Thursday, October 29, 2009

Famous Names


Getting us to change our way of pronouncing things is not always easy. For example, Toffifee is generally said as it sounds, no matter how much they would have rather had us say 'Toffifay', because it was more continental and sophisticated. I noticed they've dropped the Yop and we're now on the more obvious Joop.

The only real success story I can think of is Nestle, now of course Nestlay, but for years Nestle's. Why the change? Because we now are not scared off by 'foreign' sounding names and can cope if something sounds like it's from another country. Well, some of us can, so the introductino of exotic sounding products is not too much of a problem, though we might take issue with something if it's unpronouncable, but Nokia or Dr Oetker have never been a problem.

There've been whole ad campaigns based on such social mores. Is it still 'Co-burns', rather than Cockburns?

There was a reason this thought was sparked off but I'm afraid I can't remember what it was. This post is going nowhere. I'll go away and have a long, hard think.

15 comments:

Ishouldbeworking said...

If you're buying some Brie in a shop in the UK, do you roll your 'r' and pronounce it in the proper French way? I heard a woman doing this in a shop in Brighton (surprise) recently, and I thought she sounded bloody stupid. I'd do it in France, but not here. It just sounds affected.

Bright Ambassador said...

I come from Moscock.

I agree with Danny Baker; that Dutch football team should be pronounced Ajax as in the brand of cleaner, not I-yax. People only pronounce words like that when it's easy, you never hear anyone say "I say, did you see that terrific football match between Manchester United and Fußball-Club Bayern München last night?" do you?

Five-Centres said...

My personal pet hate: choritho. It's chorizo when you're here.

Same goes for Andalucia. It makes me cringe.

Matthew Rudd said...

Further to BA's observation, it amuses me when football commentators try to pronounce a foreign player's name in the manner of the player's countryfolk, rather than anglicise it. The problem is that nobody knows for definite what the true pronunciation is and so we get half a dozen different versions.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's last name was pronounced, over his years at Manchester United: Sols-key-ar; Sol-shar; Soles-jar and, best of all from Barry Davies, Sol-shara. I have no idea which is correct. And evidently, neither do they.

Davies used to pronounce Soren Lerby's surname as Lerbu. This may have been how the Danes did pronounce it, but it didn't stop Davies sounding like a slight prat.

Five-Centres said...

I used to work with a woman who always prounced foreign cities in an accent. So she'd be off to 'Paree', with lots of rolled Rs, and 'Fronkfoort' or 'Amshterdaam'. She was widely ridiculed.

Bright Ambassador said...

Jan Leeming on 1980s French racing driver: "Al-ayn Proast"

office pest said...

Ah, you spoil us Ambassador, with these grosser pronouncementiations

Ferrari Rochard, anyone, as my grandmother used to say? Or what about a listen to the old Songpack Disk, which I always thought was a better name for them.

Not exactly what your post was about, but it set my mind running.

TimT said...

While we’re on the subject of pronunciation, why do some people pronounce ‘scallop’ as if it had an ‘o’ rather than an ‘a’ in the middle? It really gets my goat.

Mondo said...

Pain au chocolat is the one for me, you sound a tit saying it either way chocolate or shockolaar.

And I think it was Jon Ronson who said why do people only affect an accent for French things. You don't say Kindergarten or Frankfurter with a mock German accent

Five-Centres said...

I find it very hard to say croissant. Do you go all out French, or Anglicise? It comes out as cwoissan, which makes me feel like the biggest knob in the free world.

TimT said...

Surely ‘croissant’ is one that you can’t anglicise? It would come out as ‘croy-sant’, and that’s just stupid.

Or I suppose you could be really little Englander about it and march into Starbucks demanding a crescent...

office pest said...

Cross-ant works for me.

Simon said...

My sister in law is a fan of the crozzant, but then she's a Geordie married to a Glaswegian living in Canada and pretty much every word she says is a mangling of the three accents.

Who said...

The thought of the whole croissant thing brings me out in a rash, so it's just safer to go with 'er, a danish, please'.

Five-Centres said...

That's a good idea, Who.

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