouncing it.

I’m looking at baby names, and one hint I saw if you’re trying to give your baby a name that travels internationally easily is to avoid consonant clusters. “Kitchen” has one in the middle of the word, with the “t” sound followed immediately by the “ch”. I guess it’s hard for an adult to learn to pronounce consonant clusters they’re not used to.

Those people need an ass kickin’ or a lickin’ when they’re in the kitchen with a chicken, but that’s just nit pickin’.

I think the the English distinction between short “i” and long “e” is often hard for foreigners to learn. I had an Iranian friend who in solemn tones took me aside and asked me to explain something. Their teacher had been stressing to them that when referring to a bed sheet, they should be careful to emphasize “sheeeeet”. They should not pronounce it with a short “i” no matter how much easier it is. “What means ‘shit’?” he wanted to know. Unfortunately we did not have sufficient shared vocabulary for me to explain it by words and we wound up playing a round of Charades. I bet he went back and explained it to half of his class during one of the breaks.

The last time my parents tried a new church, the minister was Korean, I think. And preaching about the parable of the lost sheep. My mom and I had the hardest time not cracking up every time he mentioned ‘the lost ship’ (My dad was asleep, of course).