With the opening of a new branch store in Cityplaza, it is time Eslite Bookstore cleared up the pronunciation of the store name to Hongkongers.
I looked up the word on Google, and found that native speakers of English residing in Taiwan also fumble for the ‘right’ pronunciation.
The ‘official’ pronunciation, according to an official reply from the headquarters in Taiwan, is one that resembles ‘elite’: in fact, ‘eslite’ is the old French word for ‘elite’. However, if you look up ‘eslite’ on some pronunciation websites, you get something quite different from ‘elite’.
It’s interesting how people avoid saying names that they are not sure about. There used to be a Vietnamese restaurant in HK with the name ‘Pho’. I noticed that all my friends simply referred to it as ‘the Vietnamese restaurant on the nth floor of iSquare/Windsor House/etc.’ So, some time ago when I lunched at the restaurant with Benjamin Au Yeung, I plucked up my courage, and asked a server how their restaurant name should be pronounced, and I got the official pronunciation!
That’s what I’m going to do later in the week – go to their Cityplaza branch, and ask one of the store assistants the official pronunciation of Eslite (assuming their employees know the answer).