It’s Not Brooshetta

The Italian small dish featuring toasted bread, diced tomatoes, basil, onions, olive oil is many things. It is delicious. It is healthy if not entirely low-carb. It is pretty easy to make on your own. But it is definitely not called broo-SHEH-tah.

The correct pronunciation is…

Any Italian will tell you that this dish is called broo-SKEH-tah. If that sch in the middle makes you want to say sh as in sheep, you’re thinking of German.

The details

In Italian spelling, c and g are special beasts. They have a hard pronunciation before a, o, and u: c as in cake, g as in go: la casa (la KAH-zah, house), il gusto (eel GOO-stoh, taste). But before i and e, they have a soft pronunciation: ch as in church, and j as in jeep: la cena (la CHEH-nah, dinner), il gelato (eel geh-LAH-toh, ice cream). If you want to get a hard c or g before i or e in Italian, you need to bring out an h: chi (kee, who), spaghetti (you know that one).

The combination sc is pronounced sh, but only before i or e: pesce (PEH-sheh, fish), sciare (SHEEAH-reh, ski). Otherwise it’s sk: la scala (SKAH-lah, ladder). Ironically, the h in bruschetta is added so that the word is not pronounced broo-SHEH-tah. That would be bruscetta, which as far as we know doesn’t mean anything. With the sch, you get a hard k: broo-SKEH-tah.

Not that mispronouncing it will get you the wrong appetizer in an Italian restaurant. You could order some nice spa-JEH-tee as well and probably get what you want. But if you’ve ever argued with your friends or significant other – or even a server – about how this word is pronounced, there you have it.

Credit for the Batman meme goes to John, a French student of the Language Garage and apparently someone who is really peeved by this common mispronunciation.

 

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