Pho Pronunciation: You Can Say It, Pronounce Pho, Say: Phở...
dvlachos: Thanks for sharing this story. I think a Laotian should have no problem pronouncing Viet, and vice versa. On more than one occasion I have tried to explain to an American friend the following facts.
Many Vietnamese, both young and old, and especially those more fluent in English, in an effort to assimilate themselves in American life, have deliberately pronounced Vietnamese words incorrectly while teaching their American friends how to say Viet words (using an American accent no less!) This is because of the following reasons: 1) it's easier for Americans to learn, 2) it takes less time to teach (instead of repeating 20 times and still not getting it,) and 3) it doesn't make them sound foreign. As many can attest, not sounding foreign in the U.S. is the way to get accepted.
This seemingly innocent practice has actually caused lots of misunderstanding and confusion about how Vietnamese words are pronounced, and you guessed it, pho included. It's quite bad to the point that some of these Vietnamese even avoid speaking Vietnamese in the presence of Americans. I'm sure you have experienced similar situations.
How about fa, as in do re me fa so la tee doe..the music scale? Is this closer?
JimH, thanks for the question, but the pronunciation is as demonstrated above.
FINALLY someone who knows what the hell they're talking about AND provides an audio file to boot!! Thank you!
Santiago: Thanks for visiting and your kind words. Glad you found the pho audio files useful.
For those who lack speakers, it is pronounced "phaw," as in "paw" or "raw."
Dear GB: Thanks for the help, but regretfully your method contributes to the misinformation that is rampant on the Internet. "phaw" is not the pronunciation of phở. In fact it's not even close. The purpose of the audio files on this site is to provide readers a way to hear how the words should be pronounced correctly. Any other methods, including your suggestion, using similarly pronounced English words would be lacking to say the least.
So there's a restaurant in my town named Pho King. Am I to understand that it is actually pronounced "f[edited]?" Because that's pretty hilarious to me.