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Cumin - How to Pronounce

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
I have heard cumin pronounced like coomin and like quemin. Which is correct, or is there another pronumciation?
post #2 of 30
Every pro I've ever heard pronounces it coo min, Shel.

When I was young, and didn't know better, I called it come in. And I've heard a few people still pronounce it that way.
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post #3 of 30
the origin of the word is probably not English <g> so all bets are off.

ref "things you find on the web" - here's an 'authority' that sez: comein
Cumin
post #4 of 30
So is that coo meen, or come een?
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post #5 of 30

coo...men...as in "coo, look at the men"

:crazy::crazy::crazy::beer::talk::lol:
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post #6 of 30
I tend to agree with those who espouse the "coo-men" pronunciation. It's a Spanish word, isn't it? I believe the letter /u/ is pronounced "oo".

Please correct me if I'm wrong!

What is the word for 'cumin' in the languages of the Indian sub-continent? They also use this spice, but I doubt they call it 'cumin' at home.

Incidentally, my mom (who taught Spanish) pronounced it "cue-men". :confused:
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post #7 of 30
I always pronounced it cuemen, but my mom always prounounced it coomen, and my foods & nutrition leader growing up always pronounced it coomen as well. She was spanish...so *shrugs* hahaa

I think they are both right, but what do I know.
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post #8 of 30
A rose by any other name....:)
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post #9 of 30
My mom, who grew up in a Mexican household, used the Spanish "coo me no" pronounciation. In later years, she began to use the English version, pronouncing it "coo men." I've always pronounced it "coo men."
post #10 of 30
As I recall, the plant, the whole seeds and the ground up powder from the seeds all have different names. I use the coo-men pronunciation, but then again I get annoyed when people talk about q-pons instead of coo-pons, or those folks who think there is an 'x' in espresso.

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post #11 of 30
There is no single standard American English pronounciation; a number of variations are allowable; e.g., KUH-muhn, KOO-muhn, KYOO-muhn, KYOO-min, etc. Old English was pronounced KYE-men. The Latin is pronounced koo-MEE-newm (cuminum); French is KO-meen (comin); and FWIW, Spanish is ko-MEE-no (comino).

The word itself is not Spanish, or Latin for that matter. Modern Spanish derives from Latin, and off all the modern Latinate languages is the most like Latin. You may thank the Visigoths. Muchisimas gracias, Visigothos.

Returning to the term "cumin," however pronounced, it appears to have derived from an old middle eastern language -- ancient Hebrew perhaps, kah-MOAN (כמון), or perhaps an older, mesapotamian ur-language.

If your Mexican mom pronounced it KOO-meen, she had some nefarious mom-type reason having nothing to do with her native language, or she was from ancient Rome and never let on. Moms are not only very devious, they think it's funny.

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post #12 of 30
Okay now, by rough estimate we are up to about 15 different pronunciations for this one simple spice name 'cumin'. I don't spend that much time figuiring out how to avoid using it in the food I cook. :look:
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post #13 of 30
Ain't it fun trying to explain pronounciations ( <-----now that word is hard in itself) in the written media?

I agree with Coo-men.

Just pls...nobody...call it comin'

Brings all sorts of other things to mind....apart from being wrong :)

DC
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post #14 of 30

I say coomin.

Reminds me of a story a friend told me about culinary school.
His instructor was talking about anise, and how to pronounce it.
He said "you can say a-niece or an-iss, but never the 3rd pronunciation".
;)


Edited by Just Jim - 9/14/14 at 7:53am
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post #15 of 30
My Mother pronounces it KEE-mee-no... but that's just cause she's greek and that's how all greeks say it.

I say que-min but now I will switch and start calling it coomin just for the heck of it why not.

More importantly, how do you use cumin in your cooking? My favorite is to dump lots of it in my vegetarian stuffed cabbage, or add a pinch to my stuffed grape leaves.

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post #16 of 30
How do I use it? It would be simpler to list how I don't.

I'm a big fan of Mid-eastern and North African cuisines, and would be absolutely lost without it.

It also makes a wonderful vinaigrette that goes particularly well with fruit salads, such as orange & red onion.

And..... well, if I get started I'll be typing all day. :lips:
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post #17 of 30
The correct pronunciation of cumin is ka_min and is sometimes spelled cummin.:rolleyes:
The English "cumin" derives from the French "cumin", which was borrowed indirectly from Arabic "كمون" Kammon via Spanish comino during the Arab rule in Spain in the 15th century.-wikipedia
post #18 of 30
How about "jeera"? :smiles:
post #19 of 30
huh? :) Please explain
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post #20 of 30
jeera is the indian name for it


do i get a prize :lol::lol::lol:


we pronounce it quemin here in nz
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post #21 of 30
Thread Starter 
As long as no one jeers at you ...:lol:
post #22 of 30

Cumin is one of my favorite spices. Growning up in the Northwoods of Upper Midwest of the United States, I only heard it pronounced, Que-men.  It was not until I was an adult and moved to the West Coast that I heard someone use the term, Coo-min. I had to ask what they were talking about.  I hated hearing it pronounced that way, it just seemed so wrong.  But as I've heard more and more pronounce it Coo-min and Come-In, I've learned to accept it pronounced which ever way they want.  I still prefer Que-men.  I also hate it when espresso is pronounced with an 'x' in it, or people say 'Coopons' instead of 'Coupons'.

post #23 of 30

For any pronounciation questions: 

 

http://de.forvo.com/

post #24 of 30

And I all it  Koohmeen

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post #25 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mehtalalady View Post

Cumin is one of my favorite spices. Growning up in the Northwoods of Upper Midwest of the United States, I only heard it pronounced, Que-men.  It was not until I was an adult and moved to the West Coast that I heard someone use the term, Coo-min. I had to ask what they were talking about.  I hated hearing it pronounced that way, it just seemed so wrong.  But as I've heard more and more pronounce it Coo-min and Come-In, I've learned to accept it pronounced which ever way they want.  I still prefer Que-men.  I also hate it when espresso is pronounced with an 'x' in it, or people say 'Coopons' instead of 'Coupons'.

Huh? I didn't know there was more than one way to ptobounce coupons.

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post #26 of 30

Here is a link to a discussion by some bonafide word experts:

 

http://www.waywordradio.org/cumin/

post #27 of 30

User2112, I was just about to mention "A Way with Words."  It's one of my favorite radio shows and they just had this discussion the other week with no real consensus.

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post #28 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post
 French is KO-meen (comin)
 

Unless I don't read this right, that's not how it's pronounced in French.  I can't find the correct phonetic spelling to demonstrate though.

the French and English origin is definitely closely related because it's written exactly the same way in both languages

I found this if you want to hear it

http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english-french/cumin

 

Check out how long the word is in Vietnamese...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by user2112 View Post
 

Here is a link to a discussion by some bonafide word experts:

 

http://www.waywordradio.org/cumin/

great reference!

 

Luc H.

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post #29 of 30
Oh boy, here we go. Why does there have to be one way to pronounce this? Tomato, tomahto....

I grew up with "quemen" and also "baa'zil" for the herb from which pesto is made, not "bay'zil". That last is probably because we had Greek neighbors who gave us seeds from their home village and called it by its Greek name (vasiliko) with a soft a.

Enjoy using it and don't worry about it.😊
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post #30 of 30

I think I have been watching too many cooking shows on my computer late at night.

 

I used to call them SHALL-ots, now I call them sha-LOTS.

 

mjb.

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