Pronunciation Woez

This — Not That

Heckler & Koch have made many fine, innovative designs such as this P7
(with a Robar NP3+ finish). Say “Heckler and Kokh” not “kotch” or “coke.”

If a gunwriter ever worries whether anyone actually reads his stuff, he should try writing a sentence such as this:

I blasted the big ol’ mulie through the front shoulders with a 180-grain boolit from my venerable ’06. He dropped as though hit by the Hammer of Thor.

Such a sentence would drive most gun magazine readers to distraction. “Mulie” for mule deer is a term I hate. Why not say moosie or elkie or grizzly? Oh wait, grizzly is correct. There’s another lesson, if you’re going to lecture on grammar or spelling you better never make a mistake. “Front shoulders” is redundant as animals don’t have rear shoulders. “Boolits” for bullets is okay if you are writing dialog of a conversation among a group of morons. Apparently the only time the word “venerable” is used is when discussing old cartridges. And Odin preserve me from the Hammer of Thor.

Of the various sins a gun writer can commit, saying clip instead of magazine is about the worst. I remember an editor — it may have been Roy — suggesting an autocorrect filter for every column and article to automatically change any overlooked “clip” to “magazine.” I said, what if I write a sentence and it comes out reading, “I was watching a film magazine of a secretary wearing a hair magazine making a chain of paper magazines.” Roy said, “If you do, I’ll bash you over the earhole with a loaded 30-round AR magazine the next time we meet.”

Emfasis On The Wrong Si-la-ble

It’s important to use the right word, but also important to use proper pronunciation. If you’re hanging out with some buds at the range, you don’t want to be the guy boasting about his new Say-ko rifle. No, the vulgar boasting isn’t the problem (it’s expected, we all do it), and owning a fine Sako rifle (as I do, and it’s a beauty!) certainly isn’t a problem. What marks you as a rube and a hick is the way you pronounced it. Sako, an acronym for some unpronounceable Finnish words, is pronounced “socko,” not “say-ko.” In fact you could go a step further and say “sahko” though at the risk of coming across as pretentious. Personally I’ve been a rube and a hick for decades so I always start out “Say-”, remember just too late, and end up pronouncing it “Say-socko.”

This — Not That: Let’s try a few more examples often mispronounced:

Heckler & Koch: Heckler & Kokh, not “kotch” or “coke”
Franchi: Frahn-key
Mauser: Mowzer
Carbine: rhymes with car-wine, not car-been
Leupold: Loo-pold
Kahles: Kah-less
Lapua: Lop-wah
Ogive: Oh-jive
Sabot: Sa bow
Dieudonné Saive: Doodonnay Save (Brilliant FN firearms designer and protégé of John Browning)
Meplat: Me plah
Shilen: Shill-un
Mannlicher: Man-lickr
Schönauer: Shown-ower
Lilja: Name of Swedish origin, pronounced Lil-yah in Swedish. However I have heard barrel maker Dan Lilja on videos pronouncing it Lil-ja.
Vihtavuori: Veetavoory
Steyr: Shtayar
Fabrique Nationale: Fabreek NashonAL
Geissele: GUYS-el (makers of superb AR-15 triggers)
Kreighoff: CREEK-off
Anschutz: AHN-shutz (rhymes with puts)
Perazzi: Pear-AHTZ-ee
Zeiss: Tsice.30-’06: The venerable thirty ought six
Lüger: The umlaut is just about impossible for anyone not fluent in German. Editor Roy, who took lessons in the German language, says it’s easy: “Hold your mouth as though going to say ‘oh’ and then say ‘e’ instead.” I can’t do it. I just say Looger and call it good.
Brno: Bruno
Steiner: Schtiner
Fiocchi: Fee-OH-key
Blaser: BLAHzerr
Garand: GAIRend
SAAMI: Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute or “Sammy”
Hoppe’s: Hop-ease
Walther: Val (rhymes with pal) ter
Star: Estar
Llama: Eyamma

Clips — in this case holding .250-3000 Savagecartridges — allow you to load loose
rounds rapidly. A rule of thumb though: If it has a spring (like a 1911 magazine),
it’s a magazine, not a clip.

Long ago (when newspapers still had classified ads) I came across an ad — either the Titanic of miscommunications — or more likely a gag to make the ad stand out. It ran about like this:

“For Sale: Seiko bold action thirty odd six with three two nine very able loop hole scope.” Classic! I was tempted to call even though I already have more than enough thirty odd sixes. And don’t get me started on clips vs. magazines! Thanks to Handgunner reader Meyer W. for suggesting this topic, by the way.

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