LINGUIST List 8.1109

Wed Jul 30 1997

Disc: Anglicization of Names

Editor for this issue: Martin Jacobsen <martylinguistlist.org>


Directory

  1. David Weiss, Re: 8.1100, Sum: Anglicization of Names
  2. Gordon Brown (MAPI) (Exchange), RE: 8.1100, Sum: anglicization of names

Message 1: Re: 8.1100, Sum: Anglicization of Names

Date: 29 Jul 1997 12:19:52 U
From: David Weiss <david_weissgbinc.com>
Subject: Re: 8.1100, Sum: Anglicization of Names

As an American linguist (and advertising executive) who's been
spending an increasing amount of time in London on business, I've been
fascinated of late by differences in Brits' and Yanks' pronunciations
of non-English names. Of particular interest to me is the varying
pronunciation of /a/ and /ae/.

It appears that Americans are more loyal to European pronunciation of
/a/ in such place names and personal names as Milan (or Milano),
Chirac, Nicaragua, Kinshasa, et al., (not to mention "pasta") while
Brits tend to pronounce <a> in these words as /ae/. Yet Brits
pronounce "France" with a vowel closer to the French, while Americans
have /ae/ in that word.

Has anyone looked into patterns governing British vs. American use of
non-English <a> ?

David Weiss
david_weissgbinc.com
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Message 2: RE: 8.1100, Sum: anglicization of names

Date: Sun, 27 Jul 1997 11:56:42 -0700
From: Gordon Brown (MAPI) (Exchange) <gordonbrExchange.Microsoft.com>
Subject: RE: 8.1100, Sum: anglicization of names

Well, I'm not a linguist, but I certainly notice a plethora of
mispronounced composers' names on the radio, and of course the
announcers and all my friends vehemently insist that, since they're
the accepted American standards, they must be correct. They also
accuse me of being snooty for wanting to pronounce the names
approximately the way the composers themselves did.

My feeling on pronouncing foreign names (personal and place names) is
that you ought to come as close as reasonably possible within your own
language's phonetic inventory. You can certainly always get the
accent right, and you can approximate most of the troublesome phonemes
with the closest-sounding American phoneme. Needless to say, this
philosophy hasn't caught on very well. Sounds from your posting like
you might be sympathetic to it, though.

My pet peeves are:
Janacek -- should be ya-NA-chek (I must admit I do occasionally hear
this one right)
Mussorgsky -- should be MU-zorg-sky
Pachelbel -- should be pa-XEL-bel (X for the German ch, or American k
in its place)
Sibelius -- should be SEE-bel-yoos
Smetana -- should be sme-TA-na
Villa Lobos -- should be VIL-la lo-bosh (it's Portuguese, not Spanish)
and I'm sure I've left some out.

Finally, would you be good enough to send me a full citation for your
book? Sounds very interesting?

Cheers,
Gordon Brown
gordonbrmicrosoft.com
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