Wednesday, September 26, 2007

It's "Ell-Oh-Ell," not "Lawl"

Our President is hooked on phonics.

Through an oversight, a draft copy of the President's address to the United Nations was posted on the U.N. website, including phonetic renderings of polysyllabic words to aid Bush's pronunciation.

As if there were any doubt, this serves as conclusive proof that our President is utterly ignorant of global affairs. How is it that someone who has served as the leader of the United States of America for more than six years needs a reminder on how to pronounce 'Mugabe'? (It was rendered, "moo-GAH-bee," no joke.) Okay, it's not "Smith," but don't you think the American President would have heard enough about the Zimbabwean despot to recall his name? How did they think he'd say it? Muggabee? MOO-gayb? Sheesh.

They also had to help him with the name of the new French President. You know, the guy Bush recently hosted at his father's ken-ee-BUNK-port compound? They spelled it out, "sar-KO-zee," which technically isn't even right. That's the Crawford version. The French would pronounce it "sa(r)-ko-ZEE."

I confess, I have a thing about pronunciation. I've even been ridiculed for my insistence on saying "ka-ra-o-ke," instead of "Carrie-Okie." (Hey, I'm sorry, I had three years of Japanese in high school and was an exchange student. I had to abandon "Toh-kyoh" in favor of the more familiar Toe-Key-Oh because no one knew what the hell I was talking about.) And, if I were addressing the UN, I would probably have to practice saying Kyrgyzstan a few times, sure. But I would practice because I would care, because it demonstrates interest in and respect for the people and the nation.

I think there's something admirable in having a President who knows how to pronounce difficult and/or foreign words. I think there is something shameful in having a President who is so disinterested in the world that he can't even bother to remember the names of his recent houseguests and needs second-grade-level phonetics to maneuver around the names of his colleagues on the world stage. And shame on us for not even expecting the leader of the United States of America to be able to write his own speech.


Iowa Guy said...


I cringe every time that fool opens his mouth.

Hot Toddy said...

I totally agree and am very upset about the inaccurate "Sarcozy" pronunciation. I was a French minor. But since I do not speak Japanese, I vow to always torment you for saying Karaoke weird.


DJRainDog said...

Andy: From an English-French bilingual, thank you for the Sarkozy clarification. I've long held that one of the reasons why Americans are so widely incapable of speaking French is the fact that it's ass-backwards from English. In English, the first syllable is most frequently accented; in French, it's most often the last. I don't care how you pronounce "karaoke", as long as neither I nor anyone I know is forced to participate in such a horrific activity.

Andy said...

as long as neither I nor anyone I know is forced to participate

Okay, but what about doing it voluntarily? You need to hear me sing "People" and "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You."

DJRainDog said...

The latter might be cool. I don't really need to be anywhere that the former is being sung. "People" is on the list of songs I hate more than any other song in the world.

Gino said...

but how many times has bush been called BOOSH by foreign leaders?
i think the french also refered to Kleen TON as well.

as long as the name isnt mangled, i dont think much else matters as long as an honest and respectful attempt is made.

besides, sarkozy is actually a hungarian name (from his father, a hungarian). which now makes me curious what the true pronounciation would be.

i have name that few can get right even when they try. so stuff like this dont raise my hackles.
i expect americans to pronounce it in american english, and italians to do it the right way, and asians to do it differently still.

Andy said...

Oho, Zhino, I seenk ze 'Ungariens say sumsing like "zarkosh." But zen, ze Frensh, zay say, mo-ZAR, no Mo-tsart. Zay are cra-ZEE, no, ze Frensh? I sink wee.

Yes, I've had a glass of wine. Why do you ask?

kr said...

Bush is too old for Dr Seuss, then, who wrote habitually with the French accent-pattern? ;). Myself, it took years to get used to Shakespeare and his "natural for English" iambic pentameter.

and Gino has a point, there ...