If you’re wondering how to pronounce Muesli, you’re not alone. It’s a weird word. Plus, it’s not pronounced at all how it looks. If you look at the word, it looks like it should be pronounced Mu-ess-lee. In reality, however, it’s pronounced as if some of the letters are swapped around. The actual pronunciation is Meeoos-lee. MeeOOS-lee. MeeOOOOOS-lee.
Notice, there’s no hyphen between mee and oos. That’s because, in relation to the long sound of the oos, the mee is really short. It should sound like one, long, fluid syllable to start. MeeOOOOOS-lee.
Have you tried it yet? Go ahead. Say it. It’s actually a fun word. Now that we’ve officially cleared up how to pronounce it, let’s talk about why it’s so hard to pronounce correctly. There are quite a few reasons.
Why is it so hard to pronounce Muesli?
The first reason is quite obvious. It’s hard to pronounce because most of us have never heard of it! Think about it. Many English words are not at all pronounced as they’re spelled – laugh, colonel, mortgage, choir… If we hadn’t heard these words a hundred times, we’d probably be hesitant to say these words too. We’d be thinking, “Mortgage is spelled with a t. Am I really just supposed to pretend it’s not there?” By now, we’ve all heard the word mortgage enough to accept that yes, the t is silent. The same is true for Muesli. Once we say and hear it enough, we’ll no longer question the spelling of this weird word.
By the way, at mueslihaus, it’s part of our mission to make Muesli a common word. We want to be able to say we eat Muesli for breakfast every day without people responding with “What? You eat what? What’s that?” Then, we have to say it’s similar to granola, and then they start calling it granola… People are just so afraid to say Muesli. We want to change that!
We can also blame Google for some confusion
The second reason it’s difficult to pronounce Muesli is because Google describes it as pronounced like this: myooz-lee.
The my at the beginning is supposed to indicate a long e sound (as in see, meat, feet) that’s shortened by the next adjacent sound – in this case, ooz. The problem with that is that most people don’t read my as mee (short). They read it as my (m + eye). It’s only natural to read it this way. After all, my is a pretty popular English word.
Despite the phonetic spelling that makes you want to say m + eye + ooz-lee, if you let Google pronounce it for you, you’ll actually hear something like MeeOOOOOZ-lee. And that, my friends, is the proper pronunciation.
Is it an s sound or a z sound?
Now, there is just one more confusing piece of the puzzle. Is the s pronounced like an s or a z? In the beginning of this article, we presented it as MeeOOOOOS-lee with an s. It’s quite obvious that Google’s pronunciation features a z. Is there a correct way?
We don’t think so. Sometimes, when we say it, it sounds like a z. Other times, it sounds like an s. We can be quite picky about the pronunciation of Muesli (it’s definitely not mewz-lee, and it’s definitely not m + eye + ooz-lee), but we’re not picky about the s or z. We’ll leave this one totally up to you.
Time to talk about where this word actually comes from! Who even created this word?
The origin of Muesli and of the word
The history of Muesli is actually quite interesting. The cereal was “invented” in the late 1800s by Dr. Maximilian Bircher-Benner, a Swiss physician who used to “prescribe” the recipe to his patients to improve their health. (Yes! Muesli is really that good for you!)
Since the cereal was invented in Switzerland, the origin of the word Muesli is also Swiss. More specifically, it’s Swiss-German. Originally known in Swiss German as Birchermüesli or simply Müesli, the word combines Mues (non-Swiss Standard German: Müs), which means “mush” or “purée”, and -li, a common diminutive suffix.
So is Muesli a kind of mush?
Yes, the original Birchermüesli recipe was actually a recipe for a kind of cold mush. The original recipe consisted of apples, nuts, and rolled oats that were previously soaked in 3 Tablespoons of water for 12 hours before serving. It also contained a little squeeze of lemon juice from half a lemon and 1 Tablespoon of cream.
Muesli is best when soaked to some extent, just like mush, but you don’t have to soak it for 12 hours. You can simply add a splash of milk and enjoy it like you would a traditional breakfast cereal. You can also use muesli to make hot mush. We just call it hot Muesli.
The original recipe called for apples. Why apples, you ask? You know what they say about an apple a day! Don’t forget, muesli was originally invented by a doctor to improve the health of his patients. But don’t worry. You don’t have to add apples to your Muesli. Other fresh fruit will do just fine.
So, there you have it! By now, you should have a good understanding of how to pronounce Muesli and how not to pronounce it. Say it loud and say it proud! It’s time we stop calling Muesli granola.