More pronunciation quandaries
April 12, 2003 6:44 PM   Subscribe

Coffee, our nan? Is this "Would you like some more coffee, Grandmother?" or Kofi Annan? Oh and mathowie - are you sure the Irish Haughey is pronounced Howie? [Check out Charles Haughey for the proper way.] Thank you, Voice of America, for teaching us how to pronounce those pesky foreigners' names. And shame on you, BBC Pronouncing Unit, for not being online! [This last link requires Real Audio but is really worth listening to if you have anything against stuck-up English twits.]
posted by Carlos Quevedo (16 comments total)
Do not taunt Happy Fun Haughey.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:54 PM on April 12, 2003

::witnesses the birth of a new cliché phrase::
posted by KnitWit at 7:39 PM on April 12, 2003

(For those of you who have just joined this meme...)
Do Not Taunt Happy Fun Ball Filter

Disclaimer: There is absolutely NO relation between KnitWit and WendellWit. None. Not even close. Not even by marriage, twice removed. No! I do NOT protesteth too mucheth!
posted by wendell at 8:24 PM on April 12, 2003

Yeah, in the US, half of the people I talk to with my last name go by howie, the other half go by haw-hee, and apparently in ireland it's supposed to be haw-hee (tomcosgrave or any other dubliners can probably back this up).
posted by mathowie at 8:25 PM on April 12, 2003

Another thing bugged me, CQ. It's PRONUNCIATION Unit, not PRONOUNCING Unit.

Pronouncing is what Don Pardo does. (Two Saturday Night Live references in one thread? I'm on a roll! Or under one.)
posted by wendell at 9:03 PM on April 12, 2003

these things are pretty cool.

I remember reading the AP text of this stuff. But I can't find it now.
posted by RobbieFal at 9:44 PM on April 12, 2003

According to VOA, Qatar = "Cutter". Interesting.
posted by oissubke at 9:50 PM on April 12, 2003

It's actually more like "caught 'er." The VOA is extremely unreliable, especially for Arabic. See the discussion here.
posted by languagehat at 10:23 PM on April 12, 2003

According to the English, "Deutschland" is pronounced "Germany"! I'm still trying to figure out how they came up with that one..
posted by kindall at 10:29 PM on April 12, 2003

Some of these words (Haughey, Qatar) are also in the Webster online dictionary, with pronunciations there as well.
posted by Edge100x at 10:48 PM on April 12, 2003

According to VOA, Qatar = "Cutter".

It's actually more like "caught 'er."

Slate had an detailed instructional article on how to pronounce 'Qatar':
The most accurate English estimate is something halfway between "cutter" and "gutter." It's not "KUH-tar," the pronunciation that has become the standard among TV newscasters.
Apparently to pronounce it really correctly involves sounds that aren't actually included in the English "language kit" - so don't even try.
posted by dgaicun at 1:40 AM on April 13, 2003

Qatar and Qadhafi don't happen to have the same 'qa' or 'k' like sound, do they?
posted by RobbieFal at 2:13 AM on April 13, 2003

The correct (i.e. Irish) way to pronounce "Haughey" (As in Charles Haughey, our esteemed former leader, a sort of cross between Alex Ferguson & Ronald Reagan) is Hoh-hee. But than it's mathowie's name, not mine, so he can pronounce it any damn way he sees fit.
posted by Celery at 1:00 PM on April 13, 2003

Irish pronunciation for two common Irish-American names -

Haughey - hoh-hee or haw-hee
Cahill - cah-hill

And by the way, CJ Haughey isn't "esteemed", not any more anyway! But I think Celery probably knows that ;-)
I met him once...and I wrote about it on Dublin Stories - you can find the link if you look in my profile.
posted by tomcosgrave at 3:56 PM on April 13, 2003

Tom: Great vignette, if that's not too much of an oxymoron.

I specially enjoyed this bit:

"Who's this fella then?", he asked my mother, when we got to him. "This is Tom", she replied, probably with an amused smile on her face. "Well, it's nice to meet you Tom", he said, shaking my hand. "His surname is Cosgrave, you know", my mother said. Cosgrave was the name of the former leader of the opposition at the time, and an old adversary of Haughey. "Ah sure", said Haughey, laughing, "he can't help that".

That "Ah sure" makes me pine for Dublin. :(
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:10 PM on April 13, 2003

There's a guy in one of my classes who has a very similar name - Houghey - which he pronounces "Hoy," which confused me. Personally, I'd be happy if people were just able to pronounce unfamiliar wonders phonetically rather than jumping to the first word they can think of that starts with the same letter.
posted by dagnyscott at 4:35 PM on April 14, 2003

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