Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Pik-sa, pisa or pizza?

Pizza (or pik-sa, or pisa) con jalapeños, May 2009
Pizza (or pik-sa, or pisa) con jalapeños, May 2009
Photo by Mr. Ducke/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A reader responding to a recent collection of awkward language moments experienced by English learners, or people who were raised by them, has shared a good one: "pik-sa," better known as pizza.

Edith Padilla wrote:

I cannot seem to shake my habit of saying “pik-sa” instead of “pit-za.” I don’t make that mistake with the word mozzarella but pizza is a whole different story.

I've heard that one among Latinos, as well as "pisa," like in the leaning tower of Pisa or the Spanish verb "pisar," meaning to step or tread on. I visited my parents last weekend and shared a "pisa" with them for lunch. A Hawaiian pisa with barbecued chicken, which was quite tasty.

Have an ESL moment to share? Feel free to post anecdotes below.