I'm still not sure I'm saying it right. And for a word that only has three letters, it's hard to believe it causes so much confusion - no one seems to know how to say it, and when a Vietnamese person says it, you just get more confused because you can't say it like they do.
I speak of course of the town of H-U-E.
At first I thought it would be just like the helicopter that was used here so pervasively during the war. Namely, "Hu-ee". But, as I found out, this has much too much emphasis on both the "U" and the "E" sounds. Next, we tried dropping the ending sound because we thought, well, it's only three letters, so let's shorten it. We tried "Hu", or "Hugh". This too was way off - not even close in fact. Well then we really weren't sure, so we started asking around a bit, and things got a little bit better. Next up was "Hway", which is getting a lot closer, but still gets you looks of confusion when you talk to the bus folks while booking your ticket, because there is almost no "H" sound really. Also, they think you're from that movie with Keanu Reeves called Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure where the standard response to the phrase "No way!" was "Way!!!!"
Finally, I think we've gotten close, and it's only taken us 5 days to get there. It seems that the correct pronunciation is something close to "Hueweh", all one word with no pause between the "Hue" and the "weh", and a very small emphasis on the "H". You say the "weh" part like the Canadian "eh" with a "W" in front of it. That's as close as I'm going to be able to get to it, at least in writing. The whole thing reminded me of the Cairns debauchery in Australia where no one pronounces the "R" in Cairns making the word sound like "Cannes", which is just doubly confusing because it makes people think of a film festival in France, which is hardly useful in the Australian tropics. Unless of course Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure was playing at the festival, which would form some sort of twisted, worm hole like, circular reasoning thing between my arguments.
But I digress, yet again...