Will Sotomayor Make Spanish An Official Language?
Now Spanish pronunciation is everywhere. On National
Public Radio, every Mexican name gets a rolled
and flat vowels.
No one does this with French or German names. Not even
the wildest Francophile would pronounce Detroit or
the way the
do. But it proves you love
if you talk about
the way a
nominee for the Supreme Court wants
to give us language lessons, too. We`re not supposed to
pronounce her name the way an American would, with the
accent on the first syllable and the last two syllables
"mayor," as in the mayor of Chicago. She insists on
a Spanish pronunciation.
Not Sonia. As she keeps telling us, although she is
American-born, she is a
that English dispensed with this type of gender
distinction a thousand years ago—and she wants to remind
us of this every time we hear her name.
It wasn`t all that long ago that people wanted to fit
in, and changed their names to sound more American.
and campus radical
started life as Mark Rudnitsky. Volodymyr Palahniuk made
things a lot easier for himself by switching to
Of course, no one wants to fit into America any more,
not even someone who wants to sit on the Supreme Court.
We have to adjust to them, not the other way around.
At the same time, this pronunciation fad is an attempt
to sneak Spanish in the back door as a sort of official
language—or at least to exempt Spanish names from the
Anglicizing process other names go through. Like
"Press 1 for English,"
this is just one
more result of having let 40 million Hispanics come live
The Chinese have been pushing us around, too. We`re not
supposed to talk about
Peking or Canton
anymore. They are Beijing and Guangzhou. The Communists
changed the spelling after they took over in 1949, but
only started bullying Westerners about it in the 1980s.
The Chinese claim the new spellings sound more like the
pronounce the name. So what? English-speakers have
certain names for certain places and we have used them
isn`t even spelled the same as München and Florence
doesn`t sound much like Firenze, but the Germans and the
Italians don`t ask us to change. If the French told us
to start calling their capital Paree we would laugh at
The Japanese have their own names for things, too. They
use the same characters as the Chinese but pronounce
them differently. So they are the only people in the
world who talk about Moh Taku-toh and Sho Kai-seki
The Chinese don`t like that but the Japanese speak
Japanese, not Chinese. And
could live in Japan all her life but never be anything
but Nahnshee Pehroshee.
the French have their own ideas about how our names
should be pronounced. Our last president was
and he lived in la Maison Blanche, not the White House.
and South Carolina is
Caroline du Sud.
And do you think Mexicans ever go to New York? No, they
go to Nuevo York. In 2001,
introduced a bill in the
state house officially to change the state`s name to
Nuevo Mexico. When the bill never made it out of
committee, sponsor Miguel Garcia blamed
"covert racism." [Lawmaker
Suggests Racism To Blame After New State Name Axed,
By S. U. Mahesh,
Albuquerque Journal, February 14, 2001]
Americans speak English, and not just any kind of
English. We don`t talk about
lorries and lifts,
and we don`t twist our mouths into funny shapes just
because foreigners tell us to.
Why should this Supreme Court nominee get special
treatment? Keep pronouncing her name the way an American
If someone corrects you, ask him
capital of Japan? When he says
(and it won`t sound like the way
say it) explain to him:
don`t speak Japanese. I
don`t speak Puerto Rican."
him) is editor of
American Renaissance and the author of Paved
With Good Intentions: The Failure of Race Relations in
Peter Brimelow`s review, click