I notice this all the time, local newscaster/announcer who speaks with a manicured lack of accent comes to a Spanish word and breaks into what seems to be a cultivated imitation of a Spanish or Mexican accent.
Where is the “number one son” bit when they talk about something Asian or mention low mein noodles or whatever? How about affecting a Canadian stereotypical accent for talk of hockey or maple syrup? Howabout imitating the Hindi accent when someone is talking about curry?
I’m not even sure if I’m offended or just irked by this one sided accent thing. Do news persons in other nations do this?
I think it is respectful of people to at least try to learn how these words should be pronounced (i.e. in the language that the place was named).
In Ireland alot of thowns were renamed by the British into English words based on what they sound like in English. As a result, the names are easier to prunounce if you have a the most basic of Irish language skills and know what the original Irish was
Heres what bugs the snot out of me: Someone is speaking a foreign language, and instead of having a sensable, understandable translation, they have someone affect an accent (be it latin, or mid-east or whatever) that is so thick you cant understand it! Why the hell even bother with a translation when I cant tell what the hell is being said. I get the idea that the dude is speaking a foreign language already! Yes, I can tell he’s from somewhere else! I don’t need some stupid translation mimicking what this dude would sound like if he tried to speak English. Just tell me what he said in plain old normal talk so I can digest the idea behind it.
There is just no need to do it! I notice this most on crap channels like Discover, History and other psudo-intellect outlets.
Actually, there is one situation that alwyas causes me to pause: I am bilingual. I speak both French an English and grew up speaking them interchangeably and occasionally at the same time as “franglais.”
When I’m speaking to English-only friends I get flustered when I hit a French word that has been appropriated into English. Like “hors d’oeuvre” or order a French wine in a restaurant.
It is really awkward for me to pronounce the former as “ore duv”, but I sounded like a pretentious stooge when I suddenly seem to switch gears into another language. So I always have an odd moment where I wonder if it’s more correct to pronounce it as my English friends would, or pronounce the French words as French words.
Either way I feel like somebody somewhere would be offended.
Does anybody remember the SNL sketch on this topic a few years back? Jimmy Smits (IIRC) was the guest, and in the sketch he was the new Hispanic newscaster with a team of Anglos reviewing the news stories of the day. The Anglos were all going to excruciatingly great pains to pronounce the Spanish words correctly (one of the stories was about Nicaragua -“Niccar- AAH- gwah”) and the Hispanic guy was wondering why they were all talking funny. They decided to order Mexican food for lunch (“en - cheee - LAAH - dahz”.)
Yeah, I find it annoying. I first noticed this phenomenon in the '80s when they were talking so much about Nicaragua. Ever notice how they’d pause and slightly shift positions before they said the Spanish word? “And after the commercial, the latest from [pause, shift] Nee-ha-rrrROKwa.”
I have that problem with Italian. What really throws me is when the Italian on the menu (or whatever) is incorrect, which is typical. For example, a coffee shop might sell a tomato-and-mozzarella panini. Panini is plural. It should be panino. So what do I do? And do I say mozzarella like I should, or mahz-ah-rella? Ack!
I usually compromise – I use correct grammar, but American pronunciation. I feel like a sell-out, but that’s better than feeling like a snot.
One of the joys of local NY news is seeing adorable little Sue Simmons trip over every other word and ingratiatingly giggle her way out of it. Oh, and we also have a reporter named “Vivian Li,” which never fails to amuse me.
When I was a little kid, I lived in the Plattsburg, NY area, very near Montreal. I remember when people on TV and radio all of a sudden started using French accents for French-named places and people. Mon-Tree-All became Mone-ray-al over night.
Forget the panini/panino-type foul-ups. When was the last time you heard the plural of “attorney general” used correctly?
Any time the blow-dried-brained idiots refer to the tobacco companies’ being sued by multiple holders of the office of attorney general, they use the term “attorney generals”
when the proper term is attorneys general.
But in an English town, with English patrons and often English waiters, most people get by doing their best to come close – so they sound like Frasier Crane when he orders. You’re all the same boat. None of my friends feel awkward ordering Italian or French wines in restaurants because they all refer to the wines in the same manner and all pronounce “hors d’œuvre” as “ore duv.”
As gallows fodder said, you can feel like a snot for being correct. I have no idea why. I should be proud that I was born and raised with two languages in my household. But rather than feel proud of my native tongue, I feel shy, as if I’m the “odd one out.” Gallows’s idea of splitting the difference and using the local pronunciation is a good one – as long as the waiter doesn’t get confused and say “You want a what? Panino? Oh, you mean panini!”
Weird related issue: I find it annoying when servers “correct” you incorrectly. In fine restaurants, the wine steward will usually correct you discreetly “ah, yes the Côte-de-Brouilly is a nice Beaujolais.” He/she may sound a little snooty though, but at least it’s in the spirit of being helpful (…and snooty).
When you order “quesadillas” in the Tex-Mex place and the waitress gets all confused until you point it out on the menu and then she says “ooohh, the kwezzy-dill-ohs…”