Watch a delightful Smokey Robinson mispronounce Chanukkah as Cha-Noo-Ka

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I love this. I really hope people don’t freak out and take offence.

…and my brain will forever read “Chanookah” whenever I see the written word.


I adore Smokey, and I can see the how this is entertaining to some, but as a Black person I cannot help but wish he’d asked someone how to pronounce an unfamiliar word before recording that.

We don’t get the luxury of ‘individual agency’; because of the embedded racism of this country, if one of us makes a mistake it reflects negatively on all of us.

Not to harsh anyone’s mellow, that’s just my two cents.


Surely there’s a TV Tropes entry or something on “Cuddly, Bumbling Black Man Syndrome”?

(Maybe it’s a subheading under “Magical Negro”…)


There are much better uses of money than giving it to already wealthy celebrities money over Cameo… like this hahaha

No, because he was clearly trying to be nice and respectful of other people’s traditions, even if it was not in his personal experience.

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That is really interesting. “Race” didn’t enter my mind even once when I watched this.

Just a nice guy trying to do a nice thing and being unintentionally humourous, then owning it with his “do-over” response.

I don’t know much about him, but he comes across as a gentle, giving, and caring guy. We need more people like this.


Must be nice; that’s also a luxury which I don’t have.

I would LOVE to be able to ‘not even think of it,’ but the society we inhabit as adults never allows those of us who are not White to ever forget, even for a single second.

Even our children don’t get to exist in the blissful little ‘bubble of youthful unawareness’ for very long, as the parents of Tamir Rice and Aiyana Jones could readily attest.

It’s a sad state of affairs, nevertheless it’s true.

We have to think of race and how it impacts every aspect of our lives, no matter how trivial because we have no real choice to do otherwise.

I didn’t catch that one, I’ll have to look for it.

Good day.


Also since it’s heresy where I’m from to “not know” the wonderful and iconic music of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles:



This is how my grandfather pronounced it (like 40 years ago), but I suspect he was being a wiseguy… Anyway I can’t unhear it

Hey thanks for the opportunity to dust off a classic…



“interesting” is not a great word, I admit.

I found your take genuinely insightful and I appreciated it.

Thanks! (And thanks for the YouTube link - I’ll check it out.)


No. But I might find the right one.

For a long time I knew there were cities called “La Jolla” and “La Hoya” in Southern California, but I only recently figured out I was mispronouncing one and misspelling the other and they were the same place


I recently started questioning how to say microwave…


Mee-cro Wah-vay.


My fav unusual pronunciation is the way Trevor Noah says ‘aluminum.’



The American pronunciation - a-LOO-min-num - is actually the one that’s unusual to the rest of the world :slight_smile:

Didn’t Jon Lovitz (as Hanukkah Harry) pronounce it similarly?

also the way much of the world says it…as a Canadian, I can get away with saying it that way, but the real reason I do is I stumble over “aluminum” for some reason. As for Chanukkah, many people spell it with an “H” so not too surprising someone has an issue with it. I’m old enough that many words I might be very familiar with through reading I never heard pronounced and have often confused and delighted others when I break them into conversation. Roentgen and de Broglie are particularly sharp memories of this nature :slight_smile: . Also have fond memories of making my Dad laugh for about ten minutes, when, as a young guy looking up from the floor where I was reading, I asked him “Who is this ‘Beezle Bub’ guy they’re always talking about” . There is as well what I take to be an American attitude that using a “foreign” pronunciation is either haughty or subservient. The British seem to do this a lot, too. Just ask Mr. “Beechum” (Beauchamp). I last noted this on a video posted by Canadian spaceflight historian Amy Shira Teitel where many of the commentators complained about the way she pronounced rendezvous . She went to a French language school as a child, so her pronunciation reflected that.

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