Names... names... and more names....

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I've been dying to write this up for a loooong time now. Almost every time I watch some sport in English I just want to go and scream at the people to pronounce the people's names incorrectly. I really feel like it's important to get someone's name right and while I understand that some names are difficult, at least make the effort to say it right! Just because it's not English sounding doesn 't mean we should just discount it. Right? Right. You would be upset if someone messed up your name when your name is something like "Smith". Right? Right. Now let's get started then. My list of the top eight names that no one gets right.

Disclaimer: I don't pretend to be an expert on proper pronunciation of the names. But at least I try....!

Disclamer 2: I'm obviously not anti-English. My first language is English. I just get annoyed when anyone says people's names wrong simply because they don't bother to check if it's right.

1. Alexander Oveckin. Okay, this guy's name is such a source of me screaming on a regular basis because NO ONE gets it right. In Russian there are several different ways to pronounce vowels. Depending on where they are in a word they have different amounts of being voiced. I don't pretend to be an expert in Russian but I have spent countless hours trying to track down the correct way to say it. Now, listen to anyone who isn't Russian say his name and they will say "Oh-vech-kin".Wrooooooooooong. The "O", in this case, is pronounced "awh" like "awsome". So it's "Awh-vech-kin". So like AWH! not OH!

2. Marin Cilic. Yes, we've been here before. But this one drives me nuts as well. It's written as Čilić in Croatian. When there's al ittle Č then it's pronounced like the CH in "church". The second ć has a little doodad thing which means it's like a "ts" sound. So it's "Chee-lee-tch". Or as close to that as you can get. The first C is not like a S in English! And goes for ever other name you see in Croatian and Serbian (like Ancic!!!!). The C is always hard.

3. Dirk Kuyt. This was another one that gives me a headache. Thankfully I don't watch Liverpool play that much but still... totally beside point. I just knew that this was going to be one that no one was going to get right. I know even less about Dutch than I do about Russian and Croatian/Serbian but I spent a loooong time looking this one up. From what I can gather most announcers say "kite" and "kOW-t" and "k-ooi-t- which is really weird even if you don't know anything about Dutch. After listening to plenty of audio, I believe the proper way to say his name is "k-au-t." (with the "au" being like German). I know that that makes no sense at all but I didn't make up the Dutch alphabet! Ask a Dutch speaking person if you really want to get it down *G*

4. Pavel Datsyuk. This actually brings up a very annoying thing with English speaking announcers. I have been told that English speakers cannot make the sound "ts". I always found this extremely weird because English is my first language, I've grown up with English speaking parents and I have never ever had trouble with that sound. But apparently some people have trouble. His last name is writen like this in Russian: Дацюк Which ends up like this in the Latin alphabet: D-a-ts-yu-k. Now, listen to most guys saying this on TV and most of the time they will say "Dat-sook". They either seperate the "ts" which is supposed to be one sound or they live out the "y" altogether. Someone please, please, tell this guys how to pronouce the "ts" sound! it's really easy if you just practice!

5. Andrei and/or Sergei Kostitsyn. I actually have no idea how to say this. I've tried numerous times to figure it out and I'm still stuck on it. The closet that I've been able to come up with is kas- tsee-tsin which still feels wrong somehow. Written in the Cyrillic alphabet that they use in Belaruse you get this: Касьціцын which is something along the lines of: k-a-s-softening sound-ts-ee-ts-i-n. A letter got dropped and one got changed along the way from Belarussian to Russian to English. I think it should look something like "Kastsitsin" in English but I guess that's too many Ss and Ts.... Someone should really ask them how to say their name right...!

6. Marc-Andre Fleury. Well, I had to come up with a French name sooner or later. I should be used to English speakers not getting French names right but it's annoying. In French, the Rs way down in your throat, unlike in English where you put your tongue at the front of your mouth, just behind your teeth. When I hear English speakers say Fleury's name it sounds like "flury". French Rs = back of the throat! That goes for every single French player who has a French name that you see (like Bergeron!)

7. While we're talking about Rs... David Ferrer. The poor Spanish guy may be completely over shadowed by a certain other spanish guy who has no Rs in his last name, but that doesn't mean that we should just forget about him and not try to say his name right (we should just forget about him and say his name right). Rs are rolled in Spanish! It's sounds like "Feh-err" in English... hehehe.... Oh and his first name is "Dah-veed" not "Day-vid". Same with David Nalbandian. "Dah-veed"!

8. Novak Djokovic. Again. Normally people ask the players themselves when they want to know how to say their names right. Unfortunately, Novak seems to want to confuse the heck out of us by giving us two different ways of saying his name. Fun, eh? In Cyrillic it's written as: Ђоковић and in the Latin alphabet it's Đoković, neither of which help us actually because the main problem with the guy's name is the first "o". Much like the problem with Ovechkin's name, the O can be said either as "oh" or "aw". So which is it? As Djokovic himself has given both, I have no idea. I did hunt down a clip on youtube where the commentators are Serbian and they say "djoh-ko-vich" not "djaw-ko-vich". So for now it's "djoh-ko-vich" until someone makes up their mind for sure.

9. Zdeno Chara. Anyone who watches Chelsea play will know of Petr Cech. And we should all know by now that his last name is something along the lines of "Check" because there's a little thing on top of the C like in Cilic's name. Now Czech and Slovak being almost the same in terms of pronunciation, it would follow that Chara's name would be pronounced "kah-ra" not "chah-ra" or "sha-rah" as I keep hearing. Sounds weird to say it that way, but if we had gotten it right to begin with then all would be fine.

10. Marian Hossa. Until someone proves me wrong I will continue to say "hAW-sa" not "HOH-sa" like every other English speaking guy on TV says. I have looked high and low for a little doodad on top of the O that would indicate that it's "oh" and not "aw" but I haven't found one. And trust me, I looked. I spent about an hour looking for the national Slovak hockey site trying to find his name in there. I eventually found it when he played a gazillion years ago for the national team and actually scored a goal. Anyway, so assuming that I've done my homework right - and I will be the first to change it if someone proves me wrong - it really should be "haw-sa".

11. Fernando Torres. Yes, I know I said "top 10". But I had to add this one. Torres would be easy, you would think. In theory. In practical reality however, I keep hearing people say "torr-ES". It's "TOR-es". With those nice Rs rolled. But more importantly, accident goes at the beginning, not the end!


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