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Place names
Thread poster: Mats Wiman

Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 03:22
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
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Aug 12, 2010

Goodmorning pronounciators!

We have been a bit passive haven't we?

I recently called the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation (Sveriges Radio - SR) to
correct their pronunciation of the German city of Duisburg.

They (and television) kept on saying Dooisbergh (and derivatives) instead of
Düüsburg/Düsburg (which is difficult to know for a foreigner. We call 'ü' "German y"))

Not far away from Duisburg is Mönchengladbach which BAOR (British Army on the Rhine
always pronounced as Mönkengladdback. ()They did not want to know about
the German 'ach' sound like in the German city Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle/Aken/Oche)

Please contribute your own examples! wishes

Mats Wiman
Initiator and moderator


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 03:22
English to Croatian
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A few points Aug 12, 2010

Hi Mats,

The pronunciation of cities/ places does not necessarily have to be the same as the original pronunciation, in target countries/ cultures. The naturalization of pronunciation happens spontaneously, in its own direction.

Some places even change their name completely, for example London/ Londre.

"Mönkengladdback" would be a typical example where the Brits naturally turned the "ch" into "k" which would be the typical pronunciation of "ch" were it an English word. ( as in chromosome or chemistry, for example).


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:22
German to English
US Armed Forces Network (AFN) Aug 12, 2010

When I lived in Germany, I'd occasionally listen to AFN. One of the news readers constantly mispronounced "Bad Kreuznach" as (I'll use English representation of the phonemics) "Bad Kroichna". It took me a couple of times before I figured out the true name of the town.

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Thomas Pfann  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:22
Member (2006)
English to German
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Place names can be tricky even in your own language Aug 12, 2010

Ah well, place names can be tricky in your own language, let alone a foreign language.

In Germany one noteworthy example might be the town of "Soest", which is pronounced with a long o and without the e (kind of [zo:st]). Germans who don't know the town would usually pronounce it more something like "So-est" or "Söst".

And here is a very interesting overview from the BBC about the difficulties and peculiarities of pronouncing British placenames: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A19773499 One of my favourites is the village of Trottiscliffe in Kent - which is pronounced like "Trozli". Or did you know that "Southampton is pronounced with an extra H (south-hampton), but Northampton (north-ampton) is not"?


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 03:22
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
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This problem is perennial Aug 12, 2010

I think everybody should try as much as possible to pronounce place names as close as posssible to the native version, because that is where it has to be understood.

Failure examples:

Könnten Sie mir bitte sagen wo der Zug nach mjoonick steht?

Per favore where is Mailand?

Pourriez vous me dire: Ou est situé Lüttich?

Donde es Ginebra?

Parigi?

Nuremburg?

Gottingen?



Your contributions please.

Mats


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Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:22
Italian to English
+ ...
Leominster Aug 12, 2010

For starters then anything with Ll or Ch in Welsh.

A good example is:

llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

Although, to be fair, once you know the rules, there are no more surprises of the Leominster variety.

[Edited at 2010-08-12 16:26 GMT]


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 03:22
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
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TOPIC STARTER
Another German example Aug 12, 2010

We lived for nine years in Straelen (Niederrhein).

Many Germans did not know that it should be pronounced
Straahlen which the local low German pronunciation.
They thought like many that it should be like STRÄHLEN.

Soest is a vey good example.

English place names:

Lester instead of Leighcester

Wooster instead of Worchester

etc.


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Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 00:22
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Strange pronunciations Aug 12, 2010

While on the subject of odd English pronunciations of place names, in Coventry we have Styvechale which is pronounced /STY-ch'll/ and Cheylesmore which is /CHARLES-more/.

In Brazil, many names of towns are difficult for foreigners to pronounce as they are of Tupi origin. These include:

Itaquaquecetuba - pronounced eat-a-quack-kess-se-TOO-buh

Pindamonhangaba - pronounced pin-dam-mon-yan-GAH-buh

Guaratinguetá - pronounced gwa-rah-tin-gwet-TAH

Jericoacoara - pronounced zher-ee-quack-KWAH-rah

Out of these, you are most likely to need Guaratinguetá (has a good football team) and Jericoacoara (one of Brazil's most important tourist attractions).


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David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 03:22
German to English
+ ...
Definitely not Aug 12, 2010

[quote]Mats Wiman wrote:

I think everybody should try as much as possible to pronounce place names as close as posssible to the native version, because that is where it has to be understood.

I have to disagree - most people refer to foreign places when they're not actually anywhere near the place - so there would be little point me explaining to my neighbour that I would like to visit Nice when he knows it as Nizza. Many place names have translations (usually for historic reasons) and its just the pedant or the show off who, like J.Archer in one of his novels, insist on spelling Zurich Zürich (wiht umlaut) - just to show he knew better.

[Edited at 2010-08-12 17:54 GMT]


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 03:22
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
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We are both right, David. Aug 12, 2010

Of course you are right, David - we dont' have to pronounce it like natives.

The Russian capital is maskváa to a Russian-speaking person.

To a Swede, it's moskváa.

To a German it's móskaoo just as to an English-speaking person

In French it's moskooo

etc.

Being outside Russia and with no Russian connections, it's only
natural to pronounce it in your own launguage's version.

But it's not bad to know the native version, especially if
you're a news reader in public service media.

To me, it has grown into hobby.


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Ricardo Horta  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:22
English to Portuguese
+ ...
What about this? Aug 13, 2010

Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu

Now that's a challenge.

Ricardo



[Edited at 2010-08-13 01:01 GMT]


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David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 03:22
German to English
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place names are not the worst Aug 13, 2010

Actually I would still argue that place names vary from language to language and that a news reader needs to use the place names as pronounced in his/her local language.

What shouldn't change are personal names, particularly of footballers (since they are the most likely to find themselves referred to on foreign TV programmes). Austrian (and possibly German) commentators seem to deliberately ignore the correct proncunication of Ian (comes out as Jan or Eye-an) and Geoffrey (usually ends up as joffry).

Still, it gives us language specilaists something to moan about!


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Gilla Evans  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:22
Spanish to English
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not to mention regional variations of pronunciation Aug 13, 2010

Many moons ago I taught English to students in Spain. To help them get round the idiosyncracies of English spelling and pronunciation I referred them to the name of a village near where I used to live: Roughbirchworth.

This word encapsulated the different ways of spelling the schwa unstressed vowel in English and its slight variations in pronunciation, and the peculiarities of gh, ch and th.

It usually left my Spanish students openmouthed with disbelief.

What I didn't enlighten them about was the completely different way a native of that Yorkshire village would pronounce the name compared to the way I, as someone who grew up in Hampshire, pronounced it.

My professor of Russian was a Scot and my professor of Spanish was Irish, and then I went to live in Andalucía, and learnt to pronounce Granada like the locals (dropping the 'd' and extending the 'a').


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:22
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Cornish place names Aug 13, 2010

Many Cornish places have peculiar pronunciations compared with the way they are written.
Locals call Mousehole "mouzle", and Liskeard "Liscard" and Launceston "Lanson" - and there's a tiny place on Bodmin Moor called Broadwoodwidger which, I'm told, is pronounced simply "Bridger". What a waste of all those letters!
There must be many many more such oddities, in English alone.
Jenny
P.S. And what about America? Why Arkansaw when it's written Arkansas? - to name but one.


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 03:22
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
TOPIC STARTER
German mispronunciation of English place names Aug 13, 2010

Scourching my ears:

"Los Eighngeles" because of the 'angel' part.

not to mention the horrible proniunciation of 'Dj' "Ge' and 'j' in:

blue dschiens, schorsch Bush, the dschoongels of Amazonas


As a Swede I have tried to teach German Television (ARD and ZDF) that
the word cup alpine ski resort Åre in Sweden is pronounced Oreh instead of Areh.
(and of course: Who would know this but a Nordic person (SWE/DAN/NOR/FIN))
Å and å is always 'oh'
"The viewers will be bewildered if we do" was the answer.

Well, what about bewildered readers/listeners/viewers with
Beijing, Mumbay, Myanmar or Angela Rippons' Zimbaahbwe?

Arkansas is a good example.



[Edited at 2010-08-13 09:22 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-10-01 22:07 GMT]


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