Ten most mispronounced photography terms

Jul 19, 2023

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Ten most mispronounced photography terms

Jul 19, 2023

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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There are many words we learned by reading – which often results in us pronouncing them wrong. Have you ever thought about what photography terms are among the most commonly mispronounced ones? Yeah, “bokeh” certainly is one of them, but people at SimpleGhar did fun research to discover more terms that people often pronounce incorrectly. Let’s see if you do it too.

The study

SimpleGhar didn’t focus on photography only (but for the sake of this article, we will, for the most part). They first selected a list of consumer tech terms and brands from tech websites like www.gsmarena.com and https://photographycourse.net. They analyzed the tech terms in the following categories: computers, gaming, photography, and smartphones.

Next, the team used the Forvo pronunciation library to look up every term and logged the number of times each term was listened to. This allowed them to organize the terms according to their listen count, both overall and within each tech category. The term with the highest listen count was deemed the most commonly mispronounced.

“English has become the internet’s first language, accounting for 60% of the web’s content, but only 16.2% of the world speaks it. No wonder such common terms have grown multiple pronunciations,” the team explains! “Plus, there are plenty of tech words that evade the intuition of first-language English speakers.” That’s probably why the Japanese word “bokeh” is often mispronounced in the English-speaking photo community. In fact, it has even found its place on SimpleGhar’s overall list of the most mispronounced tech terms, and “GIF” also ranks pretty high:

  • Linux (li-nuhks) is the most mispronounced consumer tech term, with 267,000 listens on the pronunciation search site Forvo.
  • Samsung (sam-suhng) is the most mispronounced tech brand, with 279,000 listens.
  • Bluetooth (bloo-tooth) is the most mispronounced phone term (57,000 listens).
  • Pwned (poned) is the most mispronounced gaming term (21,000 listens).
  • Bokeh (bo-kuh) is the most mispronounced photography term (20,000 listens).

The most commonly mispronounced photography terms

Okay, let’s get to the list that concerns us the most: the photography terms. Not surprisingly, “bokeh” takes the throne, and here is the complete list:

  1. Bokeh /bow-keyh/ with 20,000 listens
  2. Aperture /ap-er-cher/ with 17,000 listens
  3. Pixel /pik-suhl/ with 12,000 listens
  4. Palette /pal-it/ with 10,000 listens
  5. JPEG /jey-peg/ with 9,200 listens
  6. Vibrance /vahy-bruhns/ with 4,200 listens
  7. Aliasing /ey-lee-uh-sing/ with 3,700 listens
  8. Lossless /law-sluhs/ with 2,900 listens
  9. Viewfinder /vyoo-fahyn-der/ with 2,800 listens
  10. Backlighting /bak-lahy-ting/ with 2,500 listens

I’ve spoken English pretty well since I was around 11 years old. I started learning photography terms around 19 or 20, mainly in English because I learned from foreign blogs… And it wasn’t before I started watching photography YouTube videos that I learned that “aperture” is not pronounced /a-PER-cher/ and should be stressed on the first, not the second syllable. But hey, I learned it by reading! :)

Are there any of these terms that you, or someone you know, often mispronounce? And have you heard any other examples of mispronounced photography terms? Drop them in the comments below, and make sure to check out SimpleGhar’s full study here.

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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2 responses to “Ten most mispronounced photography terms”

  1. Greg Silver Avatar
    Greg Silver

    Perhaps not directly related to photography but GIF is another big one.

  2. Ryu Takahashi Avatar
    Ryu Takahashi

    I am Japanese. I have never heard anyone pronouncing bokeh properly (except Japanese people of course).
    “bow-keyh” is wrong.
    It is not “bow” but short “bo”, like the one in “body”.
    And it’s not “keyh” either, but but short “ke” like the one in “kettle”.

    And more importantly, the accent is not over “Bo”, but over “Keh”.
    So we pronounce it like “bo-KE”

    Or try “bo(t)-KE(T)” with silent T.

    And one more.
    In English, people say bokeh meaning circular blurry light balls, but it is “Tama-Bikeh” in Japanese.
    “Bokeh” mean simply “out of focus”.
    So if the focus is not on your main subject, it is “bokeh”.

    Conclusion: This word is used like everything wrong in English language, meaning and pronunciation, everything.