In a similar vein to last week’s post, check it out here. Today’s post is about the unnecessary pronunciation of certain words in a foreign language.
Picture the scene, you’re in a cafe of a morning and want to grab breakfast on the go. You, in a broad regional English accent, ask for a black coffee, but then when it comes to “croissant” you suddenly sound like you have lived in the south of France for your entire life. WHY? I learnt Spanish at school, so I can appreciate the double LL in native Spanish is pronounced as a “J” sound – see Mallorca and Majorca. If in Spain I was ordering a paella, I’d probably utilise my Spanish and order the whole lot in Spanish – I wouldn’t say I would like a *insert Spanish accent* “paeja”. This isn’t going to impress them. I’ve used English for the entire sentence.
I’m going to make a bold claim and say food is the area where this little foreign accent creeps in the most, I’ve already mentioned paella and croissant. But for a second consider how you would pronounce Chorizo, manchego or maybe even strudel.
What confuses me more about this little quirk is the seeming inconsistency of it. I’d imagine everyone would say they are off to Glasgow and not pronounce it like a Glaswegian. But quite a few would attempt a Geordie accent if off to Newcastle. If you are going to be wrong, at least be consistently wrong.
Take a second to move over to non-food items – Volkswagen – did you go German then? I doubt it. I don’t know why some words are worthy of the pretentious elevation to a foreign accent, while others remain an anglicised word.
I don’t really know why we have to pronounce certain words with a foreign accent. The English language is littered with words on loan from abroad that are lucky/unlucky enough to be pronounced in English, so why can’t every word?