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Say what? These are the 20 most mispronounced place names in Australia

Have you been pronouncing these Australian cities and suburbs wrong?

Melissa Woodley
Liv Condous
Written by
Melissa Woodley
Liv Condous

From “Mel-born” to “Cans” and “Briz-bin” to “Can-bra”, Australia is full of suburbs and cities that are quite the mouthful. Even if you’ve spent your entire life Down Under, there’s a good chance that you’re still stumbling over the correct pronunciation of some of them. 

For our entertainment, language learning platform Preply recently published a list of the top 20 most mispronounced Australian place names, using an analysis of Google search data to find out which places had the most travellers making a faux pas. Topping the list of confusing names was Cairns (we totally get it), followed by Melbourne’s Prahran and Victoria’s capital city itself in third (don’t worry, Melburnians will be quick to correct you if you say “Mel-born”).

Admittedly, it makes sense that Americans have an extra tough time when trying to get a grasp of how the heck the Aussie accent works. Mainly because we pronounce the letter R in words totally differently, which explains why the top three places have caused foreigners some strife. 

It’s not surprising that Tasmania’s Launceston (LONN-ses-tun) came in fourth place, while NSW’s Gloucester (“gloss-ter") ranked in fifth spot and Canberra (CAN-bra) was the sixth biggest tongue twister. 

Coogee and Bondi join the ranks as Australia’s most mispronounced beaches, and you can’t do the iconic coastal walk connecting the two without hearing them both: “Coooo-geee” and “Bond-dee”. It’s hard not to chuckle each time.

There are heaps more places in Oz that are tricky to say, and some of them are kinda unexpected. Here is the full list of the most mispronounced names in Australia: 

  1. Cairns Correct: “CANS” Incorrect: “KERNS” or “KENS”
  2. Prahran Correct: “PRAN” or “Pr–AAN” Incorrect: “Pr-AHN” or “PRA-RAN”
  3. Melbourne Correct: “MEL-burn” or “MEL-ben” Incorrect: “MEL-BORN”
  4. Launceston Correct: “LONN-ses-tun” Incorrect: “LAWN-ses-tun” or “LAWN-ston”
  5. Gloucester Correct: “GLOSS-ter” Incorrect: “GLOW-kester” or “GLOUW-sester”
  6. Canberra Correct: “CAN-bra” Incorrect: “CAN-berra”
  7. Balmain Correct: “BAL-mane” Incorrect: “bal-MAH-n
  8. Ngunnawal Correct: “NUN-nah-wol” Incorrect: “NGUN-uh-wawl”
  9. Warwick Correct: “WAWR-ik” Incorrect: “WA-rick”
  10. Derby Correct: “DER-be” Incorrect: “DAR-be”
  11. Orange Correct: “ORR-inj” Incorrect: “Ornj”
  12. Brisbane Correct: “BRIZ-bn” Incorrect: “brIHz-bAIn”
  13. Uluru Correct: “OO-luh-roo” Incorrect: “oo-loo-roo”
  14. Coogee Correct: “COULD-jee” Incorrect: “KOO-jee”
  15. Cygnet Correct: “SIG-net” Incorrect: “SIG-nuht"
  16. Bondi Beach Correct: “BON-die Beach” Incorrect: “Bond-dee Beach”
  17. Adelaide Correct: “AA-uh-laid” Incorrect: “AA-duh-lied”
  18. Kata Tjuta Correct: “KAH-tah-choor-ta” Incorrect: “ka-tuh-joo-tuh”
  19. Manuka Correct: “MAH-nah-kah” Incorrect: “maa-nuh-kuh”
  20. Geelong Correct: “JH-long” Incorrect: “JEE-long”


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