Image by rvacapinta/Flickr

You guys, I love you,* you know that, but there's something we need to talk about so hard. There are so many of you who are pronouncing words in other languages incorrectly. And I get it, to a degree. This totally happens and there are def some languages that are just really really hard for people who weren't brought up with them to learn. But you guys aren't just pronouncing them wrong, you're pronouncing them WEIRD. So here's just, like a little heads up from us to you, mostly about foods, because that's what anyone in her right mind would most want to talk about:

Tijuana

Tijuana is a large and popular border city located on Mexico's Baja California Peninsula. It's a popular shopping and entertainment destination for tourists, as well as a bustling center of arts and culture. It's a nice place, with lots of stuff to do and see. And people keep pronouncing its name incorrectly.

It's not "Tiawanna." There's no "a" after the "ti."

It's "Tee-hhhwana." (The intensity of the "hhh" sound is a regional thing, so feel free to hold back or lay it on as you see fit. I'm Cuban, so I favor a lighter touch — the fewer consonants I have to pronounce, the bettah — but sometimes it's funny to really "hhhhhhhhh" it up.)

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Jalapeño

This is a delicious, spicy pepper with a nice, fresh taste. It's good raw or roasted or pickled or grilled on a George Foreman in a melty cheese sandwich. I would seriously consider marrying it.

It's not "holla-penno," nor is it "holla-peen-yo."

It's "hala-penyo." You probably know that the squiggle above the "n" is called a tilde, but maybe you don't know or care what it does! It basically makes the "n" nice and melty, like so much white cheddar in a George Foreman jalapeño grilled cheese sandwich. The "n" sort of melts into the "o." Nyo. Nyyyyoo. (Learn this sound quickly, so you can curse among Cubans.)

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Quesadilla

This is a delicious dish which, it its most basic form, is comprised of cheese melted between tortillas. Hence the name: Queso + tortilla = quesadilla.

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It's not "kayso-dilla."

It's "keh-sah-deeya." Pronounce it softly, gently. Make your syllables warm and pliable, bbs, not unlike a fresh tortilla.

Arepa

Arepas can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or at 4 a.m. after way too many Aguilas with friends. They're most typically eaten in Colombia and Venezuala, both of which have their own unique spins on the consistency, color, and sweetness of the corn cakes used to make these, as well as on the fillings nestled deliciously between them. I'm partial to both, because I like food.

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It's not "a-rape-uh."

It's "ah-reh-pa." Again, be soft with it. You know, like soft little corn cakes on a buttery griddle.

Horchata

Horchata is a beverage that varies depending what country we're talking about. It can be made with rice, almonds, something called "nut grass" in English (which: lololol), or various types of seeds, and usually has a milky appearance and texture, sweetened by cinnamon or vanilla and other yummy things. Anyone you ask is going to have a different take on the "right" way to make and flavor horchata. There's even this version, which, not to brag or anything, but I helped inspire.

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It's not "whore-chadda."

It's "or-chata." The "h," in Spanish, is silent. Silent like me creeping up behind you to steal your George Foreman jalapeño grilled cheese sandwich.

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Tamale/Tamal

There is no such thing as a "tamale" in Spanish. It's an anglicized version of the word "tamal," which is a food made from a starchy dough, usually elote/corn-based, found throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. They can be sweet or savory, and are often cooked in some type of leaf situation, like a plantain leaf or a corn husk. They have a range of textures, colors, ingredients and flavors, but all are pretty much amazing.

It's not "ta-molly."

It's "tah-mahl." Or, since words go change and blend and give way to regional preference and custom, "tamale." I just would never order one that way.

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Ok, time for a snack.

*This is a lie.