[Ads-l] How to say tropical storm "Isaias" coming my way

Stanton McCandlish smccandlish at GMAIL.COM
Sat Aug 1 19:13:54 EDT 2020

On Fri, Jul 31, 2020 at 2:14 PM Baker, John <JBAKER at stradley.com> wrote:

> According to the National Hurricane Center, the correct pronunciation of
> "Isaias," as applied to the hurricane, is "ees-ah-EE-ahs," see
> https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/aboutnames_pronounce_atlc.pdf.

As a Spanish name, that would be right (though in that repelling style I
think I would have rendered it "ee-sah-EE-ahs").  Spanish stress falls on
the penultimate syllable, in absence of an accent mark indicating otherwise
(though assumptions about syllabification can be wrong among the
non-fluent, if they don't understand when Spanish forms single-syllable
diphthongs at the ends of words, instead of juxtaposed vowels forcing a
syllable break).

I would expect Americans unfamiliar with Spanish or with this name in
particular to say "eye-ZAY-us", in imitation of "eye-ZAY-uh" for Isaiah.
 English tends to mangle a whole lot of Biblical names, and Latin ones,
then try to "normalize" similar looking strings toward those distortions.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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