This is the word that will haunt 13-year-old Neetu Chandak for the rest of her life. She misspelled it during the National Spelling Bee Championship finals. But, if the word was pronounced as it should have been, with it's Spanish root, rolled double "rr," would she have gotten it right? The announcer even pointed out the lack of rolled "rr" in their pronunciation of derriengue, but dismissed it as an Anglicized form of the word. Really? It seemed like there were an abundance of French words in this round: blancmange, baignoire, Neufchâtel, and they were all pronounced with French gusto, er, flaire. I would think the "American" pronunciation of Neufchâtel would include a hard, audible "F." Same with the "C" in blancmange. Maybe the announcer was just using "Anglicized" as a euphemism for "lazy."

And what of all the Spanish-speaking newscasters who have no accent whatsoever, until they come to a Spanish word, at which point it's like we've switched gears, to Telemundo? But it's still Anglicized news, right? By these standards Cesar Chavez Street should be "See-zir Chavez," not "Say-czar." It will be interesting to see what is considered "Anglicized" pronunciation in a few years, if we continue on this bilingual route, in states with large Hispanic populations. Speaking of, what ever happened to Esperanto? Has that ever taken off?


Little Nova said...

Great observation, Mel.

This is really a phenomenon that interests me, especially in places like Florida, where the Latino population is booming.

I think even though most cultures expect to experience a certain amount of assimilation living in the states, it makes you wonder what is lost in this transition. How does it broaden our own western culture if we aren't learning and accepting change? Change in language....Change in landscape...


Then you have these areas like Little Havannah in Miami where, for all purposes, you feel like you literally need a passport to get there...It's kind of awesome how they have preserved so much of their Cuban heritage and enriched the local community at the same time. (Though, some would disagree.)

I think that is truly what the American spirit is about. Not just preserving, but welcoming new ideas and new experiences.

Little Nova said...

I wonder if the French or Spanish....muddle English words? Oh, wait...Their kids learn like 3 languages before high school....nevermind.

Go America.

Jana said...

What is Esperanto? Funny considering I am currently in Miami!