…as in the Greek Gyro sandwich.
I once stopped by a Johnny’s New York Style Pizzeria and bought a gyro for dinner. I proclaimed, “I’d like a yeer-oh”. They asked, “You mean a jy-roh?”. Not wanting to make such a small thing a big deal, I just said “yeah”.
It got me thinking though. I know it’s supposed to be pronounced “yeer-oh,” so why would people working at the pizzeria be so confident that it’s pronounced “jy-roh”? Maybe I should really pronounce it “jy-roh” because after all, we don’t go around calling China “Zhong-guo”, Mexico “May-hee-ko”, or Germany “Deutchland”. After some searching online, I found my answer:
It’s pronounced “yeer-oh” everywhere except New York City. Even though I was outside of New York City, Johnny’s New York Style Pizzeria is “New York Style”, so they pronounce it the way you would hear it in a true New York pizzeria: “jy-roh”. They probably do that in New York City so the gyro sandwich isn’t confused with the hero sandwich.
So gyro is pronounced “yee-roh”, unless you’re having a New York-style gyro.
Then again, most Americans would pronounce gyro as “jy-roh” no matter what. You might want to just pronounce it “jy-roh” anywhere in America so you don’t sound pretentious.