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Want to be a world traveler? We mean one of those cool, chic kinds that can adapt to anything with a shrug and a smile. It might take some practice and a couple of mistakes, but you can learn! And the first step is being able to pronounce your destinations correctly, regardless of what your knowledge of letters tells you. This handy guide is here to help with just that. We know some of them seem counterintuitive, and that some of them might make you feel silly when you say them aloud, but trust us, it”ll make you sound more worldly in the long run.

(And yes! A lot of them are in the U.S., too!)

1. Tijuana, Mexico

Tijuana, Mexico

2. Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne, Australia

A different pronunciation is acceptable for Melbourne, Florida.

3. Brisbane, Australia

Brisbane, Australia

What we”ve learned here is that Australians don”t believe in letters.

4. Dubai

Dubai

5. Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik, Iceland

If you”re in a Nordic land, chances are that the letter j is pronounced like a y. Think about fjords and Bjork.

6. Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand

7. Spokane, Washington

Spokane, Washington

8. Beijing, China

Beijing, China

This one is actually phonetic, and we”ve still been screwing it up!

9. Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

10. Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary

This is one of the ones that might make you feel silly, because it”s not supposed to sound like that (in English, anyway), but trust the locals.

11. Phuket, Thailand

Phuket, Thailand

We know. You”re disappointed.

12. Colombia

Colombia

If you recall, the South American country is spelled with an o, not a u.

13. Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

“Louis,” in this case, borrows from a French(ish) pronunciation.

14. Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite National Park, California

The famed U.S. national park is notoriously mispronounced by foreigners, but we”re not sure where than n came from.

15. Iraq

Iraq

You might not go here for travel, but you should look worldly when discussing current events.

16. Montreal

Montreal

If you speak fast, you can get away with mispronouncing this one.

17. Mackinac Bridge, Michigan

Mackinac Bridge, Michigan

Silent c, one of the few, if not the only, specimen of its kind.

18. Qatar

Qatar

19. Thames River, U.K.

Thames River, U.K.

20. Norfolk, Virginia

Norfolk, Virginia

21. Versailles, France

Versailles, France

22. Worcester, Massachusetts

Worcester, Massachusetts

With this one (and pretty much any English-derived name ending in “ster”), it”s all about where you separate the syllables.

23. Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem, Israel

Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem, Israel

24. Helena, Montana

Helena, Montana

25. Kissimmee, Florida

Kissimmee, Florida

26. Lafayette, Louisiana

Lafayette, Louisiana

27. La Jolla, California

La Jolla, California

Spanish pronunciation here!

28. Niger

Niger

29. Pakistan

Pakistan

30. Worcestershire, U.K.

Worcestershire, U.K.

Like “Worcester,” but with “shire,” (or, “sheer,” in this case) at the end.

(via Thrillophilia)

The world is certainly an interesting place, with so many languages and blends of languages–and, of course, all the local (mis)pronunciations of names stemming from all different places. If someone says the name of your hometown wrong, don”t fret, you might mispronounce theirs as well.

Now, if anyone out there can pronounce “Poughkeepsie” correctly, I will give you five dollars.

Happy travels!

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