Tuesday, January 10, 2012

To-may-tin, To-mah-tin

By now, I'm used to the fact that Americans can't know how to pronounce a brand of single malt Scotch whisky unless they've heard someone else pronounce it first. (Sort of like how you need someone to tell you which wild mushrooms are edible before you can spot them yourself.)

Some pronunciations can be guessed via the "What Would Scotty Say?" principle. Surely no true Scotsman would rhyme "Glenfiddich" with "rich."

Others can be guessed via the "It must be pronounceable by human mouths" principle: one way or another, the "h" in Laphroaig has got to be silent, right?

Still, it's hard to sound both confident and casual when you're blindly guessing.

So I was happy to find (via @ChooseAWhisky) Esquire's Scotch Pronunciation Guide, featuring Scottish actor Brian Cox in quite possibly the best acting gig (as measured in drams per unit effort) the forces shaping Western Civilization have yet produced.

Now there's no need for Americans to limit themselves to ordering the Glenlivet -- unless, of course, that's what they want. (Or if they're in one of the 93% of American bars whose stock of single malt consists of that one bottle of Glenlivet 12 yo that's been there longer than the bartender, but that's a problem for another day.)

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