I reserve the right to rant here on my blog. Okay, so this might not qualify as a full-blown rant, but you get the idea.
I’ve been noticing it more frequently: The seemingly random pronunciation changes made to various words by those (generally) in the media and not precluding our own president. Glenn Beck mentioned this on his show last week with Stu and Pat. (I’m trying to track down the audio of this–it was funny.)
Here’s the follow-up rant–also very funny.
Example: Some are calling the hypocritical and farcical climate conference site “Copen-HAH-gen.” For Obama, it’s “Pok-ee-ston” instead of Pakistan. It’s also “Tol-ee-bon” for Taliban. (But yet, he still says Afghani-STAN.” Hmm. Stu’s conclusion: It’s nothing more than a verbal bow. I think he’s probably right.) Alex Trebek is one of those who fall prey to this pronunciation snobbery quite frequently. For that notable, it’s not the South American country, Chile, (generally pronounced by Americans as chili, like the pepper) but “CHEE-lay.” (Aside: Has anyone else noticed how smug–and almost tongue-clickily schoolmarmish–Trebek gets when none of the three contestants knows the answer, er, question? David: “Yeah, it’s real easy to sound smart when you’ve got the cards right there in front of you, Alex.”) It’s no longer Osama, but Usama. And so on and so forth.
Look, I realize that we pronounce words incorrectly all the time, and being a bit of a pronunciation snob myself, I’m not immune. I hate to admit it, but it did rather bother me when Bush said “nu-cu-lar” instead of “nu-clee-ar.” But here’s the difference: Bush was staying true to his roots–he wasn’t trying to sound smart, and I think the others are trying to sound smart.
There’s something rather pretentious about all these smarter than thou types slipping from their usual American-English pronunciations of words to all out r-rolling mid-sentence. Hint: It makes you feel smart, but sound dumb to those of us who are onto you. Yeah, we get it. You’re right; it is probably “Chee-lay.” But I’m an English-speaking American from Nebraska, and I’m going to continue to say “Chili.” And I expect any news anchor to say “Ne-BRAS-ka” and not “Ne-BRA-ska.”
Besides, according to the Danish, it’s actually prounounced something like “coopen-hown.” I’ve just confirmed the existence of language elitists who are also morons.