Malayali (or rather Indian) pronunciation errors

A visitor to this blog named Mathew has posted a comment to my blog post about Sreemathi teacher’s English. I found the comment useful because I make many of the pronunciation errors that he pointed out and he has put it in a way that is easy to understand the mistake and correct it. So here it is as a post for the benefit of others like me. Feel free to add to the list if you find any. And thank you, Mathew.


kangaroo (the worst offended word malayalees pronounce as “kanGAROO” instead of “KANgaroo”)

mixed, fixed (pronounced as miksed, fiksed instead of miksd, fiksd)

bear, pear (pronounced as ‘biyar’, ‘piyar’ instead of ‘bare’ and ‘pare’)

Queen (prounounced as “kyuun” instead of “kween”)

form (pronounced as ‘farum’ instead of “fom”)

biennale (pronounced as “binale” instead of “bienale”)

place names – Ohio, Seattle, Utah (pronounced as “ohiyo, seetl, ootha” instead of “ohayo, siyatl, yuta”

Tortoise (pronounced as ‘tortois’ instead of “totis” )

turtle (pronounced as ‘turrrtl’ instead of “tutl” )

Mascot Hotel (pronounced as “muskat HOtel” instead of “MAScot hoTEL”

heart (pronounced as ‘hurrt’ instead of “haat”)

bass (pronounced as ‘baas’ instead of “base”)

twitter (pronounced as “tyooter” instead of “twiter”

birthday (pronounced as “birthaday” instead of “buthdei”

garage (pronounced as “garej” instead of “gaRAZH”)

chassis (pronounced as “chasis” instead of “shasi”)

February (pronounced as “fibruari” instead of “februari”)

28 thoughts on “Malayali (or rather Indian) pronunciation errors”

  1. Also the way ‘o’ is pronounced in general, examples – Boss, Job

    Boss – Pronounced like Bose (similarly Job)

    Circuit – Pronounced as sar-cute instead of sarkit

  2. This is a great post. Better is if we can have a recording to HEAR these pronunciations. I have heard many of them. Here’s another….

    Again what I heard as an American was:

    “Want some lace?”

    What they really meant after some investigation (as there was no context)….

    “Want some Lays?” :)

    (As in Lays potato chips?)

  3. another thing i have noticed is whenever there is 2 letters coming together we think it’s like in malayalam. like sunny. in malayalam we stress the 2 Ns whereas in english we don’t do that.

  4. Some more examples:

    beer (pronounced as “biiir” instead of “biye”) – I thought this was only pronounced by Jagathy in a movie, but when I read I found that there are malayalees who pronounce this way

    auto (pronounced as “aaato” instead of “otto”)

    one (pronounced as “onn” instead of “wun”)

    divorce (pronounced as “daiverse” instead of “divors”) – I heard this in lots of malayalam serials

  5. English is “ing gleesh–ഇംഗ്ലീീീീീീീീഷ്” for most of us instead of “ing glish–ഇംഗ്ലിഷ്”

  6. I had hard time convincing someone about “four loop” instead of for loop. Similarly my wife corrects me whenever i pronounce “kangaaroo” :)
    I wasn’t aware of Tortoise.

    Check to get pronunciation from UK, US etc. This will help you to understand the difference between UK and US.

  7. sandeep – But how do you tell apart four and for!

    Thanks for the link. And yeah, the classic ‘alaaRum!’ :-D

  8. Bury – pronounced as bari. Actual pronunciation is beri

    Poem is another I have a tough time telling myself to call it ‘pome’

    But, if UK and US can have their own pronunciation and call that right, why not the Indian way and have it right?

  9. Have you heard of Sulthan Batheri in Wayanad? It is actually the English word “Sultan’s Battery” meaning Tipu Sultan’s army. But malayalees have degraded the name to ‘Sulthan Batheri’. See how easily Malayalees murder English words!!!

  10. The place name ‘Soolthan Batheri’ in Wyanad is actually Sultan’s Battery which means the location of Tipu Sultan’s battery of army.

  11. The average Malayalee also pronounces the ending ‘ers’ as ‘ezhs’ instead of ‘es’. Eg: jewellers, brothers, sisters etc

  12. I’m personally ok with us Indians having our own pronunciations rather than having to imitate the way others would pronounce certain words. If folks can find French-accented English sexy and cool, I’m absolutely fine with Indian-accented English. I DO however have an issue with folks using (or, misusing) the word “audien” as some sort of a singular form of “audience”. The former simply does not exist! It’s audience – plain and simple!

  13. The average Malayalee also pronounces the ending ‘ers’ as ‘ezhs’ instead of ‘es’. Eg: jewellers, brothers, sisters etc.
    The pronunciation is there so in American English
    Say For Example caRR
    Caa- British English
    Caazh American

  14. The Malayalees who speak Manglish also use certain English phrases incorrectly. For eg: Instead of “Don’t mention”, they say “No Mention” and instead of “By the way”, they say “By the By”!

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