One academic recently argued that the most brazenly mangled word in the world is “karaoke,” which means “empty orchestra” in Japanese.Most people pronounce “karaoke” as “care-ee-oh-key.”
But, if we were to pronounce it properly, we would say the “kara” part the same way we do in “karate” (which, for the record, is pronounced kah-rah-tay, not ka-ra-tee). The “oke” is actually a shorter version of the Japanese word for orchestra, ōkesutora, and sounds like “okay.”The correct pronunciation? That would be “kah-rah-oh-kay.”This corroborates with the information on a website about traveling in Japan, which says that if you’re looking for a karaoke bar, “people may not know what you’re searching for if you [say care-ee-oh-key]…instead, you should say, “kah-rah-oh-kay.”
Oh and by the way, this is not a you-kuh-lay-lee
That's an oo-koo-lay-lay.
Now go win some bar bets!