Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 27, 2009

PRONUNCIATION GUIDE.... One of the low points in the right's criticism of Obama during the presidential campaign came in October, when some conservatives started complaining about the Democrat's pronunciation of "Pakistan," with a soft "a."

The National Review's Mark Stein complained at the time that Obama prefers the "exotic pronunciation." He added, "[O]ne thing I like about Sarah Palin is the way she says 'Eye-raq'." The National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez posted an email that argued, "[N]o one in flyover country says Pock-i-stahn. It's annoying."

Keeping this spirit alive, the National Review's Mark Krikorian argued that the proper pronunciation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor's name doesn't work for him, and he'd like to see other join him in rejecting it. Krikorian started this yesterday...

So, are we supposed to use the Spanish pronunciation, so-toe-my-OR, or the natural English pronunciation, SO-tuh-my-er, like Niedermeyer?

...and expanded on this today.

Deferring to people's own pronunciation of their names should obviously be our first inclination, but there ought to be limits. Putting the emphasis on the final syllable of Sotomayor is unnatural in English (which is why the president stopped doing it after the first time at his press conference) ... and insisting on an unnatural pronunciation is something we shouldn't be giving in to. [...]

This may seem like carping, but it's not. Part of our success in assimilation has been to leave whole areas of culture up to the individual, so that newcomers have whatever cuisine or religion or so on they want, limiting the demand for conformity to a smaller field than most other places would. But one of the areas where conformity is appropriate is how your new countrymen say your name, since that's not something the rest of us can just ignore, unlike what church you go to or what you eat for lunch. And there are basically two options -- the newcomer adapts to us, or we adapt to him. And multiculturalism means there's a lot more of the latter going on than there should be.

Remember, Krikorian wants us to know this isn't "carping"; it's just a white conservative who doesn't like pronouncing a Latina Supreme Court nominee's name the way she and her family pronounce it. To "give in" on this would be yet another blow to our collective "assimilation" efforts.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that Krikorian doesn't say Scall'-ee-a or Al'-it-o, and has "adapted" just fine. That nefarious "multiculturalism" strikes again.

Steve Benen 12:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (114)

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Comments

But the real question is whether you pronounce Sotomayor's first name Ma-REE-uh or Mar-EYE-uh.

Posted by: CJColucci on May 27, 2009 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

It's Mark SteYn. It's always been Mark SteYn.

Posted by: shortstop on May 27, 2009 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Funny, when I pronounce Krikorian it sounds a lot like "butt-reaming asshole".

Posted by: ckelly on May 27, 2009 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

The man is a fool and a bigot and isn't smart enough to see he's either.

Not smart enough to listen to, but dumb enough not to ignore.

Posted by: Tom Stewart on May 27, 2009 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

People who deliberately don't pronounce names the way the owner of the name wants are just ignorant, rude, and/or petty. If Mr. Krikorian wants to look ignorant, rude and petty he is welcome to. Saying that I reserve the right to say he is ignorant, rude and petty and promptly ignore everything he says. People like that deserve to be ignored.

Posted by: ET on May 27, 2009 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Quoth Atrios (not in this context, but it ought to be): Our discourse is so fucking stupid.

Posted by: Chocolate Thunder on May 27, 2009 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Fine, as long as I can pronounce Boehner in the natural, American way.

Posted by: rabbit on May 27, 2009 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

so is marv albert wrong saying le BRON james to the hole when it should have been LE bron james to the hole?

douche

eric

Posted by: eric on May 27, 2009 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

krihKOReeun doesn't sound right to my anglo ears; I prefer krihkorEEEyuan. Let it be so.

Posted by: digitusmedius on May 27, 2009 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

And there are basically two options -- the newcomer adapts to us, or we adapt to him.

Yes, Spanish speakers in general, and Puerto Ricans in particular, are such fresh new arrivals to the area we now call the U.S.

Posted by: shortstop on May 27, 2009 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder, does Mr. Krikorian also refer to the majority party as the "Democrat Party"?

Also, when I type "Krikorian," Spell Check gives me a red line and offers alternatives that include "Victorian." Heh.

Posted by: Mustang Bobby on May 27, 2009 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe it used to be "Mark Steyn", but I think the American Way To Spell It is "Mark Stein" so we shall always refer to him that way. Now we just have to determine whether the American Way To Pronounce it is "Stine" or "Steen".

Posted by: DR on May 27, 2009 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

how does Krikorian pronounce "Boehner" in natural english?

Posted by: jefft452 on May 27, 2009 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

And here I thought it was only the French who screwed up the native pronunciations. Angle Terre, Etats Unis, etc.

If arguing over pronunciation is all they have, the GOP is in sad, sad shape. . .

Posted by: DAy on May 27, 2009 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

There was a family named Door-sit.

They had a litte boy named Tony.

He was a good football player who played at Pittsburgh and for the Cowboys.

Tony Door-set won the national championship.

But football is as American as apple pie. Football players can change what they want to be called.

Supreme Court Justices aren't as good as football players so they have to ask the National Review what they should be called.

Posted by: neil wilson on May 27, 2009 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Lookit here, all reel Amuricans say the words jes like this:

EYE-talian
TIA-juana
EDU-macation
NU-cular
FURR-iner
A-rab
LIB-rul

Posted by: Southern troll on May 27, 2009 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Literate people in flyover country pronounce things properly. Rude idiots on the coasts don't.

Posted by: Mike on May 27, 2009 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Crusty old white men. How will this country survive without them? And to think this is actually a valid talking point from the right wing. Can we just declare we've won and move on?

Posted by: Chris on May 27, 2009 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Rooo sevelt or Rose evelt?

Posted by: martin on May 27, 2009 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Please, don't anyone ask Chris Matthews. He's still working on Chayney vs Cheeney.

Posted by: Danp on May 27, 2009 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't Bush 41 purposely mispronounce the name of Sa-dam Hussein instead of the proper way Sa-dahm?

Not sure I have the right phonetic spelling.

Bush knew what he was doing and did it to annoy him.

The people at the National Review know what they are doing and are doing it to annoy people too.

Another case where it is OK for conservatives to do something but it isn't OK when others do it.

Posted by: neil wilson on May 27, 2009 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

All of you making jokes at the expense of the Tan Man's name are missing the point. German and God's own language, English, share roots, so pronouncing "Boehner" as a German would is natural and normal.

And I probably don't need to remind you that Germany and England are both in northern Europe (continenta non grata with the American right during the first eight years of this century, but once again popular since the African guy got elected), not some nasty hot little island with dogs running in the streets and half the women named Maria.

Posted by: shortstop on May 27, 2009 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

Deferring to people's own pronunciation of their names should obviously be our first inclination, but there ought to be limits.

Mark Shitbag is right. However, the limit should be how many stupid things one says. Since Mark Dunglemonkey has said so many stupid things, feel free to pronounce his last name any way you want. Adolf Huckabee would agree.

Posted by: doubtful on May 27, 2009 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

And how about "BON-er" and "Krik-o-RE-an"? Hey--it's fun and easy to do!

Posted by: ceenik on May 27, 2009 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

This idiot can't even get his nativist rantings right. You'd obviously Americanize the pronounciation as so-toe-MAY-or not SO-tuh-my-er.

Mike

Posted by: MBunge on May 27, 2009 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

(1) When you're using "Niedermeyer" as an example of natural English pronunciation, you're really, really reaching! And is it "NEE-der-my-er" or "NYE-der-my-er?" (2) "Krikorian." Another traditional Anglo-Saxon locution. I think when you translate "krikorian" from the original Armenian or whatever, it means "I got nothin' here."

Posted by: seriously on May 27, 2009 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

I guess the Armenians at Ellis Island and other immigration facilities who had their names changed to Smith or Jones because the officials couldn't figure out how to spell or say "Krikorian" didn't have any reason to complain. It's how we ride here. Frankly, I think "Krikorian" is sort of hard to pronounce even now. I think it should be changed to "Brown."

Posted by: bluestatedon on May 27, 2009 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

So what would be "natural" for Krikorian? Maybe Cry-Korean or Crike O'Ryan? Didn't these people's mothers teach them *anything*?

Posted by: Jim Strain on May 27, 2009 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Also, I'm sorry. NIEDERMEYER? Cute, but this is a natural, American name and Sotomayor isn't? In whose Nazi universe? Care to place a bet on whose forebears were on this continent centuries before the other's?

Posted by: rabbit on May 27, 2009 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

What iz zee beeg deal? People 'ave been mispronouncing my name all off my life. (Zat is why I preefair whales.)

Posted by: Jacks COO-stow on May 27, 2009 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Does Palin also say "Eye-ran"? I know a lot of Iranians who are seriously offended when we cannot pronounce the name of their nation properly. Oh wait, these rightwingers look down on people from Iran just like they look down on Hispanics from the Bronx. Never mind!

Posted by: pgl on May 27, 2009 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that Krikorian doesn't say Scall'-ee-a [...] -- Steve Benen

Well, I don't know how Krikorian sez it but I, for one, pronounce it as it's written "SCAL-ya". Them wops should learn that, once they're here, they're all Eye-talians, not some fancy-schmancy "Eee-talians".

It's my little revenge for Americans' inability to pronounce my own name (first; can't blame them for mangling the maiden name) correctly. I gave up and let them call me T, because it was a cause of constant irritation to hear it mispronounced. I also, willfully, pronounce all Polish and German names as they had been pronounced originally, back in the old country (sh-TAYN, for Stein), pushing the other button.

Posted by: exlibra on May 27, 2009 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Kreek'-O-ree-yan has just handed the script for the next couple of days to TDS and Colbert. They should send him a check, cuz it's going to be comedy gold by the time those guys get through with it.

Posted by: bluestatedon on May 27, 2009 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

I thought most of these folks wanted a polite society. Polite is pronouncing someones name the way they want it pronounced.

Glad they are arguing items of substance.

Posted by: Tigershark on May 27, 2009 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

somewhere there must be a clip of Les Nessman discussing Che-hooah-hooah dogs

Posted by: lurker on May 27, 2009 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Krikorian rhymes with fucktard.

Posted by: Andrew J. Lazarus on May 27, 2009 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps we could end this whole silly argument if we consult the Queen to figure out what the natural English pronunciation would be.

Posted by: doubtful on May 27, 2009 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

I love when people with ethnic names rant about how horrible it is that other people with ethnic names would like their names pronounced correctly.

If Mr. Krikorian really believed what he says, he would have changed his unpronounceable Armenian name for a Real American Name years ago so he could properly assimilate.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on May 27, 2009 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, is this the best they can come up with? The American (or German for that matter) pronunciation of Boehner doesn't even come close to Bay-nor. Reagan would be Reegan. Steyn would be Stain. Colbert would rhyme with "hurt" and Alexander Cockburn would be in big trouble.

Kick-or-ree-yan is Armenian for what, ridiculous shithead?

Posted by: R. Porrofatto on May 27, 2009 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

I like CryKoReeUn or, when I'm too fatigued to really try, ass hat.

Posted by: TuiMel on May 27, 2009 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Andrew J Lazuras wrote:

"Krikorian rhymes with fucktard."

Now that's funny!

For Krikorian I think I'd go with Crykorian because the only thing these losers can do is whine.

Posted by: fred on May 27, 2009 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if "Seen" Hannity agrees with him?

Posted by: Jamobey on May 27, 2009 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Why just bash Sotomayor's name pronunciation? Where was all the wingnut outrage over Brett Favre's preferred pronunciation? They got NOTH'IN! Hypocrites.

Posted by: In what respect, Charlie? on May 27, 2009 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus. Even though I grew up in a melting pot city I went through my entire childhood having my name mispronounced and people were always apologetic and trying to get it right. (Yes, that's right, in flyover country.) By high school I knew the rudimentary pronunciation rules of at least half a dozen eastern European languages plus Italian, and so did everyone else (Is that "Ba-rone" or "Ba-ro-ni"?). We were plenty assimilated but we still managed to extend common courtesy to one another.

Posted by: Barbara on May 27, 2009 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Remember, this is the crowd that insists on calling the Democratic Party the "Democrat Party." I guess flyover country can't trouble itself to pronounce the last syllable.

Posted by: JohnC on May 27, 2009 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

They are actively and aggressively trying to alienate the fast-growing hispanic population, good job! As a Democrat, I couldn't be happier, but I'm guessing some Republicans in Florida and western states might want him to STHU. That is, if they want to win elections ever again.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on May 27, 2009 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

John Boner it is!

Posted by: Pat on May 27, 2009 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

And there are basically two options -- the newcomer adapts to us, or we adapt to him.

A Puerto Rican is a newcomer? Uh, first, we came to them, they didn't exactly come to us. And second, it was in 1898, which doesn't seem that new to me.

Posted by: Stefan on May 27, 2009 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Let's' see now,how do we pronounce that, B-O-N-E-R, "Bhoener" or BAY-ner? Boner it is, lest we accommodate those damn morons who just won't assimilate like there s'posed to.

Posted by: In what respect, Charlie? on May 27, 2009 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

krihKOReeun doesn't sound right to my anglo ears; I prefer krihkorEEEyuan. Let it be so.

I prefer KrEEE-koo-ryan, myself.

Posted by: Stefan on May 27, 2009 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

So now Puerto Ricans have to pronounce their names as if they were German in order to sound American?

Posted by: Halfdan on May 27, 2009 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

When conservatives and Republicans stop using
"Democrat" instead of "Democratic" every chance
they get, then -- and only then -- should we
accomodate their pet peeves about words, namrs, and prtonumciations, etc.

Posted by: WayneR on May 27, 2009 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

I used to work with English guys and I always hated the way they said 'skedule'. For some reason they didn't want the K in 'schedule'.

I always asked them where they went to 'shule'? since 'skool' has the same 'sch' as 'schedule'.

the reason we have spelling bees is because no one knows how to pronounce all the words. Japanese or Italian or Germans don't need spelling bees because you write the word just like it is written.

Posted by: neil wilson on May 27, 2009 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

When conservatives and Republicans stop using
"Democrat" instead of "Democratic" every chance
they get, then -- and only then -- should we
accomodate their pet peeves about words, names, and pronunciations, etc.

Posted by: WayneR on May 27, 2009 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

and Boehner.... that's never 'BAHner', like he would have us say it, that's 'BONer'...

Posted by: Castor Troy on May 27, 2009 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, those wonderful Cornerites. I'd like to slap them all silly.

Posted by: Gingerpye on May 27, 2009 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

There is no "natural English pronunciation" of names from other languages. If there were, Americans, Canadians, and Brits would all pronounce "Hiroshima" the same way; also "Caribbean".

I live in the very heartland of Flyover Country -- Iowa -- and I can pronounce Iran, Pakistan, and Sotomayor properly, without the least bit of difficulty. Obviously, Krikorian's got nuthin'; he can't critique the nominee on substance. Judge Sotomayor is clearly a shoe-in.

Posted by: stinger on May 27, 2009 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

That's a pretty damn good zinger in the last paragraph, Steve. I personally don't think the difference between the 'correct' and 'incorrect' pronunciation of Sotomayor is big enough for anyone to make a whoop about, but I suppose fights have to be fought. However, I don't like how you've taken to pointing out the race of all the white folks on the republican side of late. Doesn't seem correct to me to subtly discredit people because of their race, one way or the other. Sure, the other side does it, but you're better than them, right?

-the middle-aged white Shag

Posted by: Shag on May 27, 2009 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

I live in flyover country as well. I will now pronounce "holy fucking shit" correctly.

Posted by: Mass Hysteria on May 27, 2009 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

From the perspective of a true American:

What is wrong with asking the Puerto Rican to pronounce her name the American way? It isn't like she is a white person or something!

Also, what is wrong with Reverend Huckabee calling her Maria? Everyone knows that every Latina has 17 middle names and Maria is always one of them!

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on May 27, 2009 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Am I the only one who thinks it's funny that K-Lo uses a contemptuous term for the space between the coasts -- "flyover country" -- while lauding the normalcy and naturalness of the way Americans who live there pronounce things?

Posted by: shortstop on May 27, 2009 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

The reflexive anti-immigrant "party" (which these days means anti-Hispanic/Latino party) in America has really got to get a grip. Pronouncing someone's name the way he/she wishes it to be pronounced is just polite.

But I guess we are way beyond that anymore.

I live in a border town (San Diego) and so trying to respect the way many of my neighbors "name" themselves is something that's important even if it's not always easy for me (because I am not good at Romance languages --- I am good at Eastern European ones though).

I hope it will not inflame this discussion to point out that I have a colleague at work who after years of anglicizing his own pronunciation of his name, then demanded we all use "correct" Spanish pronunciation of it. Having called him by the anglicized name for years, I now try hard (and very consciously) to accede to his wishes, though I still sometimes slip up (only to be lectured about my "racisim"). But for 25 years, this same man has rarely (maybe even never) even called me by my surname because he insists that Polish names are "impossible". He just calls me Ms. W-ski. Now that's insulting

Posted by: clementine on May 27, 2009 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

This is just an extension of the "Speak English or GTFO" argument of the nutty right. Nothing new here.

I actually dated a girl once (briefly!) who refused to pronounce the sculptor Rodin's name correctly because she didn't like the French.

Posted by: Kris on May 27, 2009 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

It's spelled Mark Krikorian. It's pronounced "Throat-Warbler Mangrove."

Posted by: Mike from Detroit on May 27, 2009 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

but stinger, those of us in Iowa likely have no real credibility on any side of this debate since we pronounce our city names like MAD-rid, East PEE-roo (East Peru), etc. :)

Posted by: zeitgeist on May 27, 2009 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

(ooh - and Ne-VAY-da. cant forget that one!)

Posted by: zeitgeist on May 27, 2009 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Polish names can be difficult. Just ask Coach K.

I have cousins who are also W -- ski, and my mother made SURE we both spelled and pronounced it correctly.

I do know some people (for instance, Chinese Americans) who will change their given name or pronunciation of their last name because they just get tired of hearing it being mispronounced. A Dr. named Hsiao told me to pronounce it "Shaw" and not to try to make it authentic because it would be impossible for me to do it correctly. Of course, I went along.

Posted by: Barbara on May 27, 2009 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

but stinger, those of us in Iowa likely have no real credibility on any side of this debate since we pronounce our city names like MAD-rid, East PEE-roo (East Peru), etc. :)

Ellinois has CAY-ro. Chicago streets include Troop (for Throop). Da-VON, RAY-cine, Reh-JINA, Pau-LYNE-a and a racy little joke to go along with the last two.

Posted by: shortstop on May 27, 2009 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Zeitgeist- you're not alone so don't feel too bad. In Ohio, for example, we have Mantua, pronounced "manaway".

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on May 27, 2009 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone know if KJ Lo has ever actually been in flyover country, or does she just, you know, fly over it?

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on May 27, 2009 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Please, please, please let Boehner repeat this ludicrous talking point.

Posted by: Master Mahan on May 27, 2009 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK
However, I don't like how you've taken to pointing out the race of all the white folks on the republican side of late.

Well, that's too damned bad, and you'd better get used to it. Because it's a highly relevant datum that many of the same people whining the most about "identity politics" are beneficiaries of, and belong to a party that exemplifies, the most successful identity-politics strategy of all time- equating "white male" with "normal" and "mainstream". -the middle-aged white Steve

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on May 27, 2009 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Well, that's too damned bad, and you'd better get used to it. Because it's a highly relevant datum that many of the same people whining the most about "identity politics" are beneficiaries of, and belong to a party that exemplifies, the most successful identity-politics strategy of all time- equating "white male" with "normal" and "mainstream". -the middle-aged white Steve

rrrRRRRrrrrr! I love it when middle-aged white guys act like hot-blooded Latinos!

Posted by: shortstop on May 27, 2009 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

This is line with calling the Democratic Party the "Demcrat Party" or the "Democrat Socialist Party." Name calling is all they've got left.

Posted by: WInknandanod on May 27, 2009 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Obama's only mistake was mispronouncing Afghanistan...

If he pronounces Pakistan as 'PAHK-is-TAHN' which is correct, he should also say 'ahf-GHAHN-is-TAHN' and not 'af-GAN-is-TAN'.

Posted by: Ohioan on May 27, 2009 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

The right correcting someone's pronunciation??

WTF?

When the wingnuts can show me where the second "u" in nuclear is...they can correct someone else.

Posted by: Paradoxx on May 27, 2009 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

I believe Kirkorian is pronounced as "douche bag" in the original Armenian.

Posted by: Marc on May 27, 2009 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

I love it when middle-aged white guys act like hot-blooded Latinos!

No love for hot blooded Latins, cara mia?

Posted by: Gregory on May 27, 2009 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Am I the only one who thinks it's funny that K-Lo uses a contemptuous term for the space between the coasts -- "flyover country" -- while lauding the normalcy and naturalness of the way Americans who live there pronounce things?

Hell no...Lopez' monumental lack of talent and self-awareness is hysterical. She's a walking monument to the principle that incompetent people don't know they're incompetent.

Also, mad props to Steve LaBonne @ 2:02 pm.

Posted by: Gregory on May 27, 2009 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Caro mio, when you speak Italizn -- it drives me wild!

Posted by: shortstop on May 27, 2009 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Am I the only one who thinks it's funny that K-Lo uses a contemptuous term for the space between the coasts -- "flyover country" -- while lauding the normalcy and naturalness of the way Americans who live there pronounce things? Posted by: shortstop on May 27, 2009 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

If by funny you mean HIGH-Larry-Us, then, no. If by funny you mean peculiarly fucked up, hypocritical, slimy punk ass retarded, then, absofuckinglutely.

Posted by: e henry thripshaw on May 27, 2009 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

"Italizn"? Sigh.

Posted by: shortstop on May 27, 2009 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

And there are people who wonder why the world hates us?

Posted by: Rabi on May 27, 2009 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Krikorian is obviously suffering from the snare of an intellectual clap-trap. What a fucking bigot! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on May 27, 2009 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

And there are people who wonder why the world hates us?

Not really. We know why, while Republicans don't care enough to wonder.

If by funny you mean HIGH-Larry-Us, then, no.

thrip! Or as real Americans in Chicago say, trip!

Posted by: shortstop on May 27, 2009 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Those folks should come here where I live, in "flyover country." State called New Mexico. Lot of conversations here are 1/3 English, 1/3 Spanish, 1/3 Spanglish. Their heads would explode.

Posted by: Greg Worley on May 27, 2009 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Krikorian... I prefer quick Korean. Yes, I think that'll do quite nicely.

Posted by: kanopsis on May 27, 2009 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

What a complete dick, this is so embarrassing to even read about.

Posted by: The Galloping Trollop on May 27, 2009 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

"or the natural English pronunciation, SO-tuh-my-er, like Niedermeyer?"

Maybe he meant Aryan--but the most common pronunciation of Niedermeyer, thanks to "Animal House", is correctly German.
I mean, to do otherwise makes you look like an uncultured boob--and I can only imagine how pained WFB would be to see the mangling of Spanish advocated at the "National Review".

Posted by: Steve Paradis on May 27, 2009 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, Barbara and Clementine,

My maiden name was Przybyl (the l is "crossed"). So I don't blame anyone for mispronouncing *that* (my husband did his best to pronounce it correctly, gave up, and married me instead). But, you'd think "Tamara" was easy enough. Yet, I ended up with "T" (for almost everyone but him), because opening their mouths wide enough to say "ah" was too much effort. And I know someone whose name is "Malgorzata" (again,"crossed l") (Margaret) but whom everyone calls "Malgosia"(Maggie), because it's too much effort to pronounce the full name. And another friend, who's Thai... Her name is "Wa-la-pa", but she told everyone to call her "Moo" (she says it means something like "sweetie"), because she just couldn't stand it how badly people mangled the real name.

Oh, and Clementine? Tell your snotty friend you'll make an effort to pronounce his name correctly, if he extends you the same courtesy. Unless, of course, he's your boss :)

Posted by: exlibra on May 27, 2009 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

thrip! Or as real Americans in Chicago say, trip!

Actually, it's pronounced Throatwobbler Mangrove.

Posted by: e henry thripshaw on May 27, 2009 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

din't they think they looked stupid enough when that woman from Oklahoma or Texas or wherever it was said that Chinese people ought to change their names to make it easier on us Americans? did they have to up the ante?

Posted by: g on May 27, 2009 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

For simplicity, I pronounce white Anglo names of hard right conservatives as "jerkface". I have tried to accommodate them and learn how to pronounce their names, but it is *hard* and I might have to *try* or *learn*. God, I hate doing that kind of shit. So I just go with jerkface. It's easy to pronounce, and really rolls off the tongue, even when you are your most frazzled.

Posted by: gex on May 27, 2009 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

However, I don't like how you've taken to pointing out the race of all the white folks on the republican side of late. Doesn't seem correct to me to subtly discredit people because of their race, one way or the other. Sure, the other side does it, but you're better than them, right?

I think you misunderstood why Steve (and others) have been doing that. For most people, "white" is invisible as a race. It's the default, what everyone assumes is normal. When people talk about "race," they almost always are talking about anything other than white, and white is never discussed the same way that, say, being Latino/a or being Asian.

Pointing out that white is just another variation of American and not the only "real American" is long past due.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on May 27, 2009 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Kirkorian is right in some respects. There are some things that should be assimilated, such as treatment toward women or support for autonomy as opposed to authoritarianism but PERSONAL NAMES AREN'T ONE OF THEM.

Say it how she says it. Though I'm hispanic (latino) I am saying it SO-tuh-my-er because I haven't heard her say it.

That said, Pahk-i-stahn DOES sound wierd, but who cares? A better criticism of Obama is where he says Afghanistan with the short a all through, but the ah a in Pakistan for total inconsistency.

Posted by: MNPundit on May 27, 2009 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

I haven't read all these posts, but I hope someone checked out the pronunciation of Krikorian.... It's CRICK- a-ree-in, with the emph on the 1st syllable, right?

Posted by: JackM on May 27, 2009 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Here's another chance to use this comment, which usually only seeing the words "Liz Cheney" makes me post. What the hell business do these idiots have discussing the pronunciation of ANYTHING when the "leaders of the party" can't even agree on the pronunciation of their Own Frickin' Names?

***

I hereby vow, whenever I see the words "Liz Cheney", that I'll pass along my mother/daughter Cheney YouTube, where they are asked what the proper pronunciation of "Cheney" is, have completely different (ChAYney v. ChEEney) pronunciations, and have different, detailed stories about why it's pronounced that way. That's still "Weirdest Thing Of The Year" for me, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if the phrases "Skull And Bones" or "Opus Dei" are somewhere in the explanation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TkKUHjvLsA

Posted by: Anna Granfors on May 27, 2009 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Shouldn't it be KRIK-a-rean?

No, really.

Posted by: mcmama on May 27, 2009 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

When a teacher in San Francisco I noticed a lot of Chinese American kids changed their first names to something "American", for some reason usually Bobby or Tommy or something like that. It's really I think a charming part of trying to become American and did not preclude talking in Chinese with their friends or being in the dragon at the Chinese New Year parade or using Chinese figures in their artwork. For some reason one student, Hung Dong, did not Americanize. I never asked....sweet kid though. A few years ago someone on I think SNL did a parody of a newscaster pronouncing Spanish names in exaggerated Spanish way in the middle of American English sentences. (Sahhhn Chhoh-ZAY) So this kind of thing is always a little minor issue to deal with.
By the way, in Buffalo where I come from that's Peaykeaysteayn.

Posted by: emjayay on May 27, 2009 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Only the e-light say Pock-i-stahn and Tolly-bahn. Obama pretends he is just a regular guy, but he talks over da head of da people.

Posted by: Luther on May 27, 2009 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

but he talks over da head of da people.

This is apparently getting easier and easier to do.

Posted by: e henry thripshaw on May 27, 2009 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

As a Hispanic inmigrant (I was born in the Dominican Republic), I've worked hard to assimilate into the American culture and learn English when I first came to the US.
My last name, Pereyra, that is actually originally from Portugal (means "a pear tree"), it's difficult to pronounce for most english speaking people. If asked for the correct pronunciation, I'm more than glad to oblige, if not, I don't take offense on it, even if the person mispronounces it.
I agree that educated people will try to pronounce somebody's name/surname in the same way the person bearing it does it.
I must say thought, that Mr.Krikorian's comments sound extremely ignorant and downright dumb!!!

Posted by: Irisper on May 27, 2009 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Seriously? A guy with an Armenian name is complaining about this, and using a German name as an example? WTF?

Besides, even if, as he hallucinates, there were a 'natural' pronunciation of her name, it wouldn't be the one he gives, it would be Soto-MAYor, like a soft-spoken municipal official. Sheesh. What country did he grow up in?

Mr. Cry Korean is just crazy.

Posted by: biggerbox on May 27, 2009 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Those folks should come here where I live, in "flyover country." State called New Mexico. Lot of conversations here are 1/3 English, 1/3 Spanish, 1/3 Spanglish. Their heads would explode.

Or come to the capital of fly-over country, Chicago. At my fav hardware store, the conversations are 1/3 English, 1/3 Spanish, and 1/3 Polish.

Posted by: Disputo on May 27, 2009 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

... from my neck of the woods (Eastern NC):

Conetoe (pronounced 'cuh-NEE-tuh')

Posted by: JTK on May 27, 2009 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

I don't care how educated you are, anybody raised in a family with decent manners would pronounce another person's name, first or last, the way that person pronounces it. Manners transcend parties--except, apparently, among Republicans.

Posted by: Michael on May 27, 2009 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

Judge Sotomayor would be well advised to learn how to properly pronounce Frank and Ricci.

Posted by: tao9 on May 27, 2009 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

Does America really want another Jewish member of the Supreme Court like Sotomeyer?

Posted by: Ross Best on May 27, 2009 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

I thought the term "flyover country" was a myth created by conservatives. They would repeat it, always attributing its use to coastal liberals, in order to feed their persecution complexes.

Posted by: Half-Elf on May 27, 2009 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

zeitgeist: Also, Co-MANCHE. And a couple of others that escape me at the moment.

clementine: Your co-worker has the right to decide that, after all this time, he'd like to have his name pronounced correctly. He does not have the right to deny you the same thing.

Michael: Exactly. Simple courtesy.

Posted by: stinger on May 27, 2009 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, those NR cutups, always joking around. Yes, yes, Mr. Krickorean, such humor you play. Of course, Mr. Kreeckoaren, you're in no way publicly vetting a vicious, demeaning, chickenshit method of ridicule for a future SCOTUS justice using cracker racist tactics as old as the hills, now, are you? No, a cracker bitch like you, Mr. Kreackoreane, would NEVER do anything like that, right? Right?

Posted by: Conrads Ghost on May 27, 2009 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

Wait, is like when the Democrats were saying John Roberts young son was gay?

Posted by: Soliel on May 28, 2009 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

I don't remember anyone saying John Roberts's son was gay. I remember people laughing at his pastel short-pants outfit, because the last time anyone put a little kid in something like that, I think the kid was Angus Young. It goes to judgment. John Roberts's judgment.

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on May 28, 2009 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

So conservatives are against phonics now, I thought they wor for phonics, and against whole language, can't they just pic a side?

Phonetically whe I see the name "Sotomayor" I came up with somting prtty close to "so-toe-my-OR", maybe a little less spanish sounding on the "my-OR" part but not anything like "SO-tuh-my-er".

Perhaps he is against reading as well, and makes up the words in books as he goes along?

Posted by: Steve_in_NC on May 28, 2009 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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