Friday, February 10, 2006Radio DJs and announcers are expected to pronounce stuffs like names and places properly. That was how I knew names like Dag Hammarskjold, Dvorak, Aung San Suu Kyi, Burkina Fasso and Harare should be pronounced. Radio stations take great pains to find out the correct pronounciation of these names. When in doubt, they call up the embassy concerned to confirm. There are exceptions of course.
When Zulkifar Ali Bhutto (and later his lovely daughter) was in the headlines, Malaysian newsreader deliberately mispronounced his name as "batto" as a matter of policy because the proper pronounciation would sound vulgar to some Malaysians.
Apart from this, we spoke out names and places as they were spoken in their native land. Thus, we hear Copenhagen as it was uttered in Denmark and Leicester as it was called in England. When we hear somebody on air pronouncing West Bromwich or Greenwich like pronouncing some sort of sandwiches, we laugh at the ignorance. Yet we accept "clang" for Klang and various interpretations of Kuala Lumpur.I am sure you can cite other examples. Given the fact that it is a fad now to hire non-Malaysians as voice-overs, DJs etc., these people should be made aware of the proper way to say out Malaysian names. I am sure, if say, Fly Guy were to be hired by a Sydney station, he would be taught how to pronounce Dubbo, Tullamarine etc. properly. Yet we hear "clang" repeatedly- even by Malaysian djs and announcers.
Many years ago, before Manjung became official, some people who read the English news on air pronounced the place as "ding ding". Even though Dinding (now Manjung) has many people named Ding, the proper way to say "Dinding" is "din-deng". However brassy or metallic you think the Royal Town of Selangor (not se lay ngor) is, the name is Klang. It almost rhymes with "lung" and it won't break anybody's tongue to say it properly.
While you are practising that, practise calling that island in Terengganu "ray-dung" instead of any other pronounciation. After all, if you can learn to be as French as possible when talking about Grand Prix, why can't you call the island the way the natives call it?
For those stubborn people who insists on calling Klang "clang", I give you a somewhat rude classic limerick to read aloud:
There was a man from Madras
Whose balls were made of brass
During rainy weather
The balls clanged together
And the sparks flew into his arse.