Being an Italian-American in Virginia, I’m no stranger to Americanized Italian food accompanied by cringy pronunciations. Growing up in an Italian-American household, there are a few things you pick up on. The first is that no one makes marinara as good as your family, and the second is that a lot of Italian words are pronounced wrong by Americans. Aside from the Italian words we pick up here and there, Italian Americans have a tendency to cut the endings of certain Italian words. This is due to the southern dialects that came to America in the 1900s. Instead of manicotti, It’s manigott’, and instead of mozzarella it’s mozzarell’. I’ve grown up pronouncing marinara similarly to how it’s pronounced in Italy saying “ar” instead of “air”. What causes me to cringe the most is when I hear “merinera”. I guess I know how the Greeks feel when Americans try to pronounce Gyro, or how Spanish speakers feel when people pronounce the L’s in tortilla.
(Lord Fairfax Community College)