Tuesday, August 22, 2006

'Cuz That's How They Say It

I'm a member of a professional radio/tv message board for the area where I live. One of the discussions currently running is "Pronunciation 101."

"As a reporter," one person said, "I learned early on that the first thing you do in ANY market you work in is to learn the 'lingo' of the locals -- take the time to learn the pronunciations of various towns, and cities. In all the markets I've worked in, there hasn't been one without a few odd names or pronunciations."

We have the "San Souci Parkway" and the "San Souci Amusement Park," but forget what you learned in your high school French class. It's the "San Sooey Parkway" and "the Sooey." Even when you are on the air. But only the locals in Plymouth, Shenandoah and Mahanoy City say "Plimmit" and "Shendo" and "Manny City."

We have a lot of local dishes here that you only have in areas with Polish, Slovak, Welsh, Middle Eastern and Italian areas. It helps to realize that pasties, when pronounced "paysties" are something worn by strippers, but when spoken as "pahsties" are a Welsh sort of meat pie. Don't get them mixed up when you are announcing that the First Welsh Congregational Church will be selling them next Saturday. They have "faggots," too, but these are another Welsh dish (fah-gos) and not a sexual orientation slur (faggots, usual way).

You say potato and I say poh-tahh-to.
You say tomato and I say to-mah-toe.
Potato, poh-tahh-to, tomato, to-mah-toe,
Oh let's call the whole thing off.
--George Gershwin, music;
Ira Gershwin, the lyrics you just read.


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