Pronouncing "Staten Island" and "goulash"


Is it “Staten” as in “hat” or “hate”? And I haven’t the slightest clue about “goulash”.

I’m not American but had a friend from Staten Island and she always pronounced it **Stat-urn[/br] with the stress on the first part, almost swallowing the second. Almost “Stat-u”. So it is as in “hat”.

Goulash, well I’m not Hungarian either but we pronounce it “Goooo-lar-sh”.

I asked because I have to say these on stage…they’re in the lines of a play I’m acting in. If I get the pronunciations wrong and everyone in the audience goes snicker snicker, be it on your head, notquitekarpov!!

I’ll trust you, though. :slight_smile:

Thank you!

Thanks! But I cannot be trusted…

My post should have read that swallowing the second half of Stat-urn produces something more like Stat-un.

And maybe Goo-lash (not too long on the goo!).

I’m from the SE of England and we put an “r” in after our “a”'s to make a long aa (so it would be “graarss” rather than “grass”, as you go north in England the "a"s get shorter).

I guess what I am saying if you really want to be pronouncing gloulash correct we need to wait for our Hungarian dopers to appear but I am reasonably confident my suggestion will not provoke giggles!

Break a leg! as they say in the theatre, no?

NYC native and eater of goulash for many years checking in…

notquitekarpov’s second post is close. Accent on the first syllable in both cases.

STAT-en (“a” sound as in “hat”)
GOO-lahsh (“a” sound in the second syllable like “a” in “father”)

Doing a play in Singapore that mentions Staten Island and goulash? Sounds interesting. :slight_smile: What play is it, if I may ask?

You may certainly ask, sunfish!
I’m acting/directing Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park. If you’ve seen it performed on stage, or have watched the movie, I’m Corie Bratter.

Thank you for the clarification regarding the correct pronunciations.

Oh cool - sounds like a blast! Let me second the “break a leg” wish to you.

I’m an American and I’ve always pronounced it STAT-en (sounds like hat)

I’ve heard Goulash pronounced either GOO-lash or GOO-losh, but not being Russian, I wouldn’t know the original pronounciation. :slight_smile:

Or dudette, as the case may be. Don’t have a dictionary? Consider this for future reference:

Had no idea they provided sound clips too, Earl. That goes right into my Favourites!

Definitions with audio pronunciations can also be found at:


No, no, no.

It’s “Styiiiih-ten Oyland”.

Put your nose into it.

I know how to pronounce Lawn Guylin.

The correct pronounciation of “Staten Island” is easily illuminated by recounting the story of its origin.

Giovanni da Verrazzano was the first European to sail into New York harbor, and is in fact named for the bridge he discovered there (prior to that, he had been named Giovanni Outerbridge). On sighting the land in question, Verrazzano spied the natives, cousins to the well known Mowhawk Indians, with their distinctive traditional hair-dos rising feet above their heads and lips brightly stained by the local berries. He naturally assumed that the area must be contiguous with nearby New Jersey. When he attempted to question a crewman on this point, his thick Foreign accent would permit only a broken, “'S dat 'n island?” The crewman believed his captain was pronouncing a name for the new land, the right of all discoverers, and it was recorded into History.

:dubious: You do realize that posting blatantly false answers in GQ is frowned upon epolo?

Do you realize you’ve been whooshed? (I.e., missed the jokiness of an apparent joke.) :smiley:

Being an English/American/German (Goulasch) word which doesn’t even describe the same dish as the Hungarian Gulyás, (which is actually a soup), I’d say Goo-lash to describe the generic stew that goes by that name in most restaurants west of Hegyeshalom.

The Hungarian pronunciation of “Gulyás” sounds something like Goo-yaash, although some speakers will barely perceptibly pronounce the “L” in the middle, but only as a very delicate trip of the tongue between the two syllables.

So I’d say that when referring to what you call Goulash (even the spelling has been anglicised), best to use the English pronunciation, which probably varies from region to region just like most other English words, but to my ears usually sounds like Goo-lash.

BTW, what is usually called Goulash in English is actually more akin to the Hungarian dish Pörkölt, which is a thick stew with paprika in it.

PS: Nutwrench,

This priceless quote of yours

probably confirms the suspicions many East Europeans already have about Americans… :smack:

Based on all the replies and cross-replies, I can honestly say I never knew I asked such a complicated question!

Makes everything sound very Popeye, if I do.

My family lived on Staten Island for generations, and we always pronounced it something like “Stah - in” (like hat, no second T) Island. We also called Staten Island’s Midland Beach “Middleland” beach. My grandmother said she never heard anyone from Staten Island pronounce it “Staten” or Midland before they built that damn bridge (the Verrazzano).

I know it was supposed to be a joke. Doesn’t make it any less false.