If I say ‘toe-mah-toe’ does that assure me a better seat than if I say ‘toe-may-toe?’
The Chilean earthquake tragedy made all in the United States, if not the entire world, know how to pronounce ‘Chile’ and ‘Chilean.’ My entire life I walked around pronouncing it ‘Chilly.’ Own up to it, so did everybody else. I wonder how many people through out my life made fun of me and talked behind my back for mispronouncing the tiny sliver of land on the west coast of South America? The people who made fun of me probably thought it was the Mediterranean island where chili peppers are grown and processed.
When in Rome – don’t try to sound Italian
Frankly, aren’t we getting just a bit too precise? Do people from other countries really get offended if we give an American twist to their language. Do they think more of us if we try it with their accent and pronunciation?
Are we going to start calling it ‘Deutschland’ instead of ‘Germany?’ The next thing you know when we start talking about France we will bring out our best ‘Inspector Clouseau” French accent. “Pardon moi, but I am ex-pec-TING a phune cyall froom Pa-REE.” We really end up sounding like clowns when we try to sound anything other than who we are.
If I am held up by some Mexican illegal and he says, “Okay reeeech fat cat Americano handt over you walleet.” I’m not going to say, “Hey Ricardo Montalbon, not until you lose that accent and stop rolling your ‘r’s.”
How many ways are there to pronounce the countries of Qatar or Pakistan? It is like a competitive word pronunciation tournament. ‘I can be more precise than you. So take that Fox News. We at NBC and MSNBC offend no one with colloquialisms and a myopic view of the world revealed by strictly American pronunciations.’
Does The Media Always Get it Right?
I hate it when all the sudden the media get a hold of something they have done incorrectly for ages and then all the sudden do it right as if they were doing it right all along. Why not own up to the mistake first. Oh, they are perfect, silly me. They never make mistakes.
For years, the globe on the NBC Nightly News spun the wrong way during the opening of the telecast. One night, to everybody’s dismay (including the earth’s), they owned up to the mistake and started the earth spinning in the right direction. Really, the earth spinning in the wrong direction, somebody had to own up to that one. An internal memo suggested they might first blame god. Can we trust someone who can’t get the spinning of the globe right with how to pronounce Chile, Nicaragua, or Cote d’Ivoire?
Was there a decision somewhere by some editor or a member of the politically correct police that said, ‘We are offending millions of people around the world? Let’s all start rolling our ‘r’s’ when we pronounce any Latin name.” It was somewhat weird. During the Sonia Sotomayor confirmation proceedings for the Supreme Court it was like listening to a Dulcolax commercial and all the sudden when they get to her name they spin the dial to Radio Havana.
Did Robert McNeil of PBS’s McNeil/Lehrer report have to learn how to say ‘White House’ instead of ‘hoose.’ Do broadcasts originating in the U.S. and sent to Canada have an “ay” dubbed at the end of each sentence? How far does one have to go so as not to offend?
Does my Chi-Lay come with Lee-ma beans?
What if everybody went into a Wendy’s and asked for a bowl of Chi-LAY? Or it sure is a Chi-LAY day. ‘How bout some fries a la Fraun-SAY and und sandwich ach haum-burg?’ Have you ever heard a French diplomat speaking in French and suddenly come upon the word ‘United States?’ He doesn’t brake into a Gomer Pyle ‘Un-i-terd States.’
For my part whether it’s a cold day, a bowl of soup, or a South American country they’re all “CHILLY” to me. And by the way, the next time somebody says ‘Lee-ma,’ Ohio instead of Lima, stuff a Lima bean up their nose.