Hello and welcome to my pronunciation guide, a constantly updated list of the peppers I use and how they’re pronounced.
If you want any more info on why they’re pronounced the way they are, just click their names and you’ll be taken to the post where I first explained them.
Chipōtle – “chil-poke-t-lay”: Said with L and K sounds that are mouthed but not spoken, affecting the way that the next sound starts. If that’s too much trouble, though, do feel free to leave them out. Noone will notice.
The main things to be aware of are that the “o” is like that in “note”, not “not” and that the “le” is not the same as the one in “kettle” at all.
Jalapeño – “ha-la-pen-yo”: Spanish Js are pronounced like Hs and that little squiggle (called a tilde) makes the N into an Ny.
Habanero – “ha-√a-nair-oh”: Typically pronounced with a H but more correctly without. I’m using a square root sign here to denote a sound that’s half B and half V but you can get away with just a B if you need to.
Ají Limon (or Lemondrop) – “ahh-hee lee-mon”: With a longer than normal A, perhaps resembling the satisfied sigh when you slip into bath water just the right heat.
Ají Rojo – “ahh-hee roe-hoe”: More spanish Js and Os like in “note”. Nothing complicated here.
Ají Amarillo – “ahh-hee a-ma-ree-yo”: The double L has a very different pronunciation from region to region but “eey” is the most common and widely accepted among spanish speakers.
Ají Habanero – “ahh-hee ha-√a-nair-oh”: Just the name “Habanero” tacked onto an Ají variety. It’s not even related to a real hab.
Cheiro Roxa – “shay-roe roe-sha”: This pepper’s portuguese Ch and X both resemble an Sh but, aside from that, it’s pretty simple to say.
Fidalgo Roxa – “fih-dal-goe roe-sha”: Even easier, only the X is counterintuitive in the second chilli of the roxa family.
Cereja Roxa – “seh-re-ha roe-sha”: But, for the third, we see the return of that spanish, H-like J and a C that acts like an S. The X, however, is the same as its siblings.
Note: This is not the official name of any pepper but one that I came up with to make the CGN21500 less awkward to recall.
Chilhuacle Rojo – “chil-wahh-klee roe-hoe”: Pronounced with “unvoiced” letters like the Chipotle and the same ending and long A from the Ají Rojo. A rare pepper but a logical name.
Chilhuacle Amarillo – “chil-wahh-klee a-ma-ree-yo”: Pronounced with “unvoiced” letters like the Chipotle and the same ending and long A from the Ají Amarillo. A rare pepper but a logical name.
Chilhuacle Negro – “chil-wahh-klee nee-groe”: Pronounced with “unvoiced” letters like the Chipotle and the same long A from the Ají types. The spanish word for black has some unfortunate connotations out of context but it’s an innocent and flavourful pepper.
Bhut Jolokia (ভোট জলকীয়া in assamese script, translated as “Ghost Pepper”) – “bahht-zhoe-luh-kee-yahh”: The “Bhut” is pronounced with a long A like some people say “bath”, only with a hard T instead of a Th. The second word starts with a french J like the S in “erasure”, ends with a long A and has a short, almost U-like A in the middle, similar to how most people say the last one in “america”.
Pusa Jwala – “poo-sa jwahh-lahh”: A rather milder (than the Bhut at least) indian pepper named for its flavour (Pusa) and intense fire (Jwala). Its U is a long one like the “oo” in “boot” and the first A is a short one like in “animal” but two that follow are more like the long one of the Ají strains. The “Jwa” can be a little tough, since it’s a syllable never seen in english, but words like “swat” and “twitch” can at least give you an idea of how the W works between a vowel and consonant.
Voatsiperifery – “voo-a-tsee-pay-ree-fay-ree”: A rare black peppercorn varient with some rather unusual sounds in its name. Think of its “voa” as being like sewer, only with a V in place of the S and a nice short, “animal”-like A to end it, whilst the “tsi” shouln’t be too difficult for anyone who can say the “tsu” in tsunami”. Good luck.
Timut – “tee-moot”: An equally obscure, szechuan style of peppercorn from nepal, where the native language doesn’t have our short vowels like the I in “igloo” or U in “ugly”. Officially, there is still a difference between a long II and the shorter “ee” sound in “Timut” but it’s not exactly an obvious one. The second is simply held for a split second less.
They’re all spicy peppers, though, be they fruit or corn, and their names are all of great interest to me. Each one holds subtle clues to another culture’s fiery cuisine and many have completely changed my own pronunciation while I was researching for this segment.
So, while I’m confident that what’s written here is now as accurate as I can make it, I’m still happy to change it again if that ever turns out to be false. Just hit me up via the contact me page and let me know if any corrections are needed.
Until then, thanks for reading,
Your friend, Coran “Spicefreak” Sloss.