[top photo: The yacht of Australian Rocky Donald floats off the Thai resort island Phuket]
SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Nothing can make a traveller feel more clueless than mispronouncing the name of a local destination, but it's easily done.
Editors and users of travel website VirtualTourist.com have some up with a list of "The World's Top 10 Most Mispronounced Places." The list is not endorsed by Reuters.
"As confounding as IKEA product names, these gems consistently trip up even the most intrepid globetrotters," said general manager Giampiero Ambrosi.
1. Phuket, Thailand
This is definitely not a good one to learn the hard way and to make it even more difficult, advice on the correct way to pronounce it can vary. To avoid scowls, general disdain, and possibly worse, go with "Pu-get."
2. Mooball, Australia
While Mooball may sound like a cute term of bovine endearment, it's actually pronounced "Moo-bull."
3. La Jolla, California
What does the sport of boxing have in common with beautiful La Jolla, California? Not much except to get this one right, you need to rhyme it with the boxer, Oscar de la Hoya.
4. Oaxaca, Mexico
For non-Spanish speakers, the chances of mangling this one are pretty high. Just remember that there's no "hoax" in Oaxaca and that Osaka is in Japan. The correct way to say it is "Wah-ha-ca."
5. Hjo, Sweden
The correct pronunciation of the town is "You."
6. Wauchope, Australia
If you want to give the locals a good laugh, refer to this as "War-choppy." The real pronunciation is actually "War-hope."
7. Cobh, Ireland
Even the simplest of names can be deceptive. Keep in mind that it's on an island, not in a cornfield, so pronounce it "Cove," not "Cob."
8. Coxsackie, New York
When trying to pronounce Coxsackie, don't think of Courteney Cox but what her character on "Friends" did for a living -- cook. So in this part of the world, just think "Cook-sock-ee!"
9. Sequim, Washington
"Sqwim" is actually the correct pronunciation for the town known as the Lavender Capital of North America.
10. Ptuj, Slovenia
The residents of Ptuj must get tired of hearing the name of this pretty town get butchered over and over again. When pronounced correctly, it sounds like a dainty sneeze: "P-too-ee."
(Editing by Miral Fahmy)