Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

PC pronunciations

At the Independent Women's Forum, there's a great post about a breathless, and baseless, article in the New Yorker, by the ever-hostile Jane Mayer, this time regarding Gitmo. What I found amusing, though, was the first two paragraphs in the post, which focus on the Left's PC obsession with pronouncing Spanish words with a Spanish accent:

Remember back in the Eighties when the Sandinista fans on National Public Radio and elsewhere promulgated a politically correct pronunciation for the country of Nicaragua: "Nee-ka-rrrawa"? Yes, it approximated the Spanish pronunciation of the name of that land, but it sounded about as silly in English as pronouncing the name of the city of San Francisco as "Sahn Frrrahn-seesko." Now, the same poobahs have come up with a politically correct orthography for the Naval base at Guantanamo: "Guantánamo." Again, that acute accent over the antepenult is the correct spelling in Spanish, but again, it’s like spelling the name of the city of Los Angeles as "Los Ángeles"--and pronouncing it "Lohss An-hay-lays." Guantanamo may be in Cuba, but it’s U.S. territory, for heaven’s sake!
That this is purely political is demonstrated by the fact that you never hear these same people refer to the capital of France as "Paree." What was so funny was that, just the other day, I was fussing to a friend about an NPR reporter named Mandalit del Barco. As her bio shows, although she was born in Peru, she grew up in a small town in Kansas and in Oakland, California. Mandalit's specialty is stories about Hispanics in America -- and they're often very interesting stories. She delivers them in a perfect, flat American voice, without any hint of a Spanish accent. That is, until she gets to names, most notably her own. Then, suddenly, her voice leaps in high Spanish mode, accents and all. It is, to my mind, a very silly piece of multiculturalism. Every time I hear a Mandalit del Barco story, I mentally start making a list of public figures who need to maintain their American accents, but must start pronouncing their names according to their ethnic roots. So: Teddy Kennedy must say his name with an Irish accent. Dianne Feinstein should pronounce her name with a heavy Yiddish or German accent. Robert Byrd should use an arch-British accent. John Kerry -- well, French, of course. And so on....