"co-LOME-bee-uh" versus "CALL-um-bee-uh"
March 13, 2013 8:21 PM Subscribe
Why does the U.S. media pronunce certain non-English names with a native accent, while other names are "Americanized" in their pronunciation?
posted by deathpanels to Writing & Language (45 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Perhaps an example is the easiest way to demonstrate what I'm talking about. Sometimes I have heard the names of certain South American nations spoken by newscasters and journalists by their Spanish pronunciations. For example, "co-LOME-bee-uh" versus "CALL-um-bee-uh" for "Colombia" – the latter being the "Americanized" pronunciation, the former the native Spanish pronunciation.
What are the rules for when a word needs to be pronounced one way or the other? Does it depend on the speaker's background, or do journalists learn specific guidelines for when to pronounce a word the "native" way? Or is it a total crap shoot?
(Spanish seems the most common language to get this treatment. I can't remember ever hearing anyone in the media attempt to pronounce a Chinese or Arabic word like a native would.)