Goethe (was: Which and Falaqa)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Dec 5 17:35:58 UTC 2002

At 9:14 AM -0800 12/5/02, Peter A. McGraw wrote:
>Huh?  "Goethe" is not a "confusing semi-german spelling" that was "chosen"
>by some American.  It's the way the name is actually spelled in German.
>It's a foreign name, not a loanword subject to the naturalization processes
>such words undergo in the recipient language.  While it would be
>unreasonable to demand that no one who doesn't have a command of German
>should be allowed to utter the name, it is not unreasonable to expect such
>a person to approximate the German pronunciation to the best of his or her
>ability.  E.g., it's reasonable to accept a syllabic "American r" as an
>honest attempt to approximate the first vowel, but it's also reasonable to
>expect a t, not a th, for the second consonant, since no American should
>have any problem pronouncing the t in a way that's indistinguishable from
>the German pronunciation.
>Peter Mc.
Unless they're pronouncing the name of the street in Chicago, which
(I'm told) is something approximating "go-EE-thee", not "GUR-tuh".


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