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Gal Gadot’s name and why you’re saying it wrong

The Israeli actor’s name bends the pronunciation rules you might be used to.

Aja Romano writes about pop culture, media, and ethics. Before joining Vox in 2016, they were a staff reporter at the Daily Dot. A 2019 fellow of the National Critics Institute, they’re considered an authority on fandom, the internet, and the culture wars.

Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman is already raking in rave reviews, including from Vox’s own Alex Abad-Santos. But before you heap any praise on director Patty Jenkins’s new take on the DC superhero, played by Gal Gadot, you should probably make sure you know one important detail: how to correctly pronounce Gadot’s name.

As Slate cheekily points out, if you’re like most Americans, you’ve probably been saying the actress’s name similarly to “Godot” in Samuel Beckett’s famous play Waiting for Godot — with a long O and a silent T (read: “guh-doh”), as if Gadot’s surname were French.

But Gadot is Israeli, which means the pronunciation is more accurately something like “ga-daute,” as this YouTube compilation helpfully demonstrates:

Hear the hard T at the end? Note that it requires an “unaspirated” or “dental” pronunciation, so you don’t get a crisp T like you would with a word like “dot.”

Instead, you stop air from leaving your mouth when you say Gadot’s name by placing your tongue against your teeth when you pronounce it. Here’s a Posh Brit, Geoff Lindsey, to explain the difference for you; his demonstration of an unaspirated T starts around 3:17.

Now you’re all set to go forth and enjoy Wonder Woman!

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