A recent study has revealed the most mispronounced name in the world, and interestingly enough, it turns out to be an Irish one.
A study, based on Forvo data analysed by WordFinderX, revealed the most hard-to-pronounce names from different countries and cultures. Forvo is a website that helps people with the pronunciation of difficult words by providing them with playable audio clips to learn from.
As Irish names can be famously difficult for English speakers to read and pronounce, perhaps it should come as no surprise that an Irish name made the top of the list when it came to the world’s most mispronounced names.
The popularity of Irish names – beloved names worldwide
As Irish people have well-established roots all over the world and with Irish heritage being so prominent across many cultures and countries, it naturally means that Irish names are popular all over the world, too.
The most popular names in America over the last century clearly reflect that Irish Americans make up approximately 10% of the nation, with more than 31.5 million residents in the United States claiming Irish ancestry.
The latest statistics from resources like Social Security Administration data have highlighted the fact that Irish names are still going strong in America, with traditional names like James and Mary still proving to be very popular.
Seán – the world’s most mispronounced name
The name Seán first came into Ireland following the Norman Invasion in the 12th century when the Irish adapted the anglicised version of John to their own spelling and pronunciation, which converted it into the name Seán that we all know now.
In Irish, Seán means ‘gracious’ or ‘gift from God’. It is an Irish variant of the Hebrew name John and is also believed to be inspired by the French name Jean. The anglicised spelling variations of Seán include Shaun and Shawn.
The lists of mispronounced names – the hardest-to-pronounce names
While Seán topped the list of mispronounced Irish names by a large margin, it was followed on the list by the name Saoirse, which was entered into Forvo 293,000 times.
In third place on the list was Siobhan, with 256,000 searches. The rest of the list was comprised of the following names: Ryan, Liam, Éire, Deirdre, Mare, Kevin, Aisling, Tara, Aidan, Caitlin, Alan, Ciara, Niamh, Murphy, Sorcha, Brian, and Maeve.
The global top 20 ranking of hard-to-pronounce names across the world featured two Irish names overall, with Seán once again topping that particular list and Saoirse finishing in 20th place. The full study can be viewed here.