How to Pronounce “Salmon” – A Guide to Perfecting the Tricky Word

how to pronounce salmon

Salmon, the delectable and nutritious fish, is a word that many people find surprisingly challenging to pronounce. While it may seem straightforward, the inclusion of the letter “l” in the middle of the word makes it a linguistic puzzle for some. However, mastering the pronunciation of “salmon” is not only a matter of sounding sophisticated but also helps you avoid awkward moments when ordering your favorite seafood dish at a restaurant. In this article, we’ll dive into the origins of the word “salmon” and explore the correct pronunciation and some tips to help you pronounce it flawlessly.

The Origin of “Salmon”

Before we tackle pronunciation, let’s delve into the origin of the word. “Salmon” comes from the Latin word “salmo,” which means “leaping.” This refers to the fish’s distinctive behavior of leaping and jumping when they migrate upstream to spawn. The Latin influence is also seen in other Romance languages, such as Spanish (“salmón”) and Italian (“salmone”). In these languages, the word is pronounced with the “l” sound more prominently, making it an essential element in the pronunciation.

Correct Pronunciation

To pronounce “salmon” correctly, follow these steps

  • Start with “S” Begin by making the “s” sound. It’s the same sound you would make when you say “sister” or “sand.”
  • Add “A” After the “s,” add the short “a” sound, as in “cat” or “apple.” It’s a quick, soft vowel sound.
  • Include “L” Now, here’s the tricky part. The “l” in “salmon” is silent. That’s right; you don’t pronounce it. Imagine it’s not even there. So, say “sam-in” instead of “sal-mon.”
  • Finish with “Mon” Finally, complete the word with “mon,” pronounced like “mawn.” Think of “money” without the “ey” at the end.

So, when you put it all together, it sounds like “sam-un.” No “L” sound to be found!

Practice Makes Perfect

Mastering the pronunciation of “salmon” may take some practice, especially if you’ve been saying it differently for years. Here are a few tips to help you improve

  • Repeat After Me The best way to get the hang of it is to say “salmon” correctly out loud several times. Repeated practice will help your brain adjust to the new pronunciation.
  • Use It in Context Incorporate the word into your everyday conversations. For example, when discussing your dinner plans, say, “I’m thinking of having grilled salmon for dinner.” This not only helps with pronunciation but also shows off your culinary expertise.
  • Listen and Learn Pay attention to how native speakers and professionals pronounce “salmon.” You can watch cooking shows, listen to chefs, or even visit a seafood restaurant and pay attention to how the staff say the word.
  • Record Yourself Record yourself saying “salmon” and listen to the recording. Compare it to the correct pronunciation and make necessary adjustments.

Why Does It Matter?

Correct pronunciation matters for several reasons

  • Clarity Pronouncing “salmon” correctly ensures that you are understood by others. Mispronunciations can lead to confusion, especially in a restaurant setting.
  • Politeness Using the correct pronunciation shows respect for the language and culture associated with the word. It demonstrates your willingness to learn and adapt.
  • Cultural Appreciation Pronouncing words correctly can also be a sign of cultural appreciation. It shows your interest in the origins and traditions associated with the word.
  • Professionalism If you work in the food industry or have culinary interests, knowing how to pronounce “salmon” correctly is essential for professionalism.


Why is the L in salmon silent?

About that time, some people were rallying for words to reflect their Latin origins. Salmon was one of those words. In Latin, the word for fish is salmo, and the L is pronounced. Even though the English word spelling changed from samoun to salmon, the pronunciation stayed the same, making the L silent.

Is the L silent in almond?

If an “L” is found towards the end of the word, before the letters “f,” “v”, “k” and “m,” but after the letter “a,” then it’s usually silent (behalf, calve, walk, almond).

In conclusion, the pronunciation of “salmon” may seem trivial, but it can make a significant difference in communication and cultural appreciation. Remember to start with the “sam-un” pronunciation, and with practice, you’ll confidently order your favorite salmon dishes without hesitation. So, the next time you’re at a seafood restaurant or sharing your culinary plans, impress everyone with your impeccable pronunciation of “salmon.”

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