pronunciation of foreign city names

Outsider

Senior Member
Portuguese (Portugal)
Note: this thread was split from this one, at my request. I felt I had driven the conversation away from its original topic, and I also did not want this conversation to influence the replies to the poll in the other thread. My thanks to the moderators.

The following post of mine was partly a comment to this post made by foxfirebrand.


Obviously, some words are pronounced differently in different languages (e.g. Eng. PA-ris, Fr. pa-REE; Eng. NAY-ples, It. NAH-poli). I think that's more or less inevitable. However, the case I raised here happens within a single language.

It looks like many people feel that the right way to pronounce the word is as locals do. But let me raise a question: the locals of New Orleans pronounce the name of their city the way they do because they speak with a regional accent. But their regional accent is not considered a standard for English. So should a foreigner like me really try to speak as locals do, or follow the American standard? (I'm not disputing that if I ever travelled to New Orleans it might be sensible to try to pronounce the word as locals do. But what if I'm just a foreign newscaster who will never actually be in New Orleans in his life?)
 
  • foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Outsider said:
    But their regional accent is not considered a standard for English. So should a foreigner like me really try to speak as locals do, or follow the American standard?
    You shouldn't try to say, "if at ole dawg wo'n hunt, whah evin yeewsim? Leave im lah under the powurch all day." But there's no all-language standard for local place names. If the people in Pierre, SD don't pronounce it pee-YAIR, or the folks in Helena MT don't pronounce it hul-LEE-na, then a newscaster who does just that is displaying his ignorance and annoying people.

    It doesn't matter that he doesn't have direct contact with his subject matter in his daily life. He still tries to read copy about wars in places he's never been, and in interviews he calls his subjects by name, people he's never met. What kind of slob newscaster would he be if he didn't take them aside before going on camera and find out how they pronounce their names?

    I thought the American newscasters who talked about the "Simoleons," during our recent skirmish on the African Horn, were a disgrace to their profession and an embarrassment to my country. Simoleon is an old-fashioned, kinda literary slang term for a dollar. It isn't and never has been our regional peculiarity in pronouncing Somalian. Staying with the theme, there were people in the newscasting profession who lived through 12 years of the Vietnam War and still called it VEET nam, or if they were from the South, veet NAY-um. Doesn't make it right, even if the usage catches on with some people.

    You have to account for differences in dialect, yes. You'll never get people to hyphenate the Californian Governator's name Schwartzen-egger, it'll always be Schwortz-a-negger, and nine times out of ten the "w" won't be pronounced like a "v"-- excuse me, 999 times out of a thousand. But you hear people in the broadcasting profession pronouncing it SHWORT-snigger, and they do make it sound like the you-know-what-word.

    Anglicise it all you want, say New OR-lins, it's close enough. But Orleeeeens is so wrong, that the more widespread coverage gets, and the more people hear interviews with natives pronouncing it right, the easier it is to feel that the outsiders just don't have the common respect for people other than themselves, to get it right. In fact the bogus pronunciation is stressed so weirdly and so gleefully sometimes, almost mockingly-- the intention to mispronounce seems almost deliberate. And this is doubly wrong, the more widespread becomes the knowledge that people who live there find it bothersome.

    I hate to sound like I've got a mindset that's locked in humorless rationality, or that I believe in walking on eggshells all the time. Did I mention that the city in question is located mostly in Orleans Parish? Pronounced, by Cajun and coon-ass alike, Or-LEEEEENS Parish?
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    Outsider said:
    Obviously, some words are pronounced differently in different languages (e.g. Eng. PA-ris, Fr. pa-REE; Eng. NAY-ples, It. NAH-poli). I think that's more or less inevitable. However, the case I raised here happens within a single language.

    It looks like many people feel that the right way to pronounce the word is as locals do. But let me raise a question: the locals of New Orleans pronounce the name of their city the way they do because they speak with a regional accent. But their regional accent is not considered a standard for English. So should a foreigner like me really try to speak as locals do, or follow the American standard? (I'm not disputing that if I ever travelled to New Orleans it might be sensible to try to pronounce the word as locals do. But what if I'm just a foreign newscaster who will never actually be in New Orleans in his life?)
    When I say New Orleans, I pronounce the three elements exactly as my standard way of saying 'new' 'or' and 'leans'.

    That is what I would recommend anyone to do.

    I don't say "Noo Joyzee" for New Jersey. I don't try to pronounce Dublin with a Jackeen accent, or Liverpool (UK) with a Scouse accent.
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Brioche said:
    I don't say "Noo Joyzee" for New Jersey. I don't try to pronounce Dublin with a Jackeen accent, or Liverpool (UK) with a Scouse accent.
    But would you say Dubb-LEEN? People in Noo Joyzee pronounce it in standard American English, by the way-- making a point of saying "Noo Joyzee" would be the same kind of perhaps "well-meant" mockery as "Noo OrLEEEEEENS."

    "Way Down Yonder in New Or Leens" was written by the hacks in the Brill Building, if that tells you anything.

    And I will double-goddamn guarontee that not one of you would say that Joan of Arc was the Maid of OrLEEEEENS. I'm right, aren't I? Hmmmm? So why is that?
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    foxfirebrand said:
    You shouldn't try to say, "if at ole dawg wo'n hunt, whah evin yeewsim? Leave im lah under the powurch all day." But there's no all-language standard for local place names. If the people in Pierre, SD don't pronounce it pee-YAIR, or the folks in Helena MT don't pronounce it hul-LEE-na, then a newscaster who does just that is displaying his ignorance and annoying people.
    Why? What's so special about city names? Aren't they just words, like any other words?

    foxfirebrand said:
    Anglicise it all you want, say New OR-lins, it's close enough. But Orleeeeens is so wrong [...]
    It's the most voted option in the poll I started...

    foxfirebrand said:
    [...] that the more widespread coverage gets, and the more people hear interviews with natives pronouncing it right, the easier it is to feel that the outsiders just don't have the common respect for people other than themselves, to get it right.
    Isn't it possible that it just never occurred to outsiders that they should pronounce that particular word differently from how they pronounce other words in the English language?
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    foxfirebrand said:
    It's one thing to say PERR-iss instead of pa-REE because certain languages have their own way of pronouncing faraway places. I notice the idea was raised that, if you go to a faraway place, it might be a good thing to change your pronunciation to the correct form.

    I suggest that in today's world pa-REE isn't as far away as it used to be. This forum is immediate, it exists at our fingertips. The faraway is less and less exotic as we become more educated about each other.

    I used to talk about a city in Iddaly called NAY-p'ls. Then I lived in NAH-pu-lee for three years. It's a faraway city now, but not so far from my heart, and I don't call it by the name a foreigner to that place would use. I think when I was younger I was more ignorant, and it is a good thing to become less ignorant.

    QUOTE]

    The city known as Naples in English, is called Napoli in Italian. However, the language of the people who live there is Nnapulitano, and they say Napule.
    So what's correct?
     

    GenJen54

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Originally posted by Outsider
    Why? What's so special about city names? Aren't they just words, like any other words?
    No. They're names. Many are named after famous people, or in the case of New Orleans, a city from the "old world." The pronunciation from the original "Or-lay-ahn(s)" shifted over a century ago.

    When you go to another country, do you not try to pronounce those city names the way the natives say them? Why should you have your own pronunciation when it is a name? As FFB stated earlier, what do you do when people mis-pronounce your own name? Do you not correct them?

    It's the most voted option in the poll I started...
    That doesn't make it RIGHT.

    Isn't it possible that it just never occurred to outsiders that they should pronounce that particular word differently from how they pronounce other words in the English language?
    That's a possibility, too, but demonstrates ignorance on their part.
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    GenJen54 said:
    No. They're names. Many are named after famous people, or in the case of New Orleans, another place from the "old world." The pronunciation from the original "Or-lay-ahn(s)" shifted over a century ago.

    When you go to another country, do you not try to pronounce those city names the way the natives say them?
    It can be complicated when the people of that country speak a language which is not my native language, of which I was taugh a 'standard' version, but the local people actually do not speak according to that standard.

    And (here's some more food for thought) what if more than one language is current in the region? For example, what is the 'right' name of the city of Brussels? Bruxelles (French)? Brussel (Flemish)? Am I allowed to say 'Bruxelles' with a French accent, since I don't speak Flemish, and I don't know the Belgian accent?...

    GenJen54 said:
    Why should you have your own pronunciation when it is a name? As FFB stated earlier, what do you do when people mis-pronounce your own name? Do you not correct them?
    It depends on how serious the mispronunciation is. If the person is a foreigner, I take it for granted that they will have difficulty in pronouncing my name 100% right.

    I actually come from a region of my country where our accent is not standard, but if someone pronounces my name with the standard pronunciation (or according to another regional accent) I do not correct them. I don't see it as a wrong, just as another right way to say it. :)

    GenJen54 said:
    It's the most voted option in the poll I started...
    That doesn't make it RIGHT.
    I agree, and we don't even know if all the people who replied to the poll were native speakers, and of course many of the native speakers were not from the United States (the 'New Or-LEENS' pronunciation seems to be common in Australia). But it does still show how widespread the pronunciation New Or-LEENS is.
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Brioche said:
    The city known as Naples in English, is called Napoli in Italian. However, the language of the people who live there is Nnapulitano, and they say Napule.
    So what's correct?
    First of all, it's not usually correct to offend people, especially after you know you're being offensive.

    Naples is a big tourist destination, and they attract visitors from all over. The Ciceroni who offer freelance guided tours are widespread, and they learn their sightseeing patter in a half dozen languages. It's one of the most polyglot cities in the world, serially misruled, since the days it was founded by Greeks in 800 BC, by a succession of Romans, Goths, Lombards, Saracens, Normans, Spanish, French Bourbons, Northern "Italians," Germans and Americans.

    Some of these people have influenced their language. Ne-a-po-lis has changed to Na-po-li (in Toscano) and Na-pu-li or even Na-bbu-li (in "Neapolitan" or Nabulidàn).

    These people know their city is called NAY-p'lz in English, NA-po-les in Spanish, NA-p'l in French, and so on. It doesn't offend them any more than the Northern Italian pronunciation offends them. Well, the Northerners do offend them, but that's getting off-topic.

    When in Naples, most people make an effort to call it Napoli out of simple respect, I should imagine-- but it's not a huge deal.

    When I lived there I called it Napuli both in dialect and in English. I still kinda pronounce Italian words correctly among English-speaking types, but I relax into my American accent a little, because pronouncing foreign words in a crisply correct way, just among ourselves, can be seen as a little lah-ti-dah. I don't hesitate to call the place Naples in English, because that's a well-received usage, even in Naples, as I say.

    You ask a simple but complicated question. And the question of paying respect to other cultures is fraught with hazards that make communication nigh impossible-- why make it worse by imposing a foreign standard on people who are offended by it?

    Naples lives on tourism, and they are a notoriously tolerant people-- search through history in vain to find evidence of an uprising in Naples against an occupying force, even the Romans. But New Orleans, though it is a tourist Mecca, is also a Southern city in a former Confederate state. We don't like Yankees and other outsiders coming down there and ignoring the way the cities are pronounced. People who say LOO-iss-ville aren't so bad, people who say Bi-LOX-ee are forgivably ignorant. But the New OR-lins pronunciation has been heard incessantly, especially lately, and it's getting to be about time people got it right.

    And no to whoever asked, amazingly, "aren't city/people's names just English words?" Guess what-- they're not. I'm not making this up.

    I've noticed that a couple of news heads were saying New Or-LEEEEENS during the early part of this recent coverage, and I don't hear it any more. Someone obviously gave them a clue, and doing the right thing about it was their choice. Be stubborn and self-righteous and American Southerners will smile at you and speak to you in sugary polite tones-- it's our notorious custom, but it has layers of nuance that outsiders don't hear.

    I also cringe at Nick-a-REGG-yoo-uh. Don't you?
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    foxfirebrand said:
    And no to whoever asked, amazingly, "aren't city/people's names just English words?" Guess what-- they're not. I'm not making this up.
    'Whoever asked it' now asks: and what's the big difference between people or city names, and other words? They're all conventional designations of someone or something.
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Outsider said:
    'Whoever asked it' now asks: and what's the big difference between people or city names, and other words? They're all conventional designations of someone or something.
    Find an elementary grammar. Look up "common noun." Look up "proper noun." Then meditate on the word "proper" in its other senses. That's what.

    You got huffy at "whoever asked it," and by doing that you showed that slighting a person's name is instinctively, and universally, offensive. Can you deny that you proved my very point?
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    foxfirebrand said:
    Find an elementary grammar. Look up "common noun." Look up "proper noun." Then meditate on the word "proper" in its other senses. That's what.

    You got huffy at "whoever asked it," and by doing that you showed that slighting a person's name is instinctively, and universally, offensive. Can you deny that you proved my very point?
    Can we not make this personal, please? It would spoil what, to me, is just an intellectually stimulating conversation.

    I did find it ironic, though, that you get so offended that people mispronounce the name of a (for many, faraway) city, but find it O.K. to not even bother to know the screen name of the person whose words you are commenting on (with the proper accent or not). Food for thought?

    Given this difference of degree between the two situations, I don't believe I've proven your point, no.
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Outsider said:
    I did find it ironic, though, that you get so offended that people mispronounce the name of a (for many, faraway) city, but find it O.K. to not even bother to know the screen name of the person whose words you are commenting on (with the proper accent or not). Food for thought?
    I feigned the disregard, in a rhetorical trick called argumentum ab exemplo, and was going to refer to it in whatever post I made next, whether the bait was taken or not.

    You made the issue that carelessness with names is okay because they're just words. I'm sure you wouldn't frame it that way, but "getting names right" was the topic at hand. By demonstrating what "not bothering to" felt like to the recipient, I got an emotional response.

    The offense was in the exact same category as the one I've been discussing, and as I say, my plan was to use that slight as an example whether you objected to it or not. The fact that you did so, and huffily, cinched it-- in my humble opinion.

    If I was speaking so generally I didn't refer to you in particular, how could it be called "getting personal?"

    My point is, there is no special name for New Orleans in other languages. How you pronounce it is strictly a matter of choice. Widespread error mitigates the offensiveness some, but once you learn better persisting in an obnoxious error is a pointless exercise in oh-yeah-ism.

    It's not a matter of using a "nonstandard dialect" other than your own. One can say "New Orleans" correctly without pronouncing every lilt and downglide, or getting all the vowel/diphthongs perfectly "in tune." If your own peculiar dialect is rhotic, you can say "Or" instead of "Aw." If you want to draw out "le-uns" instead of the elided "-l'ns" it's no big deal. People who say NASH-ville aren't excoriated for not saying NAYSH-v'l, but if they persisted in saying nash-VEEL, citing your ideas about sticking with your own way of saying things, you'd arouse a derogatory attitude, just as you've done in this post. This is not a matter of "taking things personally," or a character flaw in the beholder-- it's a universal reaction people have to stubborn rudeness.

    And I reassert my point that you yourself reacted with umbrage when you felt your name had been disregarded. You did, and I see it as an example of exactly what we've been talking about.

    You never addressed the point about Joan of Arc. In the company of people who knew the correct pronunciation of Orléans and had taken the trouble to pronounce it correctly for your benefit, would you call Joan of Arc "the Maid of OrLEEEEENS?"
     

    Maestro TD

    Member
    United States - English
    I can say that I truly do not care if other people pronounce my name differently. When I was in France, A French family asked me how to pronounce my name. So after doing so, they found out that that pronunciation was too difficult for them. Since then, I have heard different "Frenchified" versions of my name. Honestly, I don't care. I understand that not everyone in this world can pronounce every single human sound in the same manner. In fact, many Americans can't even pronounce my name the way I do. (My name is not a typical name. My father made it up. ;))

    However, it is true that after having learned a certain foreign language (other than English in my case), I tend to pronounce proper names or places as I have learned in the language.
     

    daviesri

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Just my opinion:

    1. To not pronounce a cities name the same way as the locals is not a crime. For the newscaster that pronounces New Orleans one way, there are probably just as many people that pronounce it the way he does, if not more, than use the local pronunciation. The fact that the parish is Or-leens Parish is probably even more confusing to those that are not locals. Many people pronounce Houston and Katy as House-tun and cat-ee and by doing that I know that they not locals, but I am not terribly offended.

    2. To mispronounce ones name can be offensive. If you are going to use someones name in a newscast it is polite to get their name correct.

    3. The issue with "simoleans" and "Somalians", I agree makes the reporter look stupid. The issue with this is that he did not mispronounce the word, he used a different word with a different meaning.
     

    MrMagoo

    Senior Member
    Westphalia, Germany; German
    Why does this topic raise so much aggression?!
    People do pronounce names differently, according to many reasons.

    First of all when you learn about foreign cities, usually, the pronunciation should be as close to the original pronunciation as possible. It may be though, that special sounds of a foreign language don't exist in your native language, so normally, an equal-sounding phoneme is used instead.

    Personally, I say [n(j)u_or'li:ns] because that's the way I learnt it and that's the way most Germans would say it. This may be wrong in native speakers' ears, but in general you can say: Many people pronounce foreign city names "incorrectly".

    I can only go on with some German examples now...
    The spelling of foreign cities usually remains but there's of course a German accent when pronouncing them.
    I pronounce "Paris" e.g. as [pa'ri:s], New York as [nu:) )jo:k] and London as ['london].
    (Interestingly, the sound "j" in "New" may occur in New Orleans, but it does never in New York.)

    New York btw. had a Germanized form about 100 years ago: It was called "Neu-York" (usually with a hyphen!).
    There are only very few Germanized names of foreign towns nevertheless as people want to avoid misunderstandings and also have a pronunciation closer to the original one.

    In English on the other hand, many German towns and cities have a different pronuniation and spelling;
    München ['mynçn] e.g. is Munich in English
    Nürnberg ['nyrnberk] changes to Nuremberg
    Köln [köln] is Cologne
    Hannover [ha'no:fa] lost an n and is Hanover
    Hameln ['ha:meln] is Hamelin and
    Konstanz ['konstants] changes to Constance...

    foxfirebrand said:
    Anglicise it all you want, say New OR-lins, it's close enough. But Orleeeeens is so wrong, that the more widespread coverage gets, and the more people hear interviews with natives pronouncing it right, the easier it is to feel that the outsiders just don't have the common respect for people other than themselves, to get it right.
    Well, compared to my examples above, Orleeens can't be that wrong ;)
    This has nothing to do with showing respect to other people - or does that mean there's no respect for people from Nürnberg or Hameln just because non-natives go on calling it Nuremberg and Hamelin?! :confused: *mhhh*

    I myself live in the city of Paderborn, correctly pronounced [pada'boan], but everybody who's not from here calls it ['pa:derbo:rn], people from Britain or America tend to pronounce it ['peiderborn]. Of course, that has nothing to do with not showing respect or whatever - it's just a regional difference or a foreign pronunciation, nothing else...:)

    -MrMagoo
     

    fenixpollo

    moderator
    American English
    Maestro TD said:
    I can say that I truly do not care if other people pronounce my name differently. I understand that not everyone in this world can pronounce every single human sound in the same manner. In fact, many Americans can't even pronounce my name the way I do. (My name is not a typical name. My father made it up.)
    Hello, paisano! :)

    Like you, I have an uncommon name (my last name) that is often difficult for others to pronounce. Unlike you, I don't like it when people mispronounce my name. I give people a "freebie" of course, if it's their first time, but even so it grates on my nerves a little.

    If someone purposely mispronounces my name (or the name of my hometown), then they are being disrespectful because they know better. If they do it unintentionally, then they are being disrespectful because they don't care about me enough to learn a pronunciation that is acceptable to me.

    For you, it may be all about pronunciation, but for me it's all about respect. FFB and Outsider can argue all they want about what is correct, but for me it is also about being considerate of the other.

    I take heart in the trend of changing mispronounced place names to something closer to their original names. "Bombay" is now officially Mumbai; "Peking" is now officially Beijing. Hopefully this trend will continue as we become more connected with other cultures.... I can't help but hope that "Cairo" will soon be El-Qahira... and "Munich" will be München.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    I heard a news report about cricket on the BBC yesterday. Those good ol' boys, John Major and Mick Jagger were discussing some match in Singapore. John-boy pronounced it with the accent of the last syllable: Sing a páw, while the Mick said Síng a pohr.

    Who was right? How do the natives say it? I'll bet only one native English speaker in a million knows, and he or she probably lived there once.
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    fenixpollo said:
    I take heart in the trend of changing mispronounced place names to something closer to their original names. "Bombay" is now officially Mumbai; "Peking" is now officially Beijing. Hopefully this trend will continue as we become more connected with other cultures.... I can't help but hope that "Cairo" will soon be El-Qahira... and "Munich" will be München.
    You just made my point, and said what I've been saying all along.

    But nobody in this thread can know that, because I made exactly that point in post #40 of the original thread. Without context, without knowing what led up to the things you're replying to, you can't add to the continuity of the whole discussion.

    That has been lost. It's not your fault, and it's a bit much to ask that you hop back and forth, or read 42 posts just to get up to speed. This is not the same group who were enjoying the thread and caught up in its momentum, many of you are coming to it cold-- and that leaves me cold.

    Yes, it's a bit much to expect me to watch people make "counterpoints" to things I have already said. And then respond meaningfully. A pity too-- this was a lively and useful conversation involving many people and it was about language usage.
     

    fenixpollo

    moderator
    American English
    foxfirebrand said:
    Yes, it's a bit much to expect me to watch people make "counterpoints" to things I have already said. And then respond meaningfully.
    You don't have to respond, FFB. Just take my statements about place names not as a repetition of your comments from another thread (which I hadn't read until just now), but instead take them as a reaffirmation that someone else in the forum feels that same as you do. Your examples in the other thread were about New Orleans and Paris, while I used other examples -- to make the same point (not a counterpoint).
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    foxfirebrand said:
    I feigned the disregard, in a rhetorical trick called argumentum ab exemplo, and was going to refer to it in whatever post I made next, whether the bait was taken or not.
    You misapplied the rhetorical trick, because your example is not equivalent to the one we were discussing.
    How come? Well, you didn't just mispronounce a name; you disregarded a person's identity.

    foxfirebrand said:
    You made the issue that carelessness with names is okay because they're just words. I'm sure you wouldn't frame it that way, but "getting names right" was the topic at hand.
    I might frame it that way, actually. I just have a less narrow view than you of of what one needs to do, to 'get a name right'.

    foxfirebrand said:
    By demonstrating what "not bothering to" felt like to the recipient, I got an emotional response.
    Who said it was emotional?

    foxfirebrand said:
    The offense was in the exact same category as the one I've been discussing, and as I say, my plan was to use that slight as an example whether you objected to it or not. The fact that you did so, and huffily, cinched it-- in my humble opinion.
    I will explain again, since you didn't seem to get it the first time around. I was not 'offended' by your referring to me as 'whoever it was that...' Lots of people do that on Internet forums, and I'm used to it.
    I was merely pointing out the inconsistency between what you demanded of others and how you behaved.
    Anyway, apparently your behaviour was feigned, so that's now a moot point.

    foxfirebrand said:
    If I was speaking so generally I didn't refer to you in particular, how could it be called "getting personal?"
    You sure didn't seem to be speaking 'generally' in this post!

    foxfirebrand said:
    It's not a matter of using a "nonstandard dialect" other than your own.
    What's wrong with saying "Or-LEENS", then?

    foxfirebrand said:
    People who say NASH-ville aren't excoriated for not saying NAYSH-v'l, but if they persisted in saying nash-VEEL, citing your ideas about sticking with your own way of saying things, you'd arouse a derogatory attitude, just as you've done in this post.
    That's not what I'm saying at all. If I wanted to 'stick to my own way', I'd just use the Portuguese translation of New Orleans. We have one, you know? But then I wouldn't be asking for the opinions of native speakers.

    foxfirebrand said:
    This is not a matter of "taking things personally," or a character flaw in the beholder-- it's a universal reaction people have to stubborn rudeness.
    Pronouncing a city's name differently from how its inhabitants do isn't necessarily stubborn rudeness. In some cases, it may be innocent ignorance, and in other cases it may simply be more practical for the speaker.

    foxfirebrand said:
    You never addressed the point about Joan of Arc.
    In the company of people who knew the correct pronunciation of Orléans and had taken the trouble to pronounce it correctly for your benefit, would you call Joan of Arc "the Maid of OrLEEEEENS?"
    I'm sorry, but I can't understand your analogy. Are you asking whether I'd call Joan of Arc "the Maid of OrLEEEEENS" if I were French? :confused:

    foxfirebrand said:
    But nobody in this thread can know that, because I made exactly that point in post #40 of the original thread. Without context, without knowing what led up to the things you're replying to, you can't add to the continuity of the whole discussion.
    Oh, yes they can. Look at the starting post of the thread.
     

    Inara

    Senior Member
    "Do you know what it means:
    To miss New Orleans?"

    I don't know whether Armstrong was "local" in New Orleans, but definitly nobody can say he would be disrespectful to this city.

    I think if I say "London" when speaking in Spanish it would sound disrespectful to Spanish language in which word "Londres" is historicaly a proper name for this city.

    Why? Spanish people don't say Doichlandia, but Alemania. Of course, if I go to Germany (!!!) and try to speak German, I would say Deutschland, but if I talk in English to Whodunit I would say Germany and he wouldn't see any disrespect in this (I hope!).

    When you say Inara which is my name, I bet you would say "In'ara" (I heard it from many English-speakers), Russian and Azery interpritations being somehow diferent.

    If one day it is decided to call all Asian cities the way they are pronounced in their home countries, all of us shall have hard time to learn to pronounce them correctly.

    P.S. OK, I have read the link provided by GenJen about "exeptions" in local pronunciation (Satchmo's song), but I stick to what I said above about pronouncing foreign names.
     

    GenJen54

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Originally posted by New Orleans
    "Do you know what it means:
    To miss New Orleans?"
    Hi Inara,

    If you had had the opportunity to read the thread whence this one originated, you would see that New Orleeeens is acceptable pronunciation in song.

    The more acceptable pronunciation in AE is, New Or'lins.

    And for the record, Satchmo was born in Neý'awlins. :)
     

    sergio11

    Senior Member
    Spanish (lunfardo)
    foxfirebrand said:
    If the people in Pierre, SD don't pronounce it pee-YAIR, or the folks in Helena MT don't pronounce it hul-LEE-na, then a newscaster who does just that is displaying his ignorance and annoying people.
    Now you got my curiosity aroused: how are we supposed to pronounce Pierre, SD and Helena, MT? As I recall, I think I have heard Helena pronounced like "Helen" with an "a" at the end, that is, with the stress on the first syllable. Is that correct? Regarding Pierre, I think I have heard it pronounced just like in French, would that be wrong?

    Going back to New Orleans, I agree with you in that any native or local person in New Orleans would not like to hear "New Orleens". They can tolerate almost any other variant, but not "New Orleens".

    Outsider makes a big deal about the "majority" preferring "New Orleens" in the poll. I don't think 20 people are a significant sample for this type of study. On radio and TV in the last two weeks, did anyone call it New Orleens? I doubt it very much.
     

    BasedowLives

    Senior Member
    uSa
    sergio11 said:
    Now you got my curiosity aroused: how are we supposed to pronounce Pierre, SD and Helena, MT? As I recall, I think I have heard Helena pronounced like "Helen" with an "a" at the end, that is, with the stress on the first syllable. Is that correct? Regarding Pierre, I think I have heard it pronounced just like in French, would that be wrong?

    Going back to New Orleans, I agree with you in that any native or local person in New Orleans would not like to hear "New Orleens". They can tolerate almost any other variant, but not "New Orleens".

    Outsider makes a big deal about the "majority" preferring "New Orleens" in the poll. I don't think 20 people are a significant sample for this type of study. On radio and TV in the last two weeks, did anyone call it New Orleens? I doubt it very much.
    i'd pronounce pierre like pee-AIR and helena like hell-AY-na. (midwest)
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    cuchuflete said:
    I heard a news report about cricket on the BBC yesterday. Those good ol' boys, John Major and Mick Jagger were discussing some match in Singapore. John-boy pronounced it with the accent of the last syllable: Sing a páw, while the Mick said Síng a pohr.

    Who was right? How do the natives say it? I'll bet only one native English speaker in a million knows, and he or she probably lived there once.
    The Singaporeans who live in Australia say SING-apore.
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    sergio11 said:
    Outsider makes a big deal about the "majority" preferring "New Orleens" in the poll.
    Not really. Read this post.

    sergio11 said:
    On radio and TV in the last two weeks, did anyone call it New Orleens? I doubt it very much.
    Perhaps not, but I can assure you that BBC reporters don't say 'New OR-lins', either.
     

    MrMagoo

    Senior Member
    Westphalia, Germany; German
    Inara said:
    I think if I say "London" when speaking in Spanish it would sound disrespectful to Spanish language in which word "Londres" is historicaly a proper name for this city.

    Why? Spanish people don't say Doichlandia, but Alemania. Of course, if I go to Germany (!!!) and try to speak German, I would say Deutschland, but if I talk in English to Whodunit I would say Germany and he wouldn't see any disrespect in this (I hope!).
    This is exactly what I meant in my former posting, Inara.
    Nobody would think you were disrespectful if you say "Germany" or even "Alemania" instead of Deutschland... why should anyone?!
    On the other hand, I can't imagine you'd think I were rude if I said "Spanien" instead of "Espana"... ;) or would you?! ;)

    Best wishes
    -MrMagoo
     

    fenixpollo

    moderator
    American English
    sergio11 said:
    Now you got my curiosity aroused: how are we supposed to pronounce Pierre, SD and Helena, MT? As I recall, I think I have heard Helena pronounced like "Helen" with an "a" at the end, that is, with the stress on the first syllable. Is that correct? Regarding Pierre, I think I have heard it pronounced just like in French, would that be wrong?
    You've got it, Sergio. The pronunciation that I consider correct is pee-AIR (but withe the American "r") and HELL-en-ah. Why do I consider it correct? Because Mrs. Gambill, my high school geography teacher, said so.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    fenixpollo said:
    You've got it, Sergio. The pronunciation that I consider correct is pee-AIR (but withe the American "r") and HELL-en-ah. Why do I consider it correct? Because Mrs. Gambill, my high school geography teacher, said so.
    Hola Don Pollo,

    I once made the gross error of following the path of the esteemed Mrs. Gambill, who never had the misfortune to meet me, in front of a native of Pierre, South Dakota. That native had as qualifications both her birth and upbringing in Pierre, and her status as my mother-in-law.

    She glowered at me for a long while, and then practically spat these words in my direction: We say Peer!

    I don't give a flying hoot what anyone on any side of these arguments has to offer pro or con their viewpoints. For me, it's forevermore Peer, dammit!!!


    :)
     

    Jonegy

    Senior Member
    UK - English
    Ever so slightly off topic (countries rather than cities)............

    Does America like (when every other country manages it) showing off it's inability to pronounce "Iraq" ?????

    If they must say "Eye-Rack" - Why not " Eye-Tally" - "Eyes-rael" :confused: ;)

    The logic is beyond me :D
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Now, now, Jonegy,
    What do you expect of 300 million buffoons, most of whom call their feckless fearless leader Missur Prezint?

    Your turn: Help me understand why so many of your countrymen say San TAAHN duh
    for Santander, which is properly accented on the final syllable.

    Thanks,
    Cuchu
     

    remosfan

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    Just to add my two cents, I have to say that new orLEENS is much more common in the media where I am, but I can't imagine how that can be wrong and certainly can't see how it can be offensive. I'm certainly not offended that nobody says Toronto the right way, because I don't see why the local way is the only right way.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Let's muddle this even more. I lived in Baltimore, Maryland, USA for seven years, long enough to find out that there were three distinct pronunciations used by locals-natives.
    What is a reasonable expectation to have for the way an outlander shoiuld say it, when the natives neither agree nor disagree...they just say it in three completely different ways?
     

    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    There is a town in western New York named Chili, the local pronounciation of which is Ch-eye-lye (as in eyeball, caustic chemical).

    One mustn't get too worked up about such things, or one will spend far too much time just twitching in horror.
     

    Jonegy

    Senior Member
    UK - English
    cuchuflete said:
    Your turn: Help me understand why so many of your countrymen say San TAAHN duh
    for Santander, which is properly accented on the final syllable.

    Thanks,
    Cuchu
    Aaauuuuu !! Doi doi doi doi!

    The words "petard" and "hoisted" come painfully to mind !!! :D

    Like yourself I know the "vowel before final consonant" rule and their pronuciation of Santander makes me cringe too. The BBC however doesn't come off too well on this one. The outgoing portuguese president of the EC, Sr. Barrosso, rather than "ba-ross-sue" is generally pronounced "ba-rou-sou" or by some that have heard of the final portuguese "o" pronunciation, "ba-rou-sue". At "World Cup" time I use the mute button on the TV and listen to Brazilian Radio on the PC for the commentary. ;)

    tchau mermao
     
    cuchuflete said:
    I lived in Baltimore, Maryland, USA for seven years, long enough to find out that there were three distinct pronunciations used by locals-natives.
    Why, it's BAL-mer, o'course! :)

    And, to a fellow Maine-ah, I ask: what of our beloved Bangor?!

    I certainly don't mean to make light of a serious debate, but I don't know whether I'll have another opportunity to recount this lovely story:

    A friend of mine (seriously)--a bloke from the NE US--was traveling in Ireland one summer. He was taken with all things Irish; overjoyed (and perhaps a bit overzealous) to be in Ireland for the first time. One afternoon while touring by train, he was approached by the conductor who requested a look at my friend's ticket and to know where he was headed. Swept up in the moment (just what moment, I've never been sure), my friend offered "KILL-ke-ny" as his destination in his best Irish accent. The conductor slid his glasses forward and peered down his nose at my friend and warned, "that's kil-KE-ny."
    Thereafter, my friend was sure to pronounce it as he was instructed. . .
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    pajarita said:
    Why, it's BAL-mer, o'course! :)

    And, to a fellow Maine-ah, I ask: what of our beloved Bangor?!
    Thanks Pajarita, you've made my point very well.

    Why, it's BAWL-mer, o'course!
    Why, it's BALL-tee-mower, o'course! [Is there an IPA symbol for that wonderful rounded 'o', with which not only the mouth, but the entire face assumes the shape of the letter?
    Why, it's BAHL-tih-more, o'course!

    BANGuh? BAN-gore? _______? _________?

    I remain unoffended by any of the local, native pronunciations of Sheepscott, or the spelling variations. Isn't it fun listening to the tourists struggle with s a c o? ay? ah? aih?
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Jonegy said:
    The outgoing portuguese president of the EC, Sr. Barrosso, rather than "ba-ross-sue" is generally pronounced "ba-rou-sou" or by some that have heard of the final portuguese "o" pronunciation, "ba-rou-sue". At "World Cup" time I use the mute button on the TV and listen to Brazilian Radio on the PC for the commentary. ;)

    tchau mermao
    Speaking of Brazilian Radio, I think they would say Ba HOSE sue.
    That would be just fine, if a bit confusing to estrangeiros.
     

    Jonegy

    Senior Member
    UK - English
    cuchuflete said:
    Speaking of Brazilian Radio, I think they would say Ba HOSE sue.
    That would be just fine, if a bit confusing to estrangeiros.
    Veh - dahji mermao veh - dahji ;)
     

    Jonegy

    Senior Member
    UK - English
    cuchuflete said:
    Your turn: Help me understand why so many of your countrymen say San TAAHN duh
    for Santander, which is properly accented on the final syllable.

    Thanks,
    Cuchu
    A quick follow-on to this ......

    I don't hear it so often these days ( possibly because I keep well away from tourist or other areas where one is likely to meet it.) But one thing that would get me out of a restaurant or bar would be strident ex-Pat's speaking the local language with an RP accent. It just takes one " EIU !! OBRIGAHDEU " and I am out of there at the run.;)
     

    daviesri

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Jonegy said:
    A quick follow-on to this ......

    I don't hear it so often these days ( possibly because I keep well away from tourist or other areas where one is likely to meet it.) But one thing that would get me out of a restaurant or bar would be strident ex-Pat's speaking the local language with an RP accent. It just takes one " EIU !! OBRIGAHDEU " and I am out of there at the run.;)
    Forgive my ignorance, but what is an "ex-Pat's speaking the local language with an RP accent"?:confused:
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top