Pronunciation of Design Terms

Have you ever come to a point when you are about to say a word out loud & realize that you've never actually spoken it before & are unsure of the pronunciation? You've read it a thousand time & know its definintion but are now embarrassed to say it?

I think this happens a lot to book worms (myself included) who've been reading a word for years & have never looked up its pronunciation. Being mostly self-taught, when I first started out in this field a couple of years ago, I realized there were lots of design terms that fell into this category. (And I'm sure I'll run into more.) I thought I'd share a few that I hear pronouced differently all the time and others that rarely get spoken out loud. I looked them up to get non-biased pronunciations:


Damask: "damn-esk" (with the emphasis on the first syllable)




Jacquard: "Jack-ard" (with emphasis on the first syllable)


Ikat: "ee-kot"



Chinoiserie: "Sheen-waz-er-ee" (image from here)



Patina: "pa-tee-na" or "pa-tin-a"



Grisaille: "griz-ai" (pronounced just like "Versailles") Click here to read a previous post on them.




Etagere: "Ay-taj-eir" (with "taj" pronounced like the "taj" in "Taj Mahal") (image from here)




Klismos: "kliz-moss"



And finally, a name I hear pronounced every which way to Sunday is "Vicente Wolf." Now I'm not sure exactly how he pronounces his name himself, but looking up the pronunciation of "Vicente" you get "Vee-sent-ee"... we might have to "ask Vicente!"


I'm sure a lot of you have probably known these terms for years but maybe some of you, like me, are newer to the design world or had just never spoken the words out loud. (I mean honestly, how many times does the word "grisaille" come up in causal conversation?!) I think it's important for us all to be okay asking questions and to be okay admitting we don't know it all. You learn so much more once you've realized how much you have yet to learn.

xoxo,

lauren


ps- I know I've forgotten a bunch so if there are any more of these words that we hear pronouced lots of diffferent ways or anything you're just unsure of, be sure to mention it in the comments section! I'll post them below! :)
Matelasse: "Maht-luh-sey"

44 comments:

EAC said...

Thank you...and "matelasse"

Karen@StrictlySimpleStyle said...

You may have saved hundreds of us from embarrassing ourselves. I have actually never heard anyone pronounce the word Ikat. Thanks for the lesson in pronunciation!

Isabella & Max Rooms said...

Yes, I just had to ask about Ikat the other day. I love this post!
Janell

Abbey G. said...

I'm making my husband read this. I do this all the time (ALL THE TIME) and he doesn't understand it. THANKS!

Kay* said...

what a great topic for a post!

the word i always hesitate saying out loud is 'luxe.' my initial thought is to pronounce it...actually, now i'm confusing myself. gotta go look it up.

J. Fudo said...

Wainscot or wainscoting (pronounced /wān'skät/ in American English, /wān'skət/ in British English) is a paneling style applied to the lower 3' (900mm) to 5' (1500mm) of an interior wall, below the dado rail or chair rail and above the baseboard or skirting board

J. Fudo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beki said...

I'm with the others on "ikat". I have a friend who continues to pronounce toile as though it rhymes with foil.

LindsB said...

This is too funny! Before I finished reading I was like hmm, I ALWAYS say matelasse wrong, I wonder if she did that one- and there it was :)

MyLittleHappyPlace said...

Wow, I've been butchering ikat! ;)

my favorite and my best said...

i can proudly say i have been pronouncing all of these words correctly and i am no designer. for me, this is a gift from god. and that is the ability to spell most (most..not ALL) words correctly having never heard them. now, ask me any simple math question and i am slightly retarded.

Smitten Design said...

What a great post. I never knew how to say chinoiserie.

Susan said...

This is a fantastic subject!

If you're interested in more of these kinds of design related terms defined and phonetically explained, there's a neat web magazine type site called plinth and chintz dot com that has a huge glossary of terms. I've spent hours there taking notes LOL!
Love the blog Lauren!

Barbara said...

Thanks for this post! I have always wanted to know how to pronounce "chinoiserie". You are right we read about it in the magazines and books but never dare to say them out loud!

Elizabeth (blue clear sky) said...

I knew them all except Ikat! I was reading it like the kitty. The one that makes me smile though is when bloggers write "VIOLA" (the flower) instead of the intended french VOILA. Just two letters reversed, but a whole different meaning.

tricia said...

loved this post! there are so many words in design that i realize i'm not sure how to pronounce when i'm calling design showrooms to request memo samples, and then i'm thinking "this showroom salesperson must think i'm a design fraud (i swear i work at a design firm!)"....note to self, plan ahead, look up pronunciations BEFORE i call!

Struggler said...

I was struck by how many of these seem to have French origins or influences. There are certainly a lot easier to pronounce if you did French in High School.
I'm pretty sure the Brits would say some of these differently. In fact, I being originally from the UK, I just apply that to anything I say if people look at me strangely!!

Unique Unique Design said...

What a great post! When I read a word I can think it in my head however I want, but scary when you have to say it to someone. I do the same thing in the plant world.
Nice to know I'm not alone!
marcie

Susan said...

What a fun post! Thanks for sharing.

Vicente's name is pronounced ViNcent (the usual English way) and only his Cuban country-men refer to him as Vi-cen-tee when they speak to one another in Latin.

xxx

Jess @ Frugal with a Flourish said...

I love this!! I always catch myself on some of these! Thanks for stopping by earlier today!

Thomas said...

you are so kind. love this post!

Natalie said...

Ha! Great post. Thank you.

Tara said...

I hate hearing armoire mispronounced. It's not arm-wah, it's arm-war. Am I right?

Gena said...

Lovely post! it's true - so many words and terms which we take for granted until you need to "voice" them. Incidentally Armoire is ahrm (not arm) wahr (the sound is ah)...... Gena

Velvet and Linen said...

I think I have mispronounced all of these words at least once!
I'm going to have to keep this post on my desktop.

xo
Brooke

Greet said...

Lauren,
Seeing all these beautiful fabrics and things, I really don't worry about the pronounciation of it anymore!
Beautiful post!

Greet

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

"ee-kot"...Who knew?

Not I.

Maria Killam said...

I love this post Lauren! I totally agree, and I loved the way you introduced this conversation, "we go to say it out loud and suddenly don't know how to say it!" so great, just like you!!
x
Maria

Windlost said...

So funny - I knew how to pronounce all of them except matelasse, which I just said the other day and laughed at your opening lines, because as I opened my mouth, I realized I had never said it aloud before!!

And yes, I think Vicente should be the Spanish pronunciation as you mentioned. It drove me crazy when the Skirted Roundtable called him Vin-cent but MAYBE that is what he calls himself in the USA. Probably no one says it right. TO me, he is "Vi-sent-ay" until I am corrected!!

haha.

And Americans say chaise "lounge" while we say chaise "laawng" in the french fashion.

Great post!! So many other terms, I am sure, will come to mind...

Cuz'in Terri xo

Chic Coles (Cole Design) said...

You are so right. Of course it is so important to ask questions! Great post.

Things That Inspire said...

I am still not sure how to pronounce the second part of Toile de Jouy - I got the 'toile' part down, but not sure about the 'Jouy' part!

Visual Vamp said...

You a great teacher!

If you're still up tonight would you do me a favor and vote for me - I'm in this little contest, and I'm losing by about 40 votes. You have a couple of hours left - the vote is for today Wednesday. Thanks xo xo
Here's the link:

http://contests.apartmenttherapy.com/2009/color/main/faceoff/60

stacey costello said...

And there is always the one that drives me CRAZY!!!
Ralph Lauren...
Not Ralph Lau..ren'( sp) Hopefully you get my drift.
He is American...Not from France!


Sorry I guess that's my hot button!
lol
Great Post and your are just too cute!
:)

Stacey

Stacey

interiorblogging said...

I have totally been saying ikat wrong. Thanks for the tips.

ennistbp said...

How about eglomisse? I love the way that word sounds even more than I like the accessories!

Gena said...

Hey Lauren, I linked my recent post on French Decor to this post of yours - ease of reference for decor terminology.
thanks gena
http://naturallyinspireddesigns.blogspot.com

Cote de Texas said...

he pronounces Vin-cent
like an american - we asked him before the interview on the skirted roundtable, hehe!!

Sidney Wagner said...

Great post! I have to tell you this story-I called to place a fabric order for a pink linen called Petal Pink. The lady said "ok so 13 yards of Pa-tall Pink." I couldn't help laughing! I mispronounce many things (I am sure) but Petal? It is a pink fabric that looks like rose petals! ha!

inner_child said...

Two years late here, lol! I found your post when searching for how to pronounce Vicente Wolf's name after discovering there was one 'n' not two! I wondered if it had a more Italian pronunciation.
I am enthralled with your post and have another favorite frequently mispronounced design term, chaise longue, so often pronounced "chase lounge" rather than "chezz long".
Beautiful post!
Paula ~ Mise en scène

Hannah Fame said...

I was dying to know about ikat, thank you. RE: Vicente Wolf though, I had the same thought and confronted a former coworker who knew him personally and for some odd reason, he actually goes by Vincent, his entire design team calls him that, no idea why. It bugs me too! xox

marie grabo said...

Thanks for that, I've been mispronouncing ikat for a long time.

ashley.zel said...

I've been saying eye-cat with confidence! And we went to a showroom today and my friend said, that sales lady must not know what eye-cat is she was looking at you like you were crazy! Then I thought *gasp* I've never heard anyone other than myself say it!!! Sure enough.. ee-kot?? I would never have guessed.

kathie said...

Just had looked up online how to pronounce ikat before I came across your post! Love it. I often use one of two sites to learn word pronunciations:
http://www.merriam-webster.com
http://www.howjsay.com

Windows by Melissa said...

Totally didn't know ikat was pronounced that way. Yowza!

M.

windowsbymelissa.blogspot.com