2022: HOLD MY TEA! 🍵

Hmm, my initial reaction was to disagree, but then I realised that when talking to my British colleagues in English I even slightly mis-pronounce my OWN name (nothing like my nickname here btw) in a somewhat British fashion. It’s not a strongly wrong pronounciation, but definitely noticable. What does that make me? A weirdo? Self-patronising? A pathetical over-adaptor?


That’s even weirder, because it’s not a royal club…

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Didn’t stop them from putting a little crown on the logo!

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Do the Dutch say “New Amsterdam”?

There is a lot of variety in how Americans say “New Orleans”. Some people from there say something like “Nawlins”.

As for changing pronunciations in general, I do agree that it is a very common phenomenon in American English, applying to various names for people, places, and, of course, all of the assimilated loan words. Almost everyone here is an immigrant or descended from one that only came a few generations ago, so there is often a cultural heritage from elsewhere in names, but these names and the language surrounding them have evolved significantly in those few generations.

In the New England town where I grew up, I eventually realized that there were a lot of people with French last names (quite likely from French Canadian connections), but all of them pronounced their own names in a highly Americanized way that dropped any effort towards semblance to the original French pronunciation. I noticed that the same happened with the German and Polish names, but those differences were less pronounced. Myself, I have adopted the Americanized mispronunciation of my own Chinese name. My children have done the same, but they do understand how it is pronounced differently in Chinese. During graduate school, I met a Chinese student that had recently arrived to the USA with a Chinese name that was universally, but consistently, mispronounced by English speakers, but he quickly and seamlessly adopted that mispronunciation (when speaking with non-Chinese people), without giving it much thought.

I definitely see the point in getting the pronunciation of an individual’s name correct (in the sense of what they wish to be called, even if not the same as in the original etymology). At level of individual respect and dignity, it certainly makes sense. However, I think it becomes a bit trickier when considering public and historic figures. At some point, the names of well known people seem to evolve into different cultures and languages in manner a similar to the phenomenon of endonyms and exonyms (for place names). With a lot of historic (or biblical / mythological) figures, I don’t think we’re saying their names as they (or earlier people) would have. As an extreme example, consider the names for Jesus across different languages, cultures, and time.


I think it started from a good place, but it has (d)evolved into one of those “YOU HAVE TO DO IT OR YOU ARE A HATER” things.
And I say this as a person with a commonly accepted as a difficult name to pronounce, if you are not Greek.

I think sometimes foreigners (to wherever they are foreign) choose the name hill to die on, just because they can finally have a hill.

Funny thing is, I remember (I’m old :woman_shrugging: ) when the issue was with Greeks not being able to pronounce German names, when all the rage was Greek immigrants in Germany (I’m from Epirus).
Or Italian tourists never being able to pronounce the obscure idyllic beaches they wanted to visit.
Or Albanians really struggling to say the Greek word for something, when their own version is close, but not quite.
And, with English as a medium way to communicate not so widespread yet back then, it really was a race of goodwill to communicate sometimes.

Nothing to do with Americans or anything. But for some reason, here (I mean country, not ogf), we all talk about the “International” pronunciations (=how the Americans we’ve heard in CSI say it) and forget how it’s just realistic for many people, if not most, to just not be able to reproduce a foreign language’s sounds.

I mean, Xenophon is one of those names that are severely mispronounced in English, but the Chinese are billions, how do they pronounce it? Or Indians?

I appreciate it when people put some effort, though. And it usually shows. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to be helpful, kind and accomodating, but it’s not the end of the world, IMHO.


That would probably mostly aggravate the Atletico fans, to be honest in a “hey, we are here too, you know” kind of way :stuck_out_tongue:

I guess that a good compromise, if you know the correct pronounciation, is to use it when you know the other people know of it as well or go with the flow and use the “popular” form in case you are talking to normal people that might know the correct one.

In some places people really mistake that urge to say the name correctly as someone being pretentious and trying to show off. Which is silly, but very common.

Well done! :slight_smile: Διάλεξες πολύ δυσνόητο κείμενο για στόχο πάντως, ελπίζω να πήγαν όλα καλά :slight_smile:

One assumes that this is the reason you are talking in the first place, right?

Maybe that’s why they are really salty about it … :stuck_out_tongue:

It is an odd hill to die on … it is not as if most of us do not have an easier “everyday” name …
What is more common to hear in the workplace, someone being called Nicholas or Nick?
Gabriel or Gabe?
Eduard or Eddie?
Elizabeth or Beth/Betty?
etc etc…
and for a Greek specific I do not think I’ve ever met an “Athanasios” … there are thousands and thousands people baptized that way, never found anyone of them that actually uses it. They are all “Thanasis” or “Sakis” (especially in the USA)

Odd hill indeed…

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Well, the historical city is called “Nieuw Amsterdam”, which was pronounced in the Dutch way during our history lessons. :stuck_out_tongue:

Hmm, I think I made my point in the wrong way and make it seem like I dislike people mispronouncing a name or place. That’s not at all the case. Of course I recognise the above myself, in fact in every language I’ve encountered, since my family named me with a nonstandard pronunciation in mind for my Dutch name (meaning that only family and very close friends pronounce it correctly even in Dutch), which isn’t really canonical in any of the languages that use the name at all. Naturally in Japan nobody is able to say my name correctly, and hence I’m generally called by a nickname.

It’s fine, and I don’t really mind being called differently. However, I have had people ask me how my name is actually pronounced here, in particular two of the professors, and they make effort to actually pronounce my name correctly. It’s not really that they necessarily succeed, nor that it is necessary, but it just shows that they care, and that wins a great amount of respect from me.

There’s two kinds of people who react to my full name, the ones who immediately give up and never ask anything about Dutch pronunciation again, and the ones who give it a go (usually failing horribly due to the Dutch “G”) and actually show an interest in your culture and heritage. It’s just a nice gesture of interest in another person’s culture.

So in conclusion,

I’m not dying on the hill of demanding to be properly pronounced, I honestly don’t care much about how people call me, or on the hill of sacrificing being understood for my attempt at pronouncing something foreign.

But I do enjoy trying to pronounce the names of other people properly, where possible, and show some interest in their language.


I was not talking about you. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ve seen stories of people going to HR in the US because their colleagues didn’t use their native name correctly, and that was what I had in mind.

If I were reprimanded at work for not saying something correctly in a foreign language I’m not supposed to know, I would really dislike that hill.


I just realized I pronounce my family name in three different ways, depending on the nationality of the person I’m talking to.


Thanks, you make me feel a bit less weird.


This is fascinating. I also initially read this as “it doesn’t matter if people don’t understand” but then realised the intended meaning was “it doesn’t matter [how you pronounce something] as long people understand”.


oh yes, you are quite correct! I hadn’t realised that either. Fascinating indeed. It reminds me of an old tale of how powerful a comma or its absense can be, but sadly it does not translate well in English.

Helping my uncle, Jack, off a horse?


A well-known Delphic oracle

Ήξεις αφίξεις ουκ εν τω πολέμω θνήξεις
(without the special marks, I don’t have the keyboard)

It doesn’t translate well, but depending where the comma goes, Pythia said either

“You’ll go, you’ll return, not die in the war”


“You’ll go, you’ll return not, die in the war”.

Kind of an important difference!!!

I don’t know if @JethOrensin meant the same one, but it’s a classic example here.


It’s time to eat grandma.


Long but ok to listen in the background video about how we’re screwed. False optimism is one of the things that really annoys me.


I haven’t decided if this is about defying the powers that be or being trapped in a self-inflicted illusion of freedom.


Having watched the original, I will watch this too, but I read their comment exchange first and somehow I am not optimistic about what’s about to go down :stuck_out_tongue:

If I got a $600,000 investment I could turn my channel into a multi-million dollar enterprise within a few years, anyone can do it.

That’s just straight up BS, for example … :thinking:

Edit: I have watched the first ten minutes and I can say that I am not impressed at all. He is complaining that a channel that makes cute videos to popularize an issue and on the channel title is the phrase “in a nutshell” does not provide details and figures and numbers and models and predictions. Really now? :thinking: Not to mention him quibbling about the word “ambitious”. I love the “look behind the words” stuff, but that is not the way to do it.
Let’s hope it improves later, but I have my doubts … the dude considers the phrase “billions may perish” as “wishy washy” for crying out loud …

Anyway, a much better and scientific video than Kurzgesagt on the topic is this:

No fake optimism there, just setting the timeline in its correct scale.

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