Proper Nouns And Pronounce

on Posted by Rajesh J Advani
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Here I am, breaking my year and half long self-imposed Maun Vrat (Oath of silence?), to do what I love doing more than anything else.


Some things never change, eh?

A friend of mine, often pronounces certain words wrongly differently from what I consider the correct pronunciation, and refuses to correct herself when I point this out, because she says
You can pronounce proper nouns however you want.

A-hem. No, no, not that one! I mean like the sound you make when clearing your throat. Of course, that's more like Ghhmhhmghm, but I digress.

So, where was I? Right.

A-hem. No, you cannot pronounce proper nouns however you want!

Take the case of a name, like 'Rajesh' (that's my name, in case you were wondering). My name has a specific pronunciation, and pronouncing it "Rahash" - "j" is pronounced "h" in spanish/latin/mexican - would be wrong.
Similarly, it is not okay to pronounce the Indian name Dhillon, as "Dhee-yo-n", even if Quesadilla is pronounced as "Ke-sa-dee-ya". "Amit" is "A-mih-t", and cannot be pronounced "A-mite" or "Aim-it". "Iraq" if pronounced "Eye-Rack", is being pronounced wrong, even if it's being pronounced by the President of the United States of America!

Names derived from new additions to the English language are all the more problematic, since you often see the words in print long before you actually hear them. The "Wiki" in Wikipedia, is pronounced "Wih-key", not "Why-key". (On a related note, if you do decide to use the term "LOL" in real speech, then it's pronounced "Ell-oh-Ell", not "Lole"! Of course, I would recommend actually laughing instead.)

A proper noun is a name, and mangling someone's or something's name is not polite - to say the least.

So, the next time any of you decide to change the pronunciation of any so-called "Proper Noun", do consider taking the permission of the owner of that name.


anantha said...

Welcome back :)

Naveen Roy said...

Damn!!!! Thats a really loooong time my friend!!! Welcome were nearly out of my RSS reader!!

Rajesh J Advani said...

@anantha: Thanks for not forgetting me!

@deaths head roy: Yep, a reaaallly long time. And I'm glad I made it back before you clicked delete :) I get the feeling, though, that a number of other people might have purged me from their feed readers by now :)

Ami said...

Wow! Nice to see you come back...I started reading your blog arnd the time you "Paused" :)

Looking forward to read your work:)

Kiran said...

This is a problem I see here. Some of my colleagues used to make fun of me for the same reason, that I pronounce it the way we were taught to pronounce, and they in a different way. "Anti" pronounced as "Ant-Eye", etc. And its said to be American English.

Aparna (Life Takes) said...

i am pronouncing it as ell-o-ell

ofcourse i would rather prefer laughing myself.. but u can't listen to it naa

workhard said...

Hiii, this is an interesting topic. I remember one foreigner who pronounced Ram and the aries the ram, and it was so embarrasing for her...

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Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say thank you for writing this. I was trying to prove this exact point to someone I knew and this hit the nail right on the head. Great post!