2007/02/19

Can we get along?

This BBC report is what I was looking for (though I found it on the Boston Globe and not the BBC).
A majority of people around the world do not believe the world is locked in a "clash of civilizations" that will lead to violent conflict between Islam and the West, according to findings of a poll published today.

The British Broadcasting Corp. World Service poll of more than 28,000 people found that 56 percent of respondents believed "common ground can be found" between Muslims and Westerners, while only 28 percent said violence was inevitable.

One of the countries polled was the UAE, where 47% said that conflict was not inevitable, which is lower than the US (64%).

And why can't the BBC pronounce simple American placenames properly? Maryland is not pronounced "Mare - ee - land", it is pronounced "Mare - uh - lind". This struck me last fall when they announced that Detroit was playing "Saint Louie" in the World Series.

6 comments:

Al Ain Taxi said...

I thought Maryland was just that- mary and land 'mare-ee-land'. It's probably the english accent that's causing the confusion there.

But St Louis, us Brits should know better..

Brn said...

Nope, it is not like the two words Mary and Land together (though I'm sure that it was at one time, as it was named for the Virgin Mary). I just asked someone from there to be sure. It is definately "Mare - uh - lind". Actually sometimes it is "Mare - uh - lin" it the next word something with a "d" or "t" sound.

There are worse problems than this simple misprounciation though. Yesterday I heard announcers on Al Jazeera English announce that New Orleans is in Mississippi. It is on the Mississippi River, but it is in Louisiana.

kochumanavalan said...

They must of got it from the song..."Down the Mississippi, down to New Orleans..."

Why would I expect someone from another country that speaks a different form of English (or even a totally different language) to be able to correctly pronounce names of places in my country?

It can be tough, and I hesitate when trying to pronounce:

Warwick

Norwich

Cheltenham

Featherstonehaugh

Derbyshire

Edinburgh

Middlesborough

Doncaster

Worcester

Plymouth

Southampton

Birmingham

Gloucester

Leicester

(etc.)

Being from India, I'm fairly sure I'd make a right mess of it.

Brn said...

How to pronounce foreign place names has got to be one of the most inconsistent and illogical things ever.

For example, take Peiking/Beijing. For a very long time, English pronounced it Peiking. I understand, that is not how it is said in Chinese. But the same people who will lecture you for saying Peiking will never use the French for Paris or German for Munich or Italian for for Rome or Florence (to give just a couple of examples).

For that matter, why say Beijing if you aren't going to say whatever "China" is in Chinese?

I wouldn't normally pick on the BBC about the Maryland thing, but I'm a little ticked off at (a few) Brits complaining about how American are dumb because we "misuse" English.

Anonymous said...

It's funny, because you'll meet plenty of American grammar snobs, too, who mock fellow Americans who misuse English. Also, think about which American dialects are associated with dumb or unsophisticated people--it's not fair, but language prejudice exists in many forms.

As for Maryland, I would say it's pronounced "Mare-i-lund" which is only slightly different from your version. Linguistically speaking, the Y and A are really both pronounced as "ә," the generic lazy vowel sound, just like the Y and I in Derbyshire.

And as to your original question, yes, I think we can all get along, if we all try.

Marcus Aurelius said...

Okay everyone say "about"!

I never could tell the diff between Americans & Canadians and a colleague in the UGRU English dept told me to listen to "out" sounds in words like about. I could never listen to a Canadian the same way again.

I remember hearing a British woman on the news say "Olongapo" a city in the Philippines. Being that I hung with primarily Filipinos and was/is learning Tagalo, I nearly died with fits of laughter.

Often times when people mess up words it is based on improper stress. So, I try to get people to understand this by changing the stress in common words.

As the old saying goes: America & Britain two nations separated by a common language.