June 12, 2007

Barbados, BarBAAAYdos

Undoubtedly, there are advantages to growing up in a tri-lingual environment. I am not going to tell you otherwise. But it doesn’t come without it’s embarrassing moments - it isn’t all ‘I’m-cool-with-my-mix-of-germanic-languages’ sailing!
As it happens, I seem to have heard or read a lot of words in German first, and first impressions last - or so they say. And this has had blush-inducing consequences for me, especially lately, during my weather bulletins for France 24...

As a weatherhead, I have come home to have The Boyfriend point out: ”In English, we don’t say ‘moss cow’"
But the Americans do! So, I'll just be American when I announce Moscow's weather. I have also been caught out saying INclement weather. Now I know it’s inCLEment weather and I write it out phonetically in my bulletins, lest I get confused at the recording stage.

Suddenly, thanks to French, I am also having trouble with Montreal... and often have to re-record the name for my bulletins. Is it “MOhreAhl” or MoNTreeawwl’ or “MoNTreeeAhl”?? I’m still not sure.

Then there was the recent incident when I was telling a friend that The Boyfriend was in the Caribbean and flew via ‘AntiGUa’. My friend was too kind to correct me, so I went around telling everyone about AntiGUa. I blushed a hot pink 24 hours later when The Boyfriend returned from ‘AntEEga’ and I went:” What, so it’s not pronounce AntiGUa?” What is up with the darn island names??

Take Barbados as another example....lovely island - I don’t doubt it - but it’s been the bane of my linguistic existence for....oh, roughly 9 years now. That was how long ago I was playing Trivial Pursuit with some friends in South Africa. As it was the answer to my team’s question, I hollered Bar-baa-DOSSSS! Greeted with noisy, grunting laughter, I obviously didn’t get the joke until someone gave me a pointed lesson in Bar-BAAAY-dos pronunciation. My protests, that I was merely pronouncing it the German way, fell on deaf ears - people who are ROLFL* don’t hear so well. And they have NEVER let me forget it.

PS Luckily for China, the French and Germans call the capital Peking, so at least my pronunciation of Beijing will remain unpolluted!

ROTFL* = rolling on the floor laughing (lest you be not enough of a geek to know)

1 comment:

Spencer Eggworth said...

And to think i'm stuck in jo-hewnis- borg.