Re: And then I posted on a BLAHG about it.

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Whenever my mom pronounces a vaguely non-Anglo word, she sort of awkwardly pinches it to the front of her mouth. This is especially embarrassing when she does it to the names of her Indian friends at church.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 9:20 PM
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I am so not touching this.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 9:27 PM
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2: I suspected that! I'm pretty sure it's fraught with all sorts of problems. I can't wait!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 9:33 PM
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More seriously, I initially had a caveat at the end of the post acknowledging I seemed to be working from a rule that was totally untenable.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 10:00 PM
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Touch it, teo.

I didn't hear the pronunciation of 'Obama', but it takes no effort to say 'Pakistan' with ahs, and there's no reason to pronounce it with the Midwest American 'a' sound (I regret that I never learned to write these sounds with IPA symbols). It's not as though there's a special American English word for 'Pakistan'.

Anthony Kuhn, NPR's China guy, is really good at respecting Chinese pronunciation and tones without making them sound forced.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 10:07 PM
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Haven't we hashed this out at some length recently? I remember the whole "pakistahn" issue coming up during the debates.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 10:07 PM
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6: If I find out there was a recent Rolling Stone article about it, I blame heebie.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 10:09 PM
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I like it when those down with the gente pronounce "Nicaragua". It sounds like they're birthing parasites.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 10:11 PM
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OH NO NOT THIS ONE AGAIN


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 10:20 PM
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OT bleg: My old(ish) G4 laptop won't boot. The spinny thing just spins and spins, with the apple sitting above it, sneering at me. What should I do? I don't have systems discs. But I do have another G4 laptop at hand and a MacBook Air.

If someone has an answer but doesn't want to pollute this thread, please feel free to e-mail me at the linked address. Or derail the thread. Whatever. It's only Stanley.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 10:21 PM
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The key is not to sound forced. Like Alex Trebek and his French. Or that Food Network chick and her saLsa.

If I had to make up a rule, I'd say move the vowels, but not the consonants, especially if they're loanwords.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 10:21 PM
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Touch it, teo.

No way. Let's all talk about ari's laptop.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 10:23 PM
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It's only Stanley.

I actually have a solution for you, but you're not getting it, just for that.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 10:25 PM
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But, but...I haven't backed up in months. And I have bunches of pictures on this thing. No, no, not like that, you perv. Pictures of my kids.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 10:27 PM
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Okay, fine. Ari, can you connect it with a firewire cable to another computer and boot it up in target disk mode? If so, you can run disk utility on it, which might get it booting up on its own (has worked for me).

Now, back to teo. Speak, man.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 10:28 PM
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I kid of course. Maybe your should give your computer a six month leave of absence. I hear that does great things for Apple.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 10:29 PM
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Maybe his what should give the computer a six-month leave of absence?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 10:34 PM
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"Touch it, teo."
"No way. Let's all talk about [something else]"

Five years of unfogged in one comment.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 10:35 PM
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18 wins.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 10:36 PM
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Though it's really more like three and a half years.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 10:36 PM
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ari, have you tried booting in safe mode?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 10:37 PM
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17: crap.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 10:39 PM
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Also, ari, you could use one of your other computers to burn a system disc.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 10:41 PM
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21: What's that?

23: How?

Probably I should just chill until the am and have the tech guy at work deal with this, right? You're all awesome for even trying to hold my hand.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 10:45 PM
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ari: assuming it has 10.2 or later

1) power it off
2) press power
3) as soon as you hear the startup tone, press shift and hold it until you see the progress bar (spinning thing)

it will take longer than usual.

this might work, depending on what is wrong.


the target disk mode (turn it into a big external drive, basically) is a good bet to copy stuff off if you can do it, but you need a firewire cable too. You restart it, and hold T key down while you boot.

iirc you can reset the pram by holding cmd-option-p-r, also.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 10:52 PM
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that last may not be recommended. need more info...


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 10:53 PM
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Wait, you have a tech guy who can deal with it in the morning? Go to bed.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 10:54 PM
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urk, i missed that.

yeah, what 27 said


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 10:58 PM
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I already made him zap the pram and pmu. Not recommended, pfft!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 11:00 PM
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in for a penny, in for a pound then


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 11:02 PM
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but i'm going to bed, anyway.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-15-09 11:04 PM
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I'm trying to formalize my unconscious (and probably inconsistent) personal rules for this.

1. Don't do it if it will make you look like a snob or a tool. When I'm conversing with salt-of-the-earth types, I use only standard American pronunciation of common foreign words (e.g. EYE-RACK)

2. Don't ape the accent if you don't actually speak the language. I won't do the pinch-lipped "Nicaragua" or say "MEH-hee-ko".

3. Using the foreign pronunciation is generally permissible for sufficiently obscure persons and places. If a proper noun is obscure enough that anyone who has heard of it likely knows the correct pronunciation, I will go ahead and use it. Examples: Walter Benjamin, La Réunion.

4. Notwithstanding any other rule, use the foreign pronunciation if the vulgar Americanization would make you sound like a bumpkin. Examples: gyros, fajitas, bruschetta, Hofbräuhaus, Québec.

5. Notwithstanding any other rule, pedantic use of foreign pronunciation is permitted in the course of oneupsmanship against other individuals toolishly employing foreign pronunciation, especially if incorrectly. For example, if some insufferable tool says "CopenHAHgen", it is allowable to pronounce København after the Danish fashion.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 12:09 AM
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I sometimes say tomahto.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 12:14 AM
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||

Okay, so more details have come out about the plane crash, and I have to ask:

Many passengers rushed toward the back, thinking that was where the emergency exits were, Mr. Zuhoski said, but that part of the fuselage seemed to be sinking, and flooding, faster. "I started to get, you know, close to my neck underwater. I just thought I was going to drown right there."

He stripped down to his underwear, the better to swim to safety. As the crowd thinned out, he crawled across the top of the seats and clambered out. He said he believed he was one of the last people off the plane, and he swam to a dinghy that was bobbing in the Hudson.
Everyone else in the dinghy had their clothes, and everyone was dry. They huddled, and each peeled off something to outfit him. Soon, they had all stepped off the plane and headed for shore -- some to Manhattan, some to New Jersey, all relieved, all ready to replay the experience.

At what point is it fair to say that you just wanted to strip down to your underwear?
|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 12:16 AM
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I suppose that should have had a link.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 12:16 AM
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e.g. EYE-RACK

EYE-RACK is always and everywhere wrong wrong wrong.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 12:20 AM
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Using the foreign pronunciation is generally permissible for sufficiently obscure persons and places.

Yesterday I was asked if I had read Sebald, but the questioner used an actually Germanic pronunciation of his name, so I said something like "who?", following which he observed that I used the first sentence of Die Ringe des Saturn (yes, in German) as an away message on occasion. All along I had been mentally pronouncing his name SEEbald.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 12:28 AM
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In fairness to me, I encountered him for the first time before I had any clue as to German.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 12:29 AM
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I've been finding myself leaning more towards the Germanic pronunciation of German words since, well, you know. It doesn't really affect me that much in my daily life, except recently, in San Francisco, when the twin gulfs between (a) the default SF pronunciation of "Suppenkuche", (b) my pronunciation of it and (c) the actual correct pronunciation of it seemed nigh-unbridgeable.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 12:46 AM
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"effect me", for fuck's sakes. Should I really try and learn another language when my grasp on this one is so tenuous?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 12:47 AM
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Right the first time.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 1:07 AM
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Forget it, he's rolling.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 1:10 AM
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Really? SHIT.

Shit, you're right.

Fucking affect and effective fuck a fucking.

So, what else is happening? At least I didn't crash a damn plane.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 1:12 AM
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Speaking of crashing a damn plane, are these wild, or what? It must be lonely standing on the wing of an airliner in the middle of the river in January. (Affects a moody look (hah! Fuck you, brain! (You know, I could effect a moody look, too.)))


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 1:15 AM
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C'mon, guys, don't just leave me stewing. Let's, uh, let's rap. About things other than my failure at homonyms. Let's talk, what, brandy? Let's talk some more about brandy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 1:19 AM
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Is there something you wanted to say about brandy, Sifu? We're here for you.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 1:23 AM
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Not per se, besides the generic "it's awesome"s that were going around t'other day. How about buying a still? How hard is that, hypothetically? Putting one on a wedding registry would probably be tacky and/or misguided, yeah?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 1:28 AM
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Not if Obama legalizes home distilling in his first hundred days, as hoped. Otherwise, maybe not such a great idea, though not tacky at all.

Hey, you should email me.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 1:35 AM
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Fair enough.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 1:36 AM
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Isn't there a difference between English words for foreign things, (Paris, Geneva, Turin, Rome) and foreign words for foreign things? I wouldn't say Paree in English, 'cause Paris is an English word, but I would say Jacques-Lo-we Dahveed, because that's French name.

Do people here say Mumbai or Bombay?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 1:39 AM
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I say "Mumbay" or "Bombai", just because fuck 'em, right?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 1:45 AM
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I don't know about Mumbai/Bombay, but the Myanmar/Burma thing is settled.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 2:00 AM
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Do people here say Mumbai or Bombay?

There's no right answer. People who've lived their entire lives in the damn place still seem to alternate between the two. W-lfs-n probably calls it Heptanesia.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 2:40 AM
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i will admit to using 51's strategy sometimes.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 2:45 AM
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54: hah!

Seriously, though, that specific case: should we really be expected to have a view? A plausibly hindu-centric action versus a plausibly colonialist name: not my problem.

On the other hand, I still call Poland "Greater Silesia".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 3:06 AM
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There is a High Court at Mumbai; guess what it calls itself?

Bombay High Court.

(Same deal with the Calcutta High Court.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 3:06 AM
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Because we might have to ask if that train over there is going to Mumbai/Bombay?

I mean, you needn't have a position until you have to; I was just wondering if anyone had a better rule than my current mix of `Mumbay/Bombai' and merely following the other guy's lead.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 3:14 AM
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On the other hand, I still call Poland "Greater Silesia".

You mean the Generalgouvernement?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 4:06 AM
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OT bleg: My old(ish) G4 laptop won't boot. The spinny thing just spins and spins, with the apple sitting above it, sneering at me. What should I do? I don't have systems discs. But I do have another G4 laptop at hand and a MacBook Air.

If someone has an answer but doesn't want to pollute this thread, please feel free to e-mail me at the linked address. Or derail the thread. Whatever. It's only Stanley.

Well, if you have a tech guy, let him deal with it. Otherwise make an appointment with a Genius guy at the Apple store in Sac. They can start it up using an external drive.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 5:31 AM
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59 was I.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 5:31 AM
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Knecht is wrong about Quebec though. If I were in English-speaking Canada, I would not pronoounce Quebec with a francophone accent.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 5:37 AM
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Isn't there a difference between English words for foreign things, (Paris, Geneva, Turin, Rome) and foreign words for foreign things?

Ugh, is there ever. The time I tried to buy a train ticket in Germany to Genova, I went back and forth with the Deutsche Bahn employee for quite awhile before he figured out that I wanted to go to Genua (same stress, but with a hard g). I think "Heimatstadt von Christopher Columbus" finally turned on the lightbulb in his brain.

I could understand the confusion if I had been using the English name for it, or if the Italian name were really far from the German one. But dude, you sell train tickets! Learn city names!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 6:32 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 6:33 AM
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Eye-rack never. Kay-beck often. The thing with the d in Toledo only when referring to the city in Ohio, because it's fun. The thing with the t in Montreal because it's fun too. Saudia -- why don't we use that one anyway? I switch around with Qatar, not having found one I like. Lothringen. I'm told I can almost get Gouda right, and so give that a shot whenever I remember. Say it now, it'll improve your mood.

My grandmother's maiden name was St. Amant, traditionally pronounced in my immediate family as if to rhyme with Panama. My cousins, though, have developed pronunciations designed to limit mispelling.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 6:42 AM
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39: A friend of Molly's who works as a German-English translator uses the German pronunciation of "Steppenwolf" to refer to the classic rock band. Molly tried to gently point this out to her, but she seemed oblivious to the fact that she was even doing it, despite being an American and a native English speaker.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 6:44 AM
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51: One says "Get me a Level Two tech who might know something!"


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 6:50 AM
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OK, smart people: how do you pronounce "Jack Lang". Keep in mind that Lang is an Anglophobe. Imagine that you need to make good impression on him.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 6:54 AM
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Took me ages to realise that Mumbai and Bombay were the same place. (I don't really follow current affairs very closely.) I couldn't work out why so much stuff suddenly seemed to be happening in Mumbai, which couldn't be a big/important place seeing as I'd never heard of it before ....


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 6:57 AM
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55: How do you pronounce "revanchist"?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 6:59 AM
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45: About things other than my failure at homonyms.

"Affect" and "effect" are homonyms? Let's talk about that.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 7:03 AM
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Yes, "affect" and "effect" are homonyms.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 7:06 AM
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No, they are not.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 7:08 AM
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Okay, let's talk about something else.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 7:08 AM
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Ari, boot your crippled laptop from an able one, using Firewire:

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2699

For this you need a Firewire cable!

[There is no linked address. Your name takes me to your blog, which doesn't have an email address I could see. So there.]


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 7:09 AM
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Affect and effect are not always homonyms

The verb form of affect is pronounced similarly to the noun form of effect. When effect is used as a verb, it's pronounced eee-ffect, and when affect is being used as a noun, it's pronounce in a way that I'm not able to represent. More like aaaffect than uhfect.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 7:22 AM
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But how should one pronounce bastardized foreign place names for American places? For instance, Decatur Street in New Orleans.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 7:32 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 7:41 AM
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When my Mac laptop suffered a stroke it became clear that my habit of using l33t-ed stacks of obscenities as passwords (for ease of remembering) has a downside. The tech was not very good at concealing his amusement at my embarrassment.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 7:43 AM
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I am listening to an "In Our Time" discussion of Thoreau, and it is really annoying me that they are pronouncing Concord the way that people normally pronounce concord and not the way teh residents of that town do. So, I clearly have mixed feeling. The American academic who's doing this bothers me more.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 7:50 AM
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79: Are they pronouncing Thoreau with the accent on the first syllable, as Thoreau said it?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 7:57 AM
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OT: Does anyone have any suggestions on things to do during an eight-hour layover in Amsterdam?


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 8:14 AM
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A nice Indonesian lunch? Legal hash in a coffee shop? The Van Gogh museum?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 8:18 AM
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81: "There is no need to feel like a pervert if you want to stroll through the area." But it helps.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 8:23 AM
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I knew an idiot in grad school who insisted on pronouncing Chicago's Goethe St.* in proper German fashion. Anyone who pointed out to her that per local usage this was incorrect and, you know, not so useful since if she, say, decided to show how clever she was by saying it this way to a cab driver, she wouldn't get there. She just sneered and proclaimed Chicagoans too stupid to know how to pronounce it.

*Go-thee (as in theme).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 8:28 AM
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Back to the Hudson plane non-crash, Emptywheel at Firedoglake points out that this miracle was brought to you by America's unions.

That brought to mind Jeff Faux's excellent post-9/11 piece in which he says:

A second insight revealed by the awful gaping hole in the Manhattan skyline was how ill-served we have been by a politics that perpetuates the illusion that we are all on our own and, in particular, holds the institutions of public service in contempt.

* * * *

For the last half-dozen years the media saw economic trends through the eyes of the glamorous, globe-trotting, business executive -- to the point where it seemed to many that they must represent the vast majority of American workers. And one could hardly find a more fitting symbol of the new global economy than the World Trade Center -- surrounded in the evening with a herd of sleek limousines waiting to serve the masters of the universe at the end of the day.
And yet, it turns out, that the building was run by thousands of data clerks and secretaries, waiters and dishwashers, janitors and telecommunication repair people. The roll of trade unions mourning their dead is long: firefighters, hotel and restaurant employees, police, communication workers, service employees, teachers, federal employees, pilots and flight attendants, longshoremen, professional engineers, operating engineers, the electrical workers, federal employees, building trades, and state, county, and municipal employees.

Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 8:40 AM
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Our local Goethe (a noted philanthropist/eugenicist) was pronounced Gate-ee.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 8:42 AM
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In Belzoni, Miss., they know you're a Yankee right away if you fail to pronounce it Belzon-a. Blytheville, Ark. (properly pronounced "BLAH-Vul) is another giveaway.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 8:50 AM
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My favorite shibboleth is not too far from where I am right now -- Mantua, OH. That's Man-away, folks.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 8:53 AM
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#84: Actually I see her point. If they name a street in Chicago after me, and in one hundred years' time the Chicagoans are pronouncing it "Day-Veez Street", they will be wrong wrong wrong, and I will perhaps endow a small foundation in my will to provide compensatory tea and buns for any graduate students who take on the task of correcting the ignorant bastards.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 8:58 AM
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On my podcast of TAL this morning I learned that Knecht Ruprecht is Santa's devilish alter-ego. I was also surprised to learn that I've been pronouncing it at least as correctly as the narrator.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:00 AM
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It's pronounced "Davis"? Or something inscrutably Welsh that there's no reasonable way for someone to guess at?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:02 AM
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No, Knecht Ruprecht is Santa's little devilish helper.

I've never met anyone who pronounces "Davies" any way other than "Day-veez". Including ten people with that name in my family, and people from four other families.


Posted by: frequent commenter | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:06 AM
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It's pronounced "Davis"?

It is indeed, in Wales. I have more or less given up on the project of educating Yanks about this, but when I get my Chicago thoroughfare named (I'm personally thinking that "State Street" is the best candidate for renaming; I am not even going to bother bidding for "Wacker Drive"), I'll start up again.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:09 AM
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I'm pretty sure the CTA bus announcement guy at least approximates the correct pronunciation of "Goethe."


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:10 AM
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*Go-thee (as in theme).

I have heard, even on the CTA "we are nearing this street" bus announcements, and from real people, "GoEEthee".

As in, go eethee, young man!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:10 AM
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Which one? The correct pronunciation of the German guy, or the correct pronunciation of the street?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:10 AM
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I've never met anyone who pronounces "Davies" any way other than "Day-veez". Including ten people with that name in my family, and people from four other families.

I've never met anyone who pronounces "Cairo" other than as "Cairo", but apparently Cairo, Illinois is full of them.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:11 AM
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It is indeed, in Wales.

Why isn't it spelled "Davis" then?

Is "Jones" pronounced "Johns"?


Posted by: frequent commenter | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:11 AM
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95: CTA pronunciation is famously exaggerated. Morse becomes More-eese and Wabash, Waw-baish.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:12 AM
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I've never met anyone who pronounces "Cairo" other than as "Cairo", but apparently Cairo, Illinois is full of them.

Yeah, they pronounce it "Al-Qaahira" in Illinois.


Posted by: frequent commenter | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:15 AM
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I was probably a teenager before I found out that the city in Texas wasn't HOW-ston.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:15 AM
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I usually say Kwuhbec and leave the "t" in "Montreal." So do all of my in-laws, and while that's not neutral, they are Canadian, so it's not completely crazy.

But how should one pronounce bastardized foreign place names for American places?

Like pal-uh-STEEN, Texas?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:15 AM
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I should say that I've never heard the "Goethe" announcement at first hand.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:15 AM
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heh Goatse Street heh heh


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:18 AM
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The reverse of dsquared's problem, the Brit-ification of American place names, amuses me to no end. I have been educated oh-so-helpfully by British academics as to the proper pronunciation of a certain campus of the University of California.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:18 AM
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101: I've hypothesized the existence of New Yorkers like you. Thanks for the confirmation.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:19 AM
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106: We're like unicorns.

Not really much like unicorns, admittedly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:20 AM
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My favorite city name story is that of Novi, Michigan. Pronounced NO-vye. I assumed that it was Latin-ish for "new." Or something like that.

Nope. Surveyors marking out Michigan put out signs marking areas. No. I, No. II, No. III, No. IV, No. V., No. VI. Hey, the sign said "NOVI"....


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:22 AM
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But how should one pronounce bastardized foreign place names for American places?

mumble.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:23 AM
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101: most assuredly revealing my deep cultural ignorance, but how on earth did you get to HOW-ston?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:24 AM
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Pure water gushes from your horns?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:25 AM
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Walked one block south of 1st St. If I was coming from Brooklyn, I'd cross the Williamsburg Bridge.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:25 AM
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I have been educated oh-so-helpfully by British academics as to the proper pronunciation of a certain campus of the University of California

Named after an Irish bishop who pronounced it thus; the Goethe rule applies once more.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:26 AM
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108: That's cute.

There's a small town in Québec (pronounced by most Canadians as /kəˈbɛk/, IME) called "Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!", which surely wins something.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:27 AM
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111 to 110.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:28 AM
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112: Damn, I was going to say "On the IRT".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:29 AM
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The Welsh pronounce English the same way as normal people do, but they can't spell.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:29 AM
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My honey and I recently moved onto a street with a Dutch name, and we went around pronouncing it as accurately as possible until we tried to get a cab to take us there. Apparently "Brevoort" is pronounced "BREE-vuhrt" around here.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:30 AM
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116: You know, I was going to do the same, but I can't remember what the Houston Street stop on the 6 is called. It's not called Houston -- Broadway-Something?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:31 AM
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Was 112 to 110?? Serious question. I can't figure out what else it would be too, but if the Williamsburg Bridge has something to do with HOW-ston, the connection is beyond me.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:31 AM
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105: It's true: we pronounce it UC Day-veez. What of it?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:32 AM
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118: You know, I have no idea what either the correct German or correct Brooklyn pronunciation of Schermerhorn is. That one I mumble something like "Shimmer-horn", and hope no one's listening.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:32 AM
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113: Must we saw Day-twah? Eel-an-wah? Gruss Pwahnt? Tay-hass?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:33 AM
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Williamsburg_Bridge

Really, I don't get it.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:33 AM
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Schuylkill
pronounced
"skookle"


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:33 AM
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120: Redirecting to Standpipe's blog -- there's a HOW-ston street in Manhattan, spelled "Houston". I knew the street name, and didn't know the Texas city was different.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:34 AM
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123: saw is my own personal spelling for "say." I have deemed it correct.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:34 AM
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114.---Jesus Christ, you're not lying. Looks like a grim little place.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:34 AM
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Lizardbreath tamed by a gentle and pensive maiden


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:34 AM
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119: oh, there's a HOW-ston street in NYC? Okay. I still don't get the bridge reference, but that makes sense. Any idea how that pronunciation arose?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:35 AM
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The Williamsburg Bridge puts you right on Houston (Well, there's some one-way street issues, but if you look at a map, it should be clear.) I have no ideas about where the pronunciation came from.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:36 AM
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120: Does she have to come over to your hoose and explain it in person?


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:37 AM
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119: It's Bleeker. But one of its many exits is Lafayette/Broadway/Houston.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:38 AM
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Not hoose, hyoose.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:38 AM
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try that link again


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:38 AM
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The first time I came to NYC, I was staying with a German ex who has mostly lived in the US since he was 17, but still hears things a bit differently. When he moved to New York, he was very careful to learn how the streets were pronounced, and lectured me before we left his apartment. It's Howstun not Hyoostun, Dikeman not Deekmahn, etc. But he insisted that NYers had their own pronunciation of Lafayette, because the way Americans say it sounded exactly like "Luh-FAY-et" to him. I worked very hard to train him to say "LAH-fee-yet" and he couldn't get it. It's hard to learn the right American mispronunciations.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:39 AM
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133: Bleecker. Duh.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:40 AM
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Breaking: the plane crash may have been a research project by an academic from, wouldn't you know, liberal Berkeley:

Sullenberger was recently named a visiting scholar at the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management at the University of California, Berkeley. The research center looks at natural and man-made disasters from floods to airplane crashes.

I'd give him an A+.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:40 AM
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119: It's not called Houston -- Broadway-Something?

I thought it was Broadway-Lafayette (or is that on the corss-line there). There is a "Houston Street" stop on the 1.

And you are far to kind to Brock. My God, let him twist a little, have you redirected all of your inhumanity towards striving to deny billions of unborn children their chance at life?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:40 AM
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||
No more masturbating to Andrew Wyeth. (I had no idea he was still alive up until now, myself.)
|>


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:41 AM
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"TOO kind", dammit. *TOO* FUCKING KIND to Brock


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:41 AM
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What did you thing SoHo meant in NYC? Not just a flattery by imitation of London, ya know.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:42 AM
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113: Must we saw Day-twah? Eel-an-wah? Gruss Pwahnt? Tay-hass?

Not by the "Goethe Rule" (the rule that a person's right to decide on the pronunciation of their name takes precedence over inhabitants' rights to decide the pronunciation of their town) in any of these cases.

Detroit - named after a French word for "strait", no presumption that past namers have precedence over present on foreign words rather than proper names
Illinois - not even a French word, maybe if that's how the Illinois Nation of native Americans pronounce it there might be an argument there, but I am only concerned with my rule.
Grosse Pointe - falls under the "detroit" case
Texas - Spanish word for a native American nation, might arguably fall under the "Illinois Rule" if there is one such, but I doubt it.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:43 AM
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Dikeman not Deekmahn

Our local butcher is at the corner of Broadway and Dykeman, and is called the Broaddyke Meat Market. If the neighborhood gentrifies any more, the potential for opening a lesbian bar in the space and keeping the old sign seems immense.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:44 AM
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Isn't LAH-FIE-ette one of the accepted local pronounciations of Lafayette? In the Bay Area, the city of Lafayette is totally pronounced LAH-fi-ette, but not out here.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:44 AM
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The only important Lafayette is the college in Pennsylvania. Pronounced "Laffy-et"


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:45 AM
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Jesus Christ, you're not lying. Looks like a grim little place.

I'd never lie to you about something that important.

It's in a pretty part of the continent, but I've never stopped there.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:45 AM
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Apparently the NY Street does come under the "Goethe Rule".

This is because Houston Street was named for William Houstoun (note that the spelling is different), long before the fame of Sam Houston, for whom the city in Texas is named.

But you'd think not fucking up the spelling in the first place would take precedence. (See also Cle[a]veland, Ohio.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:48 AM
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Dsquared should be aware of this town.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:50 AM
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Schermerhorn -- I mostly hear "Skimmerhorn."

And I say "LAH-FIE-ette."


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:51 AM
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So, under the proposed Goethe rule, we would have to pronounce Lafayette St. LAH-figh-yet(uh [-- very subtle])?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:52 AM
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They can call it "Nantee Glow" if they like; it's from the Welsh for "valley of coal" which would be "Nant - uh - glor", but they aren't names so locals rule.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:56 AM
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the rule that a person's right to decide on the pronunciation of their name takes precedence over inhabitants' rights to decide the pronunciation of their town

While we're setting down rules, let's address the topic of the post: if your native phonetic system includes sounds approximating those in a foreign proper noun, you must use them. If you can pronounce the i sound in 'mirror', you can pronounce the initial vowel of 'Iraq'. EYE-raq is EYE-rational.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 9:59 AM
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I enjoy finding new ways to pronounce "Cleveland": cluh-VEL-und, clehvul-LAND, etc.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:00 AM
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154: do you say KLEE-vlund or Klee-ve-lund?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:03 AM
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My ex-coblogger and I decided one summer to subtly mispronounce two things that everyone seemed to be saying a lot that year: Top Chef and YouTube. We said "Top Tchef" and "You-TUBE." I think we did this to Becks at a picnic and then laughed until we cried.

I'M SORRY BECKS WE THOUGHT IT WAS FUNNY OK?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:05 AM
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||

Jeez, can new cases stop showing up? All I've been doing all week is adjourning this and settling that and trying to figure out if we've been served in the other -- it'd be nice to be able to settle down and do some actual legal work on one case. My ear is getting sore from all the telephoning.

|>


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:07 AM
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And in Houston, it annoyed me that Bissonnet (bis-a-NET) St. turned into Binz St. a block or two before it intersected San Jacinto (ja-sint-o) St. (But probably the pronunciation of "Binz" is similarly wrong.)

Bexar County (San Antonio) is an interesting one. Texans go with what is basically "bear", which initially sounded perverse to me, but which is undoubtedly a standard local shortening of the Spanish pronunciation of Béxar. (So if you say bex-ar you lose lose twice.)

Torturing Teo in absentia is kinda fun.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:08 AM
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My ear is getting sore from all the telephoning and PEOPLE ARE WRONG ON THE INTERNET!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:10 AM
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158: Is that TAY-oh or TEH-oh?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:11 AM
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bis-a-NET

There is some local disagreement on that one.

Houston is a bad town for the changing of street names. At least your example is one of the consistent ones (a bunch of streets change name as they cross main st., that's one of them)


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:12 AM
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160 tch-EE-o


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:13 AM
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Texas - Spanish word for a native American nation, might arguably fall under the "Illinois Rule" if there is one such, but I doubt it.

Which brings to mind. . . The customs in Texas for pronouncing Spanish place/street/landmark names, which are completely arbitrary:

(1)El Paso, San Antonio . . . approximating Spanish pronunciation.

(2) Rio Grande, Guadelupe St. . . not approximating Spanish pronunciation at all.

"GuAHH-duh-loop" drives me crazy.


Posted by: Byron the Bulb | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:14 AM
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159: Yeah, scattered days where I'm doing one administrative thing after another do lead to a whole lot of commenting.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:16 AM
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Clearly it's "tay-OH", being short for "teofilo" which is of course accented on the second syllable as in famed Cuban boxer Teófilo Stevenson.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:16 AM
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w-lfs-n is wrong; the CTA bus announcement pronounces "Goethe" in the proper German way.

In my opinion, the level of obnoxiousness in proper pronunciation depends on the way the rest of your speech sounds (and who you are). For example, if you are a white person speaking American-accented English, throwing Meh-hico into conversation is obnoxious. If you are latino/a speaking perfectly American-accented English, it is only slightly obnoxious. If you speak English with a native-language-is-Spanish accent, it's not obnoxious. It's all about context, yo.

I think the best way to handle these things--satisfying your own desire to be accurate, without being obnoxious, is to pronounce words in a way that approximate the correct pronunciation using American vowel and consonant sounds (i.e. not using the foreign vowel/consonant sounds). So for Iraq, ee-rock is good, ee-ra(guttural, back of throat q) is verboten. Don't roll the r's or use difficult guttural sounds to show off your knowledge of the "correct" way. That makes you a tool.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:17 AM
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Which brings to mind. . . The customs in Texas for pronouncing Spanish place/street/landmark names, which are completely arbitrary: known as Tex-Mex.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:19 AM
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156 - what is the correct pronunciation for "YouTube" if not the one you give?


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:19 AM
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I think Rochester NY is the capital of strange place-name pronunciation. Among its neighborhoods/suburbs: Riga, pronounced "Rye-ga"; Lima, pronounced "Lye-ma"; Charlotte, with the accent on the second syllable; and Chili, pronouced "Chai-lai".


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:19 AM
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166: but under that standard, what's wrong with Meh-hico?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:20 AM
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That makes you a tool.

True. But not as much of a tool as "EYE-Rak" does.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:20 AM
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The correct pronunciation of Youtube is Yute Oob.

I say Cleveland with two syllables, but I don't completely swallow the last vowel. It actually comes out sounding like KLEE-vlind in my mouth.

Normally, I completely swallow all unaccented vowels, though. Didn't ttaM refer to this is the annoying American schwa or something?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:23 AM
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Don't roll the r's or use difficult guttural sounds to show off your knowledge of the "correct" way. That makes you a tool.

Okay, but how do you pronounce "ghazal" in English then?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:23 AM
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I think I was in college before I realized that eye-rack wasn't technically correct. I'd certainly heard ee-rock, but I thought that was just an accented pronunciation used by people who had foreign pronunciations for more or less everything.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:25 AM
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I must have known twenty people in my life called Davies, mostly English, some Welsh, some Aussies. All of them correctly pronounce it Davis, of which it is an alternate spelling. People called Yonge pronounce it Young, too.

BTW, Soup is right that the English for Québec is /kəˈbɛk/; also the English language place name Montreal is pronounced Montree-all.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:25 AM
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It actually comes out sounding like KLEE-vlind in my mouth

As in Paul Klee? Sounds awfully pretentious.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:27 AM
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AWB in 136: because the way Americans say it sounded exactly like "Luh-FAY-et" to him. I worked very hard to train him to say "LAH-fee-yet"

I did not know that Americans pronounced Lafayette this way. I've always said, "Lah-FAY-ette."


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:29 AM
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Okay, but how do you pronounce "ghazal" in English then?

"A short poem in Arabic", if you've any sense.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:29 AM
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bis-a-NET
There is some local disagreement on that one.

Between that (or some better rendered variant of it) and a more French pronunciation? Or some other alternative? 'Cuz everyone seemed pretty set on the Texified version when I was there.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:30 AM
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179 only between "-ah NET" and "-oh NET", from what I've heard.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:31 AM
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177. Oh, I do hope Colonel Stanton didn't say, "LAH-fee-yet, we are here."


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:33 AM
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"GuAHH-duh-loop" drives me crazy.

Well, San Jacinto-with-a-hard-J runs parallel to Guadaloop, so you could take that street instead.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:33 AM
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ghazal

That's tough. Saying guh-zahl is obviously no good. I would say use the "gh" sound with doing it not-super-guttaraly and kinda half-assed.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:34 AM
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I enjoy finding new ways to pronounce "Cleveland"

Sea Level Land.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:36 AM
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180: OK, yeah. Just as long as all the faggoty French stuff is expunged.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:37 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:37 AM
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Growing up in New Mexico, I got a sense that one should at least make an effort to pronounce Spanish place names and personal names correctly -- no need to roll r's and such, but get the j right, approximate the vowels (which aren't hard, after all), etc. When Easterners do things like getting the j wrong, I chalk it up to ignorance, but when Texans do it, I can't help but ascribe it to racism.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:38 AM
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You müzairfükairs should all study Inspector Clouseau.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:39 AM
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Well, San Jacinto-with-a-hard-J runs parallel to Guadaloop, so you could take that street instead.

No, that's not right, San Jacinto-with-a-hard-J runs parallel to Fannin St.

As of course everyone knows, Tom Waits wrote a song about it (Fannin St., I mean), and in primacy to the Goethe rule, there is a rule that Tom Wait's pronounciation of place names is normative.

So at least we know how to say that one.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:39 AM
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I've never pronounced Iraq ee-rock, but something more like Eh-rock with the emphasis on the eh.

It bothers me no end to hear the Canadian presenter/anchor (don't remember what they call them) on teh National pronounce Gaza. Gaa-za.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:41 AM
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(yes be, that spurious "'" was just for you)


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:41 AM
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kinda half-assed

That, I can do! Not like I can really get my throat around the "gh" sound anyway, and in Farsi it sounds almost like a French "r", and so fuck it.

"A short poem in Arabic", if you've any sense.

But what if it's a medium-sized poem in Farsi or Urdu? Dude.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:42 AM
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Well, San Jacinto-with-a-hard-J runs parallel to Guadaloop, so you could take that street instead

I tried, but they kept taking me on San Jack.


Posted by: Byron the Bulb | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:43 AM
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My honey and I recently moved onto a street with a Dutch name, and we went around pronouncing it as accurately as possible until we tried to get a cab to take us there. Apparently "Brevoort" is pronounced "BREE-vuhrt" around here.

How do you pronounce the name of the expressway that runs to JFK airport?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:45 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:47 AM
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194.---That's pretty clearly "Van Wick." Sorry, great-granddaughter of Dude Whose Name Got Away From Him.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:51 AM
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192 (2) Well then, that. Whatever. It was meant to exemplify an approach to the problem.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:51 AM
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What about Berkeley, the university, which was named after the philosopher, but then named after the city, which, in the intervening years, was named after it? How do we pronounce that?

(That is, the university was named after the Bishop Berkeley, and then a town grew up around it, which was named after the university, and then the UC system grew up, so the university was no longer "Berkeley" but "the University of California at Berkeley", which refers to the town.)

NB "Cal" is a dodge.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:53 AM
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How do we pronounce that?

Berserkly.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 10:58 AM
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How do we pronounce that?

'round here, "those fucking hippies" probably suffices.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 11:00 AM
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"Westward the course of empire takes its way,"


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 11:00 AM
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198: Barkley. Nice try, but past injustices can't be rendered normative through the passage of time. That's how this whole Middle East mess got started.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 11:02 AM
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Okay, but how do you pronounce "ghazal" in English then?

Gozzle.

People called Yonge pronounce it Young, too.

There are no "people called Yonge". Just a street in Toronto. Which is pronounced Young.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 11:03 AM
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202 is one of the most perfect Molotov cocktails of a comment I have ever read. My hat goes off to you Mr Davies.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 11:06 AM
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202. Out of curiosity, when somebody runs you off the road by not looking where they're going, do you wind down your window and scream, "Use your mirrors you fucking bark!"?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 11:07 AM
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Berkeley exists only in the mind. Who cares?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 11:07 AM
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I usually pronounce Québec the French way, although comments upthread made me realize that I pronounce Montreal the English way. Odd.

Is "gila," as in "gila monster," pronounced "hila" in all contexts, or just some of them?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 11:12 AM
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205: Aha! So "berk" is pronounced "berk" and not "bark," despite being derived from "Berkeley Hunt"?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 11:13 AM
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205: Obviously, that one's pronounced "cunt".


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 11:13 AM
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Wait a second, The University of California took over the College of California. It wasn't known as "Berkeley" until they had to distinguish it from University of California Southern Branch, now known as UCLA.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 11:14 AM
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209: dsquared surely approves of that!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 11:15 AM
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206: Well, but Berkeley only exists in all our minds because it originates in the mind of God.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 11:20 AM
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208. FWIW, I suspect the inconsistency of "berk" and "Berkeley", which is one of several instances of "er" being pronounced "ar" in standard Brit (Derby, clerk), reflects a vowel shift which occurred at different times in different social classes - not uncommon. And probably started after 1776.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 11:21 AM
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I have heard that the Irish pronunciation of "Berkeley" was Berkley (as Americans now pronounce the city) and that the standard pronunciation of the philosopher's name derives from an English mispronunciation.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 11:23 AM
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Maybe if God existed, I suppose. When God disappears, Berkeley does too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 11:30 AM
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||

No more masturbating to Sir John Mortimer

|>


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 11:33 AM
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On the other hand, I still call Poland "Greater Silesia".

Fuck that, it's "Oh yeah, that used to be Prussia, didn't it?" to me. Kinda wordy, but there you go.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 11:37 AM
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Not like I can really get my throat around the "gh" sound anyway, and in Farsi it sounds almost like a French "r", and so fuck it.

I keep thinking about taking Arabic classes, motivated in very large part by my desire to learn how to pronounce "ghayn" properly.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 11:39 AM
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216: You know, I went to law school partially in a sort of vague, halfhearted emulation of Rumpole.

Has there been an unusual death toll of famous people in the last couple of days?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 11:49 AM
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217: I prefer Northern Slovenia. Just to bring out the earnest pedant in Emerson.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 11:55 AM
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219: Do you refer to Buck as "He who must be obeyed"?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 11:55 AM
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My decision in 2 is looking better all the time.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 12:19 PM
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218: Make sure you pick a good one.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 12:20 PM
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Goethe rule, Schmoethe rule. You can't go anywhere on public transit in DC without hearing somebody butcher at least one of L'Enfant, McPherson, or Grosvenor. Also I live just up the street from Cardozo High, the colloquial mispronunciation of which always hurts my ears. Listen to the local radio and you sometimes hear news of both "Cardoza High" and the "Cardozo Law Center," both of which were named after the same person.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 12:26 PM
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My grandmother attended the University of California, Southern Branch.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 12:26 PM
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There was a UCSB before UCSB?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 12:29 PM
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Nothing new under the sun at all, I'm afraid.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 12:30 PM
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160:158: Is that TAY-oh or TEH-oh?

Having no guidance on the subject, but knowing he is from New Mexico, I go with Tee-yo (soft y), like mi tia but different.

But then, if I have spoken to many Mexican people in the recent past (and/or I speaking to a Spanish speaker), I say San(d) Huh-SINto (not San(d) Huh-SEEN-toh); and if I have spoken to many Midwesterners recently, I say San(d) Guh-SINto. Likewise Ah-ma-ree-yo versus Am-ma-RILL-o. And bay-HA versus bay-HAR.

max
['But I am influenced by the Nations.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 12:31 PM
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If Eyerack is not allowed is it still OK to say Gitmo?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 12:36 PM
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218: There's actually what's supposed to be a very good language institute right near me. You have to start with Modern Standard Arabic, but they offer classes in a wide range of dialects. The only thing that gives me pause is that I don't really use the one foreign language I already speak fluently, and I know from learning that just how important constant exposure is; I'm not sure how much opportunity I'd get to use Arabic.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 12:38 PM
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I'm not sure how much opportunity I'd get to use Arabic.

You could do voluntary terrorist tracking on the internet, like that housewife in Ohio or wherever.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 12:53 PM
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It's funny that UK citizens are complaining about pronunciation, since all the Brits I've known are pretty unapologetic about pronouncing the names exactly as they would be pronounced if they were an English name.

We're just getting back into the descriptivist wars again. DFW would be so proud.
My rule is: go ahead and try to pronounce it as was originally intended, but if you're wrong, you're a pretentious asshat (as the Al-Qahira and Day-twah examples above have hinted at). The most irritating is when people consistently pronounce other peoples' names differently than they themselves do. I knew someone with the last name Horr (pronounced Harr), which was unfortunate. Then again I have been known to pronounce apoptosis as apo-tosis.

My favorites:
Des Moines, IL (Da Moyne)
Des Plaines, IL (as it's spelled)
Dubois, PA (dooboyss)
Gough St. (Goff)
Cairo, IL (Cayrow)


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 12:54 PM
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If Eyerack is not allowed is it still OK to say Gitmo?

Not really the same issue, TLL. Besides, "Gitmo" is more of a hapless falling into military jargon, rather than toolish, don't you think?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 1:08 PM
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I like to say OH reh gone, which sounds much more dramatic that ORE eh gun


Posted by: Trevor | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 1:15 PM
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234: Using military jargon that you don't come by honestly is hugely toolish: See every warblogger, ever. But Gitmo has moved into the realm of popular usage, I think.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 1:17 PM
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But Gitmo has moved into the realm of popular usage, I think.

Yeah, that's what I meant. It's really not the same issue as mispronouncing Iraq, but it's also not precisely toolish (in the way that the warbloggers you describe are)


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 1:19 PM
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"Guantánamo" is more pleasurable to pronounce.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 1:21 PM
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Mispronunciation of Iraq is military jargon, also. For some of us. (cf Stevie Wonder)


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 1:21 PM
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238: It makes me start singing "Guantanamera," which always segues into Peter Tork on the Monkees singing "Wonton Tomato."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 1:24 PM
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Wyclef Jean's Guantanamera is nice.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 1:31 PM
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"Yo soy un hombre sincero, de donde sufren los presos..."


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 1:31 PM
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One ton of metal?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 1:31 PM
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There must already exist a satirical version of the song about Gitmo, but I really should be working and not Googling right now.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 1:33 PM
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I thought it was "One ton tomato"

"One ton tomaaaaaaaaaaato
We eat a one ton tomato"


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 1:41 PM
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245: Probably!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 1:42 PM
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Wyclef Jean's Guantanamera is nice.

My daughter and I regularly faux-tango to this song on our Dance Party nights, complete with me counting out the steps Arthur Murray style.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 1:45 PM
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I thought it was "One ton tomato"

THAT'S NOT WHAT THEY'RE REALLY SINGING


Posted by: OPINIONATED BENNY LAVA | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 1:58 PM
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Mispronunciation of Iraq is military jargon, also. For some of us.

Fuck that. It's a country's name, and you don't willfully mispronounce those in your *own* language unless you are being a dickhead. Nobody expects phonetically perfect mimicry of a native. But you put some minimal effort in. Not that we can expect the military to be dickhead free, but it doesn't let anyone off the hook.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 2:14 PM
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McPherson

Dude, c'mon. Americans pronouncing it as mick-FAIR-son would sound like Scottish wannabes. I would be willing to lobby Metro drivers to play a tape of nattargcM saying it, though.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 2:25 PM
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Granted that dickheadedness is to be avoided, the mispronunciation of the host country would be low on my list of the sins committed. I doubt it is done intentionally by many if not most.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 2:27 PM
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It makes me start singing "Guantanamera"

Me too!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 2:28 PM
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I doubt it is done intentionally by many if not most.

Agree this is a problem of too many dickheads in (prominent) media, and general ignorance, not so much of general intent. And yes, it's a long list, so this is nothing to get too hung up on, I'm just saying nobody gets a pass on this stuff. Gentle mockery is appropriate if repeated after correction, is all.

The dickheadedness of media and politicians who actually do know better is annoying, but as you say, bigger fish to fry there.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 2:33 PM
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||

I need to get ready to go to my new volunteer gig at the Community Tax Center, but I just can't harden my heart to disturb the cat who is draped across my legs, completely sacked out.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 2:36 PM
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Is the cat named Howard Jarvis? Maybe it is a feline tax protest.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 2:38 PM
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Sacked out looking-ass kitty!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 2:38 PM
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255 is awesome.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 2:42 PM
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Not that 254 isn't meritorious, but I had to look up Howard Jarvis.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 2:44 PM
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Prop 13!! Even had a cameo in "Airplane" (He's the guy who is left in the cab).


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 3:13 PM
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/charleycarp/1644691812/

I went to high school in Lahf-ee-ett, Californya. Then I went to Cal -- only people from the southern part of the state called it by its location back then.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 4:18 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 5:12 PM
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It's a country's name, and you don't willfully mispronounce those in your *own* language unless you are being a dickhead.

So then, how does one pronounce "Germany"?


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 5:39 PM
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Germany? It is an English word, so the way you normally would.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 6:01 PM
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"Pakistan" is every bit as much an English word, whether or not it sounds a bit more like what Pakistanis call their country.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 7:50 PM
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No, Pakistan's an Urdu word we use in English, while Germany is an English word.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 7:57 PM
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Keir is a Jesuit who comments on blogs.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 7:59 PM
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Note "willfully" in above. Mispronouncing out of ignorance, or because it's more natural is quite different than intentionally shifting the pronounciation to put your own stamp on it. The latter done the way US pols and media have use "eye-rack" to continue the example, is basically saying "fuck you, you don't matter" to the country in question. That's the only bit I'm objecting too.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 8:01 PM
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Huh! You're one to talk!


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 8:06 PM
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I say "frAWnce".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 8:16 PM
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I grew up in a city (okay, not really in the city, but in a township outside the city, which township has since been amalgamated into the city...) that was about 30 percent French-speaking. In fact, the city was somewhat separated, if not segregated, along linguistic lines, with the east end (closer to Montreal!) much more French than the west end (I grew up west of the west end). But, lots of French street names (and also lots of streets named after British lords), and totally normal to hear people speaking French on the bus, and etc.

I had never really thought of this before, but reading this thread makes me realize that where I grew up, the norm for English speakers is to pronounce French names and placenames in an English way that gestures toward the proper French pronunciation but without trying to sound too faux-French. To say Québec in English conservation might sound ridiculously affected, but to say Kweebeck might sound deliberately insulting to francophones. So the pronunciation is basically something in between. For St Laurent Shopping Centre, say, you don't pronounce the "t" in Saint, but on the other hand, you do give the "r" in Laurent an English rather than a French spin (or otherwise risk sounding a bit affected).

I try not to care about pronunciation (potato/potahto and etc.), and I know that I mispronounce all sorts of things. But Eye-raq is one pronunciation that really does bother me. It just seems deliberate, I guess (though probably it isn't).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 8:27 PM
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I think eye-RACK is probably a fairly natural pronunciation for many southerners, and perhaps EYE-rack for a few. I think the former was the pronunciation I picked up by default growing up. (Lately I've switched to ih-RACK or ih-ROCK after hearing the other pronunciation around a bunch.)


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 8:33 PM
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St. Louis has a Choteau Avenue, pronounced show-TOH.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 11:06 PM
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Paris has an Avenue du Président Kennedy, pronounced kenneh-DY.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-16-09 11:17 PM
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Huh! You're one to talk!

That is how I knew you.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 12:17 AM
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Surely someone has said this already, but the muse streets in New Orleans are all pronounced as though they're being read for the first time by someone hooked on phonics. Terps-sick-or, kal-ee-OPE, etc. Tres charmante.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 12:34 AM
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274: I didn't, until I just now looked it up, know that "terpsichore" doesn't actually rhyme with "crowded floor." I blame Sammy Cahn and Frank Sinatra.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 12:40 AM
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There are techniques for that, you know.

Advanced pronouncers will enjoy the corresponding advanced version.

Both of these rely occasionally on frankly outdated pronunciations, it must be admitted, such as the rhyme of "lieutenant" and "left pennants". Presumably they were current at the time, or perhaps even remain current in backwaters such as London.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 12:51 AM
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great chaos, i wish there were audio for it


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 8:47 AM
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I think eye-RACK is probably a fairly natural pronunciation for many southerners, and perhaps EYE-rack for a few

There is also an exaggeratedly Southern accent with distortion that has become the standard military pronunciation for certain words. I wouldn't be at all surprised if some younger soldiers were hazed out of pronouncing Iraq properly.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 10:06 AM
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what's the scent of the beast?
i was referring to the poem of course, though the unfogged podcast would be awesome too
i recalled how i finished listening to all old metafilter podcasts and felt like i accomplished something


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-17-09 12:26 PM
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