As you know, every language has it’s challenges. In some countries certain letters or words are hyphenated in different ways. If you have been speaking one way for your entire life, it is pretty hard to accustom yourself to new sounds. Even if you don’t plan to learn an entirely new language or vocabulary, getting people’s first names right can be daunting.
Buzz Feed Video offers us this great look into your average Americans trying to pronounce Irish names. Let me say, it is very humorous to watch them pick and grind their brains over how to begin to say the names, let alone make them sound authentic.
Funny, how awkwardly the first female comments,”Irish is a language?”. Sad to say that some people don’t really know this, but for those of you new, yes it is. Again, I repeat, Irish is a separate language.
It seems that most Americans could use a lesson in elocution. Let’s start with words that have a T then an A like in the name Tadgh. Unlike how it sounds, the TA combination really should sound more like a TI sound. We Americans have words like table and tangent. We are used to making that A sound. It’s not surprising how we bungle that name pretty readily. (oh, boy and did these people bungle it.)
Roisin was not much better. This was one of the names with a fada over the I. We, in America, usually don’t know what to do with that symbol. I think most of us wonder why it is over one I and not the other. We dot our I’s all the same way. This is one way foreign language really throws most educated people off.
The video guinea pigs made Roisin sound like Rasheen or even raisin. I find that particularly funny because those names sound so very Americanized. (it would be unlikely to find words like that in exotic locations, as well.)
The battle gets even harder with names that are spelled like they should be pronounced exactly as they are written out. For instance, Saoirse, starts off with a shhh sound and ends with an A tone. I definitely know that I probably would have messed that one up myself.
So, take a look, and watch the video. Join the rest of the world’s population who probably have no idea how to enunciate these traditional, Irish names. I know they really tried to make them sound right and we Americans didn’t do very well. At the very least, we were open to trying and laughed about how clueless we really are.
Photo courtesy of MorgueFile.