1.02.2009

Pronunciation of tofu

I've noticed that people pronounce "tofu" like to-FU. As if there's an accent on the second syllable. Maybe they think they're speaking French or something.

The pronunciation is TO-fu, because in Japanese it's 豆腐, where the first kanji is とう (tou) so the "o" is long, and the second kanji is ふ (fu), which is a short sound.

7 comments:

Emily said...

I didn't know that! I learned something new today! Yay!

mj said...

Sometimes when people say "to-FU" they're trying to sound fancy and "aware", but they don't know that it's the wrong pronunciation.

Lilly said...

I am glad to realise that I've always been pronouncing it correctly then ;-)

Anonymous said...

I was just debating the pronunciation of tofu with a friend. It's not spelled tofeux after all. This same friend insisted that the pronunciation of empire, in "empire waist" blouse is empeereh. That can't possibly be right, right?

mj said...

In English, "empire" is pronounced with a long "i" and silent "e" at the end. If people think it's pronounced the other way, then maybe they want to make that word fancy French :D

steve5312 said...

Doesn't really matter does it? So long as the other person understands you. I should imagine people who mispronounce it are doing so out of ignorance rather than trying to sound like a French aristocrat.

mj said...

It's just something I noticed, probably because we're used to stressing the second syllable of words.