Why do some British journalists ...

by LoveUniHateExams 9 Replies latest jw friends

  • LoveUniHateExams

    ... go full retard whenever an Arabic name appears on the autocue, and 'give it the full Arabic', so to speak?

    Rageh Omar is a British Somali of Sunni Muslim heritage so it's understandable when he pronounces Arabic names with an Arabic pronunciation/accent.

    But what about people who have nothing to do with Arabic - Huw Edwards, Emily Maitlis, Moira Stewart, etc.? They don't speak Arabic, do they?

    Imagine if a Brit newsreader pronounced New York with a heavy Brooklyn accent, e.g. 'Noo Yowuk'.

    Or how about saying 'Pa-REE' instead of 'Parriss', for Paris?

    No Brit newsreader in their right mind would say Koeln (pronounced like 'Curln'), they'd say the English equivalent in an English accent: Cologne.

    They wouldn't pronounce Berlin the German way ('Bear-LEEN'), they'd pronounce it the English way ('Burr-lynn').

    So why the attempted guttural sounds and rolled 'r' of Arabic whenever 'Bahrain' or 'Hizb ut-Tahrir' comes on the screen?

    The English pronunciation of Bahrain has a silent 'h' but that should be sufficient.

    Is this what they learn in all those cultural sensitivity and diversity seminars?

    I wouldn't bet against it ... after all, it is amusing listening to them say 'Pakistan' without saying 'P*ki' - they always say 'Pahkistan'.

  • cobweb

    reminds me of this:


    personally i do say the gutteral gogh, i think Americans tend to say van go don't they. How would you say jalapeño pepper or the names jose and juan?

  • GrreatTeacher

    Strange. The American city of La Jolla is pronounced the Spanish way: La Hoya, but the city of Amarillo is pronounced the English way with the l's enunciated rather than "ama reeyo" as it would be pronounced in Spanish.

    I don't know the reason behind that.

  • pseudoxristos

    I've always wondered why "Nike" (the footwear and sports apparel company) is pronounced NY-kee in the US, but in Spanish speaking countries (and other non-US countries, according to Wikipedia) it is pronounced NYK.

    It makes sense that the final 'e' is pronounced, since the company takes the name 'Nike', from the Greek goddess of victory where the final 'e' was originally pronounced, but it doesn't make sense that Spanish speaking countries would ignore their own rules of pronunciation and pronounce it as an English word.

    So, the end result is the pronunciation is reversed in both languages.

  • darkspilver
    LoveUniHateExams: Rageh Omar... Huw Edwards, Emily Maitlis, Moira Stewart, etc.?

    All the examples you mention appear to be BBC news presenters?

    Oh! Is this a BBC-bashing thread??

    Just wondering.

    Anyway, the BBC have what is called the 'BBC Pronunciation Unit' - they tell presenters how to pronouce words and names.

    The BBC Pronunciation unit is staffed by professional linguists who research and provide advice about pronunciations in any language. This advice is free of charge and is available exclusively to BBC staff, programme makers and independent production companies producing content for the BBC.

    READ MORE: http://www.bbc.co.uk/commissioning/tv/production/articles/production-resources#pronunciation-unit

    See also: http://www.bbc.co.uk/informationandarchives/archivenews/2013/bbc_pronunciation

  • slimboyfat

    The reason why some foreign names are anglicised whereas as others retain original pronunciation? Familiarity, mainly.

    For example everyone's heard of Vienna, so don't use Wien.

    Whereas few people have heard of Sankt Poelten, so there's not an English version. (As far as I know)

    It works the other way round too. Many languages have their own version of Edinburgh. The French say Edimbourg. (With accent over the E) But they don't bother having a French version of Cumbernauld. (Again, as far as I know)

    So it's mainly down to familiarity and prominence whether names are modified across languages or not.

    During the Egyptian revolution (of 2011?) there was some discussion on the BBC about whether they should anglicise Tahrir Square or give it the local guttural sound. Less of an issue for Scots and more of an issue for English people who sometimes struggle with this vocalisation.

    There are endless debates about Gaelic pronunciations too. For example the people of Mallaig apparently wish the BBC would stress the first syllable rather than the second. (As is their custom) Linguistically it apparently means the difference between a Gaelic name and a Norse one. Properly it's Norse. (So I'm told)

    Other disputes go beyond mere pronunciation. The BBC attempted some sensitivity for example around the Derry/Londonderry issue, and decided to use Londonderry in the first instance and Derry subsequently in news reports. This even applied to reporting of the funeral of Martin McGuinness.

    In New Zealand there's been bitter dispute over the addition of a letter H to W(h)anganui so that it conforms to traditional Maori usage. Is it largely symbolic? And if so does that make it any less important?

    There are some famous Arabic names that are routinely modified into English so that they differ substantially from the original: Cairo, Damascus, Mecca and so on.

    Many famous Indian names have been changed because of colonial legacy, from Bombay to Mumbai and so on.

  • LoveUniHateExams

    All the examples you mention appear to be BBC news presenters? - coincidence.

    Your BBC Pronunciation Unit's example was of the butchering of Joachim Rønneberg's surname.

    Rønneberg is difficult for English speakers to pronounce properly, although 'Ronnenburg' was not good enough.

    The Norwegian letter 'ø' is pronounced like the vowel sound in bird, berk - with no 'r' sound. The Norwegian 'er' has an open sound, similar to the 'a' in bad, but with the 'r' pronounced. So Rønneberg should be pronounced a bit like 'Ruh-nuh-baarrg'. But this is a surname, something that if butchered could give offence.

    My OP was talking about place names.

    'Burr-lynn' is adequate for Berlin.

    'Parris' is ok for Paris.

    Cologne is used in place of Koeln.

    Why do some Brit newsreaders go full retard with Arabic place names?

    Why 'Bachhh-ra-een'? What's so bad about 'Bar-rain' (the English pronunciation of Bahrain)?

  • cobweb

    I would think the fact that the BBC broadcasts worldwide - there is the BBC world service on the radio of course, it must make them particularly fastidious with getting pronunciation consistent across their network.

  • darkspilver

    LoveUniHateExams: My OP was talking about place names.

    Your OP said "whenever an Arabic name appears" - it was just by coincidence that all your examples where place name.

    I understand that Arabic, although a 'common' language, is pronouced differently (dialect?) depending on the actual country you are from with cross-country broadcasters such as Al Jazeera using a formal form of Arabic.

    Indeed, the WT's website JWorg lists 'Arabic' along with seven variations: Algerian Arabic, Egyptian Arabic, Jordanian Arabic, Lebanon Arabic, Moroccan Arabic, Sudanese Arabic and Tunisian Arabic - that's eight version of 'one language'

  • LoveUniHateExams

    Your OP said "whenever an Arabic name appears" - it was just by coincidence that all your examples where place name - a clever retort but no. The only names in the OP were place names and that was deliberate.

    Yes, Arabic is spoken in many forms by many millions speakers. There is a version of Arabic spoken in Baghdad. There are also at least two forms spoken in Saudi Arabia - Hejazi and Najdi.

    Maltese is considered a separate language (especially by Maltese people) but it evolved from North African Arabic. I'd guess that Al Jazeera uses Modern Standard Arabic.

    Nevertheless, you still get British newsreaders, with no connection whatsoever to Arabic, pronounce Bahrain as 'Bachhh-ra-een'. Nobody bats an eyelid.

    If a British newsreader pronounced Berlin the German way (like 'Bear-LEEN') there'd definitely be some funny looks in the studio - at the very least.

    Why is this?

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