george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Mon Apr 4 14:56:37 UTC 2005
"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."
A Dutchman worked at the library here a few years ago. I was at the
reference desk with him one day when an undergraduate came to him and
said she was researching a term paper on Van Goe. He said "You mean
Van ..." and at this point made a sound that I have heard only once
before, and that was when my cat put a hairball on the living room
rug. Little wonder that English speakers don't pronounce the name like
Dutchmen do. Common delicacy forbids it.
George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much lately.
----- Original Message -----
From: Paul Frank <paulfrank at POST.HARVARD.EDU>
Date: Sunday, April 3, 2005 1:46 am
> 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. 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.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.
> Speaking of the Pope, hate him or love him, note that Karol Jozef
> Wojtyla 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 Frank
> Chinese-English translator
> paulfrank at post.harvard.edu
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