Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, January 28, 2021

Is it (ko-pen-HAY-gen) or (ko-pen-HAH-gen)?

That’s the conundrum I found myself in today when I chose the latter pronunciation for the capital city of Denmark. The purpose of which was to order a Copenhagen Zesto sandwich at Pax.

I guess I’m in a distinct minority among lunchers in midtown Manhattan, because the order-taker did a double-take and asked me to repeat the name of the sandwich. I did so, then jabbed my finger at the glass to make sure there was no further confusion.

Maybe I should reconsider my choice of long or short vowel for Hans Christian Andersen’s turf. Although maybe not, both because I’ll invoke my first-generation Euro heritage and because I’m hesitant to let a deli-counter jockey dictate my diction.

And to further hint at where my head was at after this encounter, I actually walked away with the Beastie Boys’ “Super Disco Breakin’” reverberating in my mind. Specifically the lyrical snippet, “When I’m in Holland, I eat the pannenkoeken”. Dutch, not Danish, but somehow it felt like a proper coda.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 01/28/2008 05:37:20 PM
Category: Food, New Yorkin', Pop Culture
| Permalink | Trackback |

4 Feedbacks »
  1. I sympathize with your plight. On the first day of class, I often get into arguments with my students about the proper pronunciation of their own surnames.

    I have a Wiegenbrand who pronounces not only the first consonant but the following vowel combo improperly. A lot of this is, and as you infer you’re coming from a similar position, the result of growing up in an area where traditional pronunciations are retained. I grew up with a lot of people named Drewes (DRAY-vess) as an example, along with a ton of Badenhops, Bischoffs, Krauses, and Meyers.

    Long story short, stick with it, I say. A little learning amongst the population about traditional pronunciation is a good thing.

    Comment by tim — 01/28/2008 @ 06:22:28 PM

  2. […] It’s hard to order a sandwich at Pax.  Is it Copen-hay-gen or Copen-hah-gen? [Population Statistic] […]

    Pingback by Midtown Lunch » Midtown Links (Midweek Champagne & Pork Roast Edition) — 01/30/2008 @ 11:33:11 AM

  3. You’re pronouncing it incorrectly. It’s Ko-pen-hay-gen.

    Comment by Koppenhaver — 02/05/2021 @ 12:22:06 PM

  4. Po-TAY-to, po-TAH-to, m’friend…

    Comment by CT — 02/05/2021 @ 07:48:33 PM

RSS feed for feedback on this post.

Leave a comment


PLEASE NOTE: Various types of comment moderation may be triggered once you hit the "Say It!" button below. Common causes for this are the inclusion of several hyperlinks and/or spam words in the comment field. Please do not hit the "Say It!" button more than once. If you feel your comment is being blocked without cause, feel free to email me about it.