Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Things That Really Feck Me Off: Using An Accent For Foreign Words In An Otherwise English Sentence

I was listening to a podcast the other day, as I drove back from my parents' house, where I had been visiting for my birthday, because it was my birthday last week, I don't know if I mentioned it (thanks for the vouchers though.  At this rate I'll have an iPod Touch by the time I'm 40); anyway, the point is, I was listening to a podcast of Frank Skinner on Absolute Radio, except it was Lee Mack presenting because Frank's at the W***d C*p.  They were talking about things that annoy them, like phrases, such as:
'Are you all right?'
'No, I'm half left'
'I literally died laughing'
and so on.  So I got to thinking about things that people say that annoy me, and felt that I had to share a particular irritation, in the interests of helping you all not to annoy me.  So here it is.

The thing I find possibly more irritating than anything else in the conversational world is when people who are speaking English come to a foreign word, and say it in a foreign accent.  For instance, someone is talking about their friend 'Cecile'.  Instead of saying 'I met se-sEal for lunch', they insist on saying 'I met se-sEeeeeeeel for lunch'.  Or, for instance, there is a road near me called 'Thiepval Avenue'.  If you're from these parts, you call it 'Theep-ville'.  But some people call it 'Tyepp-vallll', and that annoys me.  Because it's ok to anglicize things, and not have to show how good you are at talking foreign.

As an example, consider the sentence 'This summer I will go to Paris'.  If you say 'This summer I will go to Pareee', unless you are joking, you will sound like a tube.  Thus, by extension, we can see that it is ridiculous to foreignize other words, and my point is proven.


Virtual Methodist said...

As someone incompetent in at least 5 other languages (excluding mangling my native tongue) I am not prone to sprinkling my speech with "forn" pronunciations... However, I am prone to that sort of smug, knowing (over-educated), smirk when local placenames are pronounced in ways unintended by our civic fathers... Three notable ones in areas where I have ministered recently are Sandy Row's "Eee-Your-ache-a Street", in place of Archimedes' famour cry of "Eureka!" or Woodvale's "Cam-ber-aya" in place of Thiepval's fellow WWI placename "Cambrai Street", or the street on which my current church is sited which the locals know as "Is-lay" Gardens, rather than Islay (Pronounced "I-lay") the site of much fine malt whisky production. Maybe they're Bushmills drinkers?
ps. Had to change my blog design as I see you have adopted the same one...

Wesley said...

Question - So is it wrong to pronounce Dun Laoghaire in the Irish way, or should we say it as it's written to an English speaker and say Dun Lag-hairy?

Virtual Methodist said...

No... Its Kingstown! (or it is when you're really trying to wind up the natives, which is something I would never, ever do...)