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  1. #1
    balakrishnanijk is offline Member
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    Default pronouncing of foreign names

    What is native speakers' approach to pronouncing the names of foreign people and places?
    I have heard that only people in academic circles pronounce them correctly and the man in the street pronounces them however they like. Is there any truth in it? After all, if you want to pronounce them correctly, you ought to hear them pronounced by a competent authority...
    Last edited by balakrishnanijk; 10-Feb-2012 at 15:59. Reason: typo

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: pronouncing of foreign names

    We tend to copy the pronunciation we first hear - sometimes from the people themselves, sometimes from people who know them, and sometimes from news broadcasts. If we see them in print before we have heard them, we just do the best we can.

  3. #3
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: pronouncing of foreign names

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    If we see them in print before we have heard them, we just do the best we can.
    Right. If I saw someone's name ended in -aux, I'd start with "oh" not "ox" under the assumption it's French. Whoever told you that the "man on the street" pronounces it "however" was being rather condescending. Besides, an academic who studied French literature might never miss on Thierriault, but completely mess up Prabhakar. .
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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