The Correct Way to Pronounce Porsche

My blog puts me in touch with Porsche owners the world over. Lately, what used to be as rare as an original 550 Spyder seems to be as prolific as a Honda Accord (and this from amongst the anointed few.) What blasphemy is this that I speak of? None other than the incorrect pronunciation of our beloved brand. If you’re new to the marque then the confusion is understandable. However, if you are a long time Porsche owner then there really is no excuse. No, it's not the end of the world it you don't pronounce it correctly, you just risk sounding like a sheisskopf to those in the know... :-)

Let’s review. The Porsche brand is of German origin and a family/surname. These two facts combine to provide an easy and definitive pronunciation.

In the German language, the “e” at the end of Porsche is pronounced. IT IS NOT SILENT. Very similar to the the word Deutsche. It's not DOYTSCH. It's DOYTSCH-UH.

Fact 2: Forget about Fact 1. This is a family name. If you listen to discussions with, or about, any of the founding family members, they all pronounce the name in one way and one way only.

This means that Porsche is never pronounced PORSH and should always be pronounced PORSH-UH.

The only correct pronunciation of Porsche is Porsh-Uh

porsh-uh-not-porshFact 1: Someone actually wanted to debate this with me the other night by suggesting there is no correct pronunciation. Their argument was that PORSH was just the “American” translation of the German word. I'm sure you can imaging my response, "Nein, nein, nein!! Das ist nicht richtig!" The fact is Porsche (PORSH-UH) is a family name. You don’t decide how you want to pronounce it. You pronounce it as it was meant to be. Verstehen Sie?

By the way, Porsche (you should now be pronouncing it correctly) is not the only German brand or name to suffer this fate. Take a look at the table below for other familiar examples. At the bottom is a link for the correct pronunciation of each name including PORSH-UH!

Frequently Mispronounced Terms
GERMAN in ENGLISH
with correct phonetic pronunciation
Word/Name Pronunciation
Adidas AH-dee-dass
Bayer bye-er
Braun
Eva Braun
brown
(not 'brawn')
Dr. Seuss
(Theodor Seuss Geisel)
soyce
Goethe
German author, poet
GER-ta ('er' as in fern)
and all oe-words
Hofbräuhaus
in Munich
HOFE-broy-house
Loess/Löss (geology)
fine-grained loam soil
lerss ('er' as in fern)
Neanderthal
Neandertal
nay-ander-tall
Porsche PORSH-uh
Gerhard Schröder
German chancellor
shrer-der ('er' as in fern)
not shro-der!
Phonetic guides shown are only approximate.
Terms marked with the ™ symbol are trademarked brands.
Hear MP3 Audio for these words!

Related Posts
Introducing Porsche Factoids
Video History of Porsche Racing
The Most Famous Porsche
Porsche Culture: Joey Porsche and Friends

[Table and Audio Source: About.com]

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15 Comments

  1. RackandOpinion says

    Funny you should mention this, almost everyone I have ever met in the UK says Porsch… I’m sure your right but say Porsch-uh here and people will either think you’re being anal or pronouncing the name Portia.

    Even the Porsch dealers say it!

  2. Shoeman says

    As a research technician in the foam and rubber industry, I have worked with Adidas in the past 12 years and that is true that the correct pronouciation is Ah-Dee-Dass. After it’s founder Adolph ‘Adi” Dassler. Nice work.

  3. JC says

    I understand the reasoning, but I always found it a bit of a “snobbish” thing, like an inside handshake sort of thing among Porsche owners so they can snicker behind their backs at the “uncultured” masses.

    If we’re going to be so precise, than as an Asian American, I demand that all english speakers start pronouncing Japanese, Korean, and in the very near future, Chinese automakers in their traditional/native pronounciation.

    I find it funny when people demand Porsch-uh be pronounced correctly, yet they don’t bat an eyelash when they butcher/Americanize Toyota, or Mazda, Honda, Hyundai, etc etc. Because every Japanese automaker is also originated from a family name. If you want to adhere to “fact#2″, then you better start learning Japanese … :rolleyes:

  4. says

    Hi JC,

    I think you might have missed the “tone” of this post. It was meant to be tongue-in-cheek (with a smattering of educational info thrown in for good measure). :-)

    No one is “demanding” Porsche be pronounced correctly, just suggesting that you might want to learn how to say the name as it was meant to be pronounced and more importantly as it is marketed. Personally, as someone that speaks a bit of German (but is not of German origin) I am constantly correcting myself. Yes, I admit it. Many times in my excitement I find my self saying “Porsch” vs. “Porsche -uh”.

    As for Japanese, Korean and Chinese automakers, do they market their cars and brands in the same way globally? Are Honda, Nissan or Toyota (for example) pronounced differently in other parts of the world? If so, I would love to learn the correct/different pronunciation9s). However, until they start marketing them differently here in the US, it will be a hard sell for people to pronounce them any way but the way they hear them.

  5. Marc M says

    My best friend in the world and bosom car buddy had just gotten himself a brand new Porsche 924. For a couple of young guys this was a major accomplishment having been driving TR6’s, MGB’s and some American muscle cars. I asked him after hearing him pronounce it PORSH-UH several times what was the correct pronunciation having myself always pronounced it PORSH (not wanting to give in to this extra effort). His answer trumps all the answers I’ve heard since. He said its PORSH until you own one, then its PORSH-UH. He’s gone 10 years now and it wasn’t until 2/2008 that I got my first Porsche at 56 years old. My NY plate reads PORSCHUH.

  6. Craig Edel says

    JC got to my point before I did — thus showing genius and shrewdness. I’ve had the same thought before, when hearing some newscaster interrupt his smooth flow of verbiage to awkwardly pronounce some Spanish surname the way it’s pronounced in whatever Latin American country is being discussed. But no one seems to care about any other kind of name — including English names! Maybe we should insist that the name “Arthur,” for example, be pronounced the way many in the UK would pronounce it — sounding something like, “Ahthuh” Why worry about Spanish and German names, when we can’t even get the ENGLISH names right?

  7. Stefanos says

    Porsche is pronounced differently for many a reason
    In Europe unlike here, there are many different languages involved
    The resulting spelling of a name in the local language will inevitably lead to variations in pronunciation and with different accents, giving away the owner’s ethnicity in a charming sort of manner
    My last name is Stamos and is pronounced STAMOS not Steimos as Americans insist on calling my compatriot John Stamos
    The point is that in Greek the name can only be pronounced this way
    It is the English language that creates a Steimos alternate
    Think “PORSE” in Greek as you would “PORSCHE” in English
    Americans are far from being linguistic snobs so what’s the fuss ?
    If this discussion took place in a French forum then hey, I would understand
    For my part if I met Butzi I would greet him as (Herr) PORSE just as his name is written and pronounced in my maiden tongue
    As for my 1998 Carrera 4 cabriolet she’s my PORSITA !!

  8. Mike Robbins says

    At a Porsche Parade several years ago Peter Porsche [son of Ferry Porsche] was asked for the correct pronunciation. His reply: “Porsh-eh”. Kinda from the horse’s mouth!

  9. Patrick Lim says

    There are so many languages in our world, that’s why each country has their own way of pronouncing words or names
    differently. I think it’s a wonderful thing if you can pronounce the words or names as accurate as you can. Life is a journey of learning, start from cradle and end in the graveyard. I wonder how much knowledge one can learn in a lifetime? When you feed your mouth with foods, don’t forget to feed your brain with languages or something that you are interested in. Regarding the name Porsche, sometime I say [PORSH], sometime I say [PORSH-sher]. One of my friend, due to his broken English, always pronounce Porsche as [PORCH], I told him many times its not [PORCH], it’s [PORSH-sher]. But he keeps saying [PORCH], since then I gave up. How about MIELE, CITROËN, RENAULT, XI JINPING, LI KEQIANG, ZHOU ENLAI, FENG SHUI, KUNG FU, KARAOKE, KARATE, MITSUBISHI, MAZDA etc….
    It should be pronounce as [MIL-LER] not MIL-LEH, [SIT-TRO-EHN] not SIT-TRERN. [RRER-NOL] not REN-NOLT]. [SEE JEENPING]. [LEE KER-CHIANG]. [JOH ERN-LIGH]. [FERNG-SHUOY]. [KONG-FOO] pronounce the word “K” as
    in the word “SKI”. [KAH-RAH-O-KEH]. [KAH-RAH-TEH]. [MIT-JEEOO-BISH-SHEE]. [MAHT-JEEOO-DAH]. Well, it’s tough to find the right sounds in English, but I try to pronounce it as close to the original as possible. Cheers.

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