Thursday, October 08, 2009

You Say MonROE, I Say MONroe

In broadcasting, you match how you pronounce localities to how it’s done where you are. You may claim the locals are saying it wrong, but you definitely mark yourself as an outsider if you try to teach them how to say it right. Their grandpappy said it that way, everybody says it that way, and that’s how it is. Period.

Marilyn MunROE may be built just right, but that’s not an issue in MONroe County over here. But then there’s San Souci: “San SouSEE” is without worry anywhere French is spoken, but here in Northeast PA, you have to ask for directions to the “San Sooey” parkway or nobody will know what you want, even though it’s spelled correctly.

Listen to the CBS all-news station in New York City as you drive your vehicle (the “h” is silent), while CBS’s station in Chicago calls it a vehickle (the “h” is noisy).

“Fat,” in PA means overweight; south of Boston it just isn’t nice because of the accent those folks have: “Did someone just fat”? Likewise, a Downeasterner complains that he needs some rest because he is “tyad”; it’s the same sound as Theodore’s nickname if he’s from Texas. I know, because I asked for Ted and got Tyad.

I say “toh-mah-toh” and you say “toh-may-toh”; you say “poh-tah-toh” and I say “poh-tay-toh.” You say “ee-ther” and I say “eye-ther”-- let’s call the whole thing off. But, oh, if we call the whole thing off then we must part and oh, if we ever part then that might break my heart. So let’s call the calling-off off. (George & Ira Gershwin)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's fascinating about the pronounciations (sp?)is that your way of saying it ( I am not going to type that word again)shows also the pride you take from being from one area or another. It is sort of tribal like. It's your verbal badge of honor. It shows your roots.

What if everyone had a standard verbal form, a melting pot made up made up everybody's way of speaking to make up one universal form of speech? T ogo even further, pronouncing words, phrases etc. also includes your culture, and if there was, which will not become, a standardized policy, much culture would be lost.

I cite here a fine example, without stepping on toes by all means, but when I hear Oprah talk, if you close your eyes, she's white. She has prostituted her culture in a way to please someone or some dominant cultures who dictate. In a sense it is sad.

Don't let yourself fall into the melting pot....say Tom-ah-toes, sat Ay-yup and hayna, it's your badge, flash it, or as Ernest Hemingway's daughter once said, ''If you got it, flaunt it''

BTW, studying accents is aparttime hobby, both in English and the Québec French dialect

Exit 318

October 10, 2009 7:35 AM  

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