Pronunciation Watch

Winston Churchill, that master of oration and arrant pedant of the English language, deliberately persisted in pronouncing the word ‘Nazis’ as it was spelt and not ‘Naatzis’ as it should have. This was, he declared, a reflection of his utter disdain and disrespect for that particular outfit. 

Now, far be it from me to suggest that the assortment of broadcasters and superannuated Aussie ex-players turned media pundit-s harbour any such sentiments to the holy (cash) cow of world cricket. Nevertheless, they have referred to Ha! bjaan, C-wag, Gam-beer, Soorav Gan-goolie (wink-wink), Lax-man, Raul, Zaa-here, Che-naai, Moom-baai, Poon-jab (wink-wink again) far too long.

One would think they would take their journalistic responsibilities a little more seriously. After all, audiences follow their lead.

If resources to learn from were hard to come by, it would perhaps be grudgingly acceptable. But no, they work with Gavaskar, Shastri, Dileep Premachandran and many more unnamed Indians in the Press Box.

Mangling of foreign names, however, is a proud Aussie tradition, right up there with bank-bashing, barbecues, beer and blinkered reportage. It is not one that will be jettisoned lightly.

Nevertheless, credit where it is due. Brendon Julian on Fox Sports is punctilious with Laxman Sivaramakrishnan’s name. The best the others can manage is Siva.


4 responses to “Pronunciation Watch

  1. Agreed. But when you watch the local News Channels, From NDTV 24×7, Times Now, CNN-IBN to the Tamil channels, they massacre the names. Literally. One example. Our Minister for Oil and Natural Gas, Mr. Murali Deora is pronounced as spelt. It is “devra” not “deora” as in a deodorant. The so called English language is a totally different ball game all together. Their pronunciation is pathetic. Heard them say “Sivaramakrishnan” ?? Even my name has been massacred. Whereas I have a European and American friends who can perfectly say my name. I have stopped watching all English News Networks here. By the way, Jenny Harrison of CNN, weather reporter, can say most cities names perfectly.

  2. Considering the profound criticism from all around including the authors of this blog, Srikkanth & Co., given the time they had on hand for selecting a team, can feel vindicated with their selections, at least up until now.

    The new selection committee was put in place just before this important series due to the bizarre way the BCCI functions. Given that, I feel the committee did the obvious and picked experience over youngsters.

  3. Soundar,

    I thought only monkeys did the nit-picking

    A rose by any other name is still ROSE

    In my time, I have seen worse pronounciation of foreign names by Indians or even North Indian names by south indians and vice versa

    IAN Chappell is referred to as AYYAN —I is prounounced as I

    Clarke is Clarkeeee

    Damien is Daamien

    Gilchrist is Jill CHRIST as in Christ

    How many north indians and / or Bangladeshis say STAJUN for station or Istajun !!

    ISKOOL for school

    A number of Indians have problem with pronouncing V and W

    Azharuddin can be Azaruddin or Azaaaaarudun or Azaaaaarudin

    Kumble can be kumble or kumbli or comeble

    Over the years, names get mutated with migration

    Naidu in India becomes Naidoo in Sth Africa and West Indies

    Nagamuthu become Nagamuthoo or Nagamoothoo

    Gounder and Kounder

    Jesus and Yesu

    Abraham–Ibrahim–Ebrahim depending on where one lives

    Venkataraghavan was referred to as Volkswagen jokingly during his playing time

  4. Sampath and Shrinath, oh yes, we can go on about the howlers on our Indian channels.

    My particular favourite was watching the screen filling lovelies on Sun TV squirm when calling out ‘Sexoslovakia’. They doubtless sent thanksgivings heavenwards when that particular country split up.

    We are also used to the hubristic northies pronouncing ‘Keral’ ‘Trivendram’ ‘Chinglee-put’ etc.

    However, watch us all try our damnedest to perform the verbal contortions required to say ‘Champs Elysees’ or ‘bouillabaisse’ should the occasion demand it.

    All said and done, poor performance all around is no excuse for not raising the bar.


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