Posted by: janecronin | August 9, 2011

Understanding place names with an accent!


It’s surprising how names which are perfectly familiar become completely unrecognisable once a foreign accent gets hold of them.  Today I was listening  to a radio phone interview with an American artist living in Granada whose Spanish was good enough to make herself clearly understood but she stuggled a little bit here and there.  Interestingly though, the one question she just couldn’t get was the one that mentioned where she came from – Pennsylvania – pronounced a Spanish accent.  It went like this:  “Parece que vienes de Pensilvania ¿verdad?”  Silence, followed by -“Perdón, puedes hablar más alto”.  “Estaba diciendo – ¿Qué hace una chica de Pensilvania en Granada?”  Silence.  Third attempt – “Eres de Pensilvania”.  Reply “sí” (although actually I think she still didn’t understand him).

It reminded me an occasion when I was asked, also on a radio programme, how the name “Kylie Minogue” should be pronounced.   The question sounded like   “Dee Keelay Minogay” (please excuse Spanglish spelling).  I just looked at the interviewer in horror.  I had no idea what he was asking me.  When I eventually said “Oh Kylie Minogue!”  They all rolled round laughing.  This language thing is much more than learning new words!!!

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