‘King of the Hill’: Peggy’s 10 Worst Mispronunciations of Spanish Words
She may have been named “Substitute Teacher of the Year” three years in a row, but Peggy Hill’s command of Spanish — the subject she regards as her specialty — leaves a lot to be desired. From over-enunciations to the outright misuse of words, she butchers the Spanish language countless times throughout the 13 seasons of King of the Hill.
Here to point out her 10 worst verbal slipups is Jore Osuna, who works in Mexico as a Spanish-to-English translator and who’s been a fan of King of the Hill for more than 20 years. After this, we’re pretty sure Arlen County will be asking for those Substitute Teacher Awards back.
Por Favor (“Please”)
Proper Pronunciation: Pohr fah-bohr
Peggy’s Pronunciation: Pohr fey-vor
What She’s Doing Wrong: “This one is understandable,” explains Osuna. “‘Favor’ in English is spelled the same in Spanish, so I understand why Peggy just says ‘favor.’ She gets a soft pass on that.”
Proper Pronunciation: Meh-hee-koh
Peggy’s Pronunciation: Meh-heeee-koh
What She’s Doing Wrong: “Peggy kind of says ‘Mexico’ right, but she definitely overdoes the ‘hee’ sound in the middle,” says Osuna.
Me Llamo (“My name is…”)
Proper Pronunciation: Meh yah-moh
Peggy’s Pronunciation: Meh lah-moh
What She’s Doing Wrong: “A double ‘l’ is said with a ‘yah’ sound, but I’ve heard her say it with an ‘l’ sound many times on the show,” Osuna tells me.
Proper Pronunciation: Seh-nyohr
Peggy’s Pronunciation: Seh-nyohrr
What She’s Doing Wrong: “We do roll our Rs in Spanish,” says Osuna, “but Peggy does it way too much. Those strong Rs are usually, but not always, in the beginning or middle part of a word, but she puts them everywhere. Like in ‘señor,’ we don’t roll that R.”
Quinceañera (“A party given for girls who turn 15”)
Proper Pronunciation: Keen-seh-ah-nyeh-rah
Peggy’s Pronunciation: Keen-seen-eh-rrrrah
What She’s Doing Wrong: As Osuna explains, “Quinceañera has a soft R, but Peggy really rolls this one. She puts like four Rs into it.”
Proper Pronunciation: Kahr-nah-bahl
Peggy’s Pronunciation: Kahr-nee-seh-ree-ah
What She’s Doing Wrong: “In Mexico, Peggy translates ‘carnicería’ as ‘carnival,’ but they have nothing to do with each other,” says Osuna. “‘Carnicería’ is a butcher shop.”
Proper Pronunciation: Ah-behr-gohn-sah-doh
Peggy’s Pronunciation: Ehm-bah-rah-sah-dah
What She’s Doing Wrong: When Peggy is on trial in Mexico for accidentally kidnapping a Mexican girl, she tries to say she’s “embarrassed” by using the word “embarazada,” but “embarazada” means “pregnant.”
Proper Pronunciation: Ehs-pah-nyohl
Peggy’s Pronunciation: Ehs-pah-nohl
What She’s Doing Wrong: “In Spanish, an ‘ñ’ has a ‘nyeh’ sound to it that Peggy never gets right,” explains Osuna. At the very least, you’d hope Peggy could properly say the name of the language she’s trying to teach, but that’s apparently too much to ask.
Proper Pronunciation: Ah-nyohs
Peggy’s Pronunciation: Ah-nohs
What She’s Doing Wrong: Once again, Peggy fails to pronounce “ñ” properly, but the consequences of mispronouncing “years” in Spanish are pretty devastating. Instead of saying “años,” she says “anos,” which is Spanish for “anuses.”
Su Señoría (“Your Honor”)
Proper Pronunciation: Soo seh-nyoh-ree-ah
Peggy’s Pronunciation: Soo pu-ti-nohr
What She’s Doing Wrong: Osuna says Peggy commits her worst pronunciation of all when she’s addressing the judge in Mexico during her trial. “I don’t even know what Peggy’s trying to say here,” Osuna tells me. “The correct way to address a judge is ‘Su Señoría,’ but she says something like ‘Su Putinor,’ which isn’t anything. ‘Puti’ though is slang for ‘slutty.’”
This one is so bad that Osuna thinks it lends credence to a certain King of the Hill fan theory: “There’s a theory out there that, when she fell out of that airplane at the end of Season Three and her parachute didn’t open, she suffered brain damage. People think that’s why she’s crazier in the later seasons and pronunciations like this make me think there might be something to it.”