Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Sun Apr 3 14:48:39 UTC 2005

"Van Gawff" also exists.


Wilson Gray <wilson.gray at RCN.COM> wrote:
---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Wilson Gray
Subject: Re: Nicaragua

On Apr 3, 2005, at 1:46 AM, Paul Frank wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender: American Dialect Society
> Poster: Paul Frank

> Subject: Nicaragua
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------
> Listening to an NPR piece on John Paul II a few minutes ago, I was
> struck by Silvia Pogglioli’s
> pronunciation of “Nicaragua.” In the middle of an English sentence
> with suitably English sounds, she
> pronounced Nicaragua as if it weren'’t an English word. NPR talking
> heads often pronounce Spanish
> names the way one would pronounce them in Spanish. This is odd. After
> all, no English speaker in his
> right mind would pronounce Kant the way Germans pronounce it.

Don't most English speakers pronounce "Kant" as though it were spelled
"Kont," which is essentially the way that it's pronounced in German?
Does anyone pronounce it like "can't"? And why would it be rude? My
personal experience is that German-speakers - at least those in Germany
- are flattered by the least attempt to use their language.

> That would be rather rude. Nor do
> English speakers pronounce Van Gogh the way Dutchmen say the name,
> with a /ch/ as in a Scottish loch
> before and after the o.

Given that the sounds represented by the spellings "g," "gh," and "ch"
as pronounced in Dutch are sounds that don't exist in English, I would
be stunned to hear any English-speaker pronounce "Gogh" as the Dutch
do. It would be a real accomplishment. I've tried it, quite
unsuccessfully, while vacationing in Amsterdam and with Dutch friends
in here in the States. It's *very* difficult.

> Some English speakers pronounce the “gh” in van Gogh'’s name like
> /ch/, but
> I’'ve never heard an English speaker who doesn’'t speak Dutch say
> /ch/o/ch/ (if you know anything
> about phonetics, forgive my phonetic transcription; I don’t know the
> first thing about phonetics).
> So why say “Nicaragua” as if you were speaking Spanish? Pretentious,
> if you ask me.

The sound spelled "g" in Spanish somewhat resembles the sound spelled
with the same letter in Dutch. Otherwise, the pronunciation of
Nicaragua in English is only trivially distinct from its pronunciation
in English. How does an English-speaker pronounce "Nicaragua" in such a
way as to sound pretentious?
> Speaking of the Pope, hate him or love him, note that Karol Jozef
> Wojtyla

How do you feel about English-speakers who pronounce the late Pope's
last name as "Voyteewah" instead of as "Woyteeluh"?

-Wilson Gray

> was, among other things,
> an essayist, poet, playwright, and linguist. He spoke good Polish,
> Slovak, Russian, Italian, French,
> Spanish, Portuguese, German, and English. They say his Latin was
> better than passable.
> Paul
> ________________________
> Paul Frank
> Chinese-English translator
> paulfrank at

Do you Yahoo!?
 Better first dates. More second dates. Yahoo! Personals

More information about the Ads-l mailing list