Pho Pronunciation: You Can Say It, Pronounce Pho, Say: Phở...  

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chuynh
Posts: 410
(@chuynh)
Pho Restaurant Consultant
Joined: 11 years ago

Hi Samantha: Thanks for the good words. I'll definitely take your suggestions into account for future recordings, and probably will go back to redo some existing ones to improve quality.

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Lawrence Pascua
Posts: 1
 Lawrence Pascua
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(@Lawrence Pascua)
Joined: 9 years ago

Thanks Cuong... I've always wondered this. I am a Filipino American, and pretty sensitive to the nuance. I've never been confident about ordering Pho, having to say it. I am now, practicing, and building my confidence before I do so, instead of pointing to the picture of the dish. I love pho! The audio files you posted are most helpful! Aloha, for your great care of your culture and language!

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chuynh
Posts: 410
(@chuynh)
Pho Restaurant Consultant
Joined: 11 years ago

Hello Lawrence: Thanks so much for the good words, and I'm glad I've helped. I'm sure you'll enjoy pho even more now 😉 You are absolutely right! I think we all should take great care of each of our own culture and language, especially when it comes to our PHỞ!! Yeah!

I understand there are lots of pho places to enjoy in Hawaii. Lucky you.

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kris
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 kris
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i love this. i may send it to all those i know who sound like asses when they repeatedly say "foe" even when i try to discretely correct them. or maybe i'll just let them say "foe" and smile as i laugh hysterically inside.

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Barrynominal
Posts: 1
 Barrynominal
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So how do you pronounce it? You put it in a sentence, which I read, but did not spell it differently to differentiate the way it's said 🙁 I'm on my phone, so I can't listen to audio if that is the case...

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chuynh
Posts: 410
(@chuynh)
Pho Restaurant Consultant
Joined: 11 years ago

Hi Barrynominal: The audio files accompanying this article are Flash audio files so if you are on a mobile phone, you may not get to hear them properly. You will need a Flash-supported browser to listen to them. I apologize.

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Krista
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 Krista
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Phở translated to English is Pho... which is pronounced like "Foe."

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1 Reply
chuynh
(@chuynh)
Joined: 11 years ago

Pho Restaurant Consultant
Posts: 410

Hi Krista: Pho doesn't really translate to anything in English, just like sushi or taco. So the choice becomes to say pho in an authentic way or saying it in anglicized way. I would say "foe" is a poor way of saying pho either way. This is why the audio files are provided.

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Elisabeth
Posts: 1
 Elisabeth
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Joined: 9 years ago

I can appreciate your desire to show us what the correct pronunciation is, and I have a multicultural/multilingual background (I'm American, grew up in Europe and mother is Scandinavian) so I definitely get it. But once a food becomes part of the local culture, it gets a local version of its name. Pho is now not only a vietnamese word but also an American/English word and presumably a word in many other languages.

Do you eat Mexican food? Taco and burrito are now also English words. I've never heard someone be criticized for pronouncing them as such. Now, if they went to Mexico and ordered them there with the American version of the words, especially if they were ordering in Spanish, that would grate on my ears, but using them in American-English conversation it's ridiculous to suddenly put on a 'correct' spanish accent for one word. Actually it's more than ridiculous, it's pretentious.

I'm a salsa instructor and my husband's first language is Spanish. Nothing bugs me more than people who walk up to us and try to be more 'authentic' and give the correct pronunciation of a handful of spanish-based terms, or even my husband's name (which is actually the English George, not Jorge) in the middle of English conversation. Salsa is now an English word. When used in English conversation, by an English speaker, it's appropriate to pronounce it as such. Actually my sons' names aren't even American/English (or Spanish!) so when I introduce them, I pronounce their names with an American accent, because that's appropriate, not because I want to make it easier for those lousy Americans with lazy tongues.

I am critical of the lazy-tongued Americans at other times though. Like when they say "chipoltee" for "chipotle". Come on, look at how the word is spelled! But I think it's unfair and unrealistic to be critical of those who pronounce Pho in an Anglicized way when it is now an English word. Just my two cents. I guess though, maybe I need to stop saying 'foe'. I guess it depends on what the accepted pronunciation ends up being (which is decided organically by the population using it) for this new English word.

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