Chile—in the wake of the quake (I just coined that phrase and I love it—it’s so descriptive!) that struck Chile recently, that nation and its name have dominated television. Our networks—mainstream as well as cable, national as well as local—seem to be ambivalent with the word. Their talking heads vacillate between Chee’ lay and Chee lay’ and obviously cannot decide which to use—they are floundering in the dark, and I sit and watch and listen and beg for someone—anyone—a bit more erudite to light the way for them—none does.
The same person will pronounce it one way, then in the next sentence revert to the other way. About the only credit I can give them is that none has yet to pronounce it Chy’ lay or Chy lee’ but stay tuned—someone will eventually try that pronunciation, just to run it up the flagpole to see if anyone salutes it.
The word is spelled Chile in reference to the nation—there are no other options. However, in reference to the chile pepper or the food that includes such peppers in one form or another, one may choose chile, chili, chilli or chilly. You need not take my word for it—turn up the volume on your speakers and click here to verify the correct pronunciation and the alternate spellings. The correct pronunciation may also be found by clicking here, along with comprehensive information about the country.
Chee’ lay or chee lay’—that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to pronounce it correctly or to join the legions that mispronounce it—that is the question. This posting contains the answer—seek and ye shall find!
Alas! So many errors, so little time!
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.