The last name of Greek tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas, along with the name for the latest coronavirus variant, “Omicron,” have been deemed some of the most commonly mispronounced words this year by the US Captioning Company.
The company, which provides subtitles for live TV, asked its staff to list the words that have been giving people the most trouble on air in 2021. The survey, which has been conducted for six years, was taken in collaboration with the language-learning platform Babbel.
Many of the tricky words concern viral memes and popular internet trends, current events, and notable people in sports, politics, and music.
Some of the other words on the list include the city of Glasgow, (“glaz-go”), Scotland where the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference was held, and the cryptocurrencies DogeCoin (“dohj-coin”) and Ethereum (“ih-thee-ree-um”).
The omicron variant proves difficult to pronounce for many
After the new variant of the coronavirus, originally from southern Africa, was named “omicron” after a letter in the Greek alphabet, people around the world soon began struggling with its pronunciation, including US President Joe Biden, who famously called it “omnicron” at the outset.
Even the New York Times published a pronunciation guide for non-Greeks who have been wrestling with the tricky pronunciation of the word that is now heard everywhere.
Although no one expects non-Greek speakers to pronounce the word with perfect accuracy, Greek-American comedian Gus Constantellis seized the opportunity to generate some much-needed laughter about the name of the latest covid variant.
This is what every Greek person feels like now: pic.twitter.com/lzHpCmXmlk
— Gus Constantellis (@ConstantlyGus) December 1, 2021
Pronunciation of Greek tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas’ name
Greek tennis giant Stefanos Tsitsipas, who is currently ranked fourth best in the world, has also fallen victim to countless failed attempts at pronouncing his last name.
For English speakers, a good guide would be “TSEE-tsee-pas;” the “ts” sound is almost like the hissing sound made when opening up the cap on a two-liter bottle of soda.
This is why Tsitsipas has spoken numerous times of his goal to make tennis popular in Greece, which includes moving up in the ranks of the best players in the world.
He was the youngest men’s finalist at Roland Garros since Rafael Nadal won the title in 2008, and was trying to become the first Greek to win a Grand Slam title.
Tsitsipas went through elbow surgery in late November, but is looking to get ready for the season in Dubai and then participate in the upcoming Australia Open.