Jude Collins

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Call me Paddy...

Aug. 12, 2010 - 06310570 date 11 08 2010 Copyright imago Kevin Kilbane of Ireland disputes A decision International Friendly Republic of Ireland v Argentina 11th August 2010 PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK Football men National team international match Dublin Action shot Single Vdig 2010 vertical Highlight premiumd.
I spent yesterday evening switching between the Ireland vs Argentina game  on Sky and the England vs Hungary one on ITV. Neither game seized me by the throat  (I missed both Gerard goals) but the Sky Sports commentator managed to nudge me away from the Ireland game he was covering and towards the England game. Not because I’m more interested in England than Ireland but because the Sky man would keep mangling Irish names.  Did you know that the Republic has a player called Key-oh? Or one called Faw-hee?  That’s Keogh and Fahy when pronounced properly. The Sky man had the former Republic of Ireland player Ray Houghton beside him, which should have resolved any Irish name pronunciation, except that Ray's from Scotland and is probably a bit shaky on Irish names himself. It’s like that player Arsenal had some years back.  Key-own he was called, played at full-back.

Ignorance? Laziness?  Probably  a bit of both. Plus that unfailing English notion, sometimes buried but never quite dead, that foreign names are deliberately weird and need to be modified so that, well, ordinary civilized people can understand them.

I’d be more critical of English delusions of superiority except that a considerable number of local radio announcers still don’t know how to pronounce  ‘Magherafelt’.


  1. This is a personal pet hate of mine - at the risk of sounding militant there would be an outcry if broadcasters were to persistently mispronounce names of an Asian/Arabic/Continental origin.... can they not just do their homework or have their researchers do it and put a bit of effort into Irish... just for the sake of professionalism and neighbourly respect of another culture?

  2. Hahaha. Big Deal people. If a person from one country with a distinctly different accent pronounces the name of a person from another country using that same accent are we to take it as a slight? An offence? An indignation? A mild irritant at most perhaps. However, try some of the following names for yourself (try pronouncing them yourself before reading the description):

    Gijon (Spanish)

    appears Gee-zhon - pronounced Hee-hon (with a slight guttural sound on the 'G'.

    Xerez (Spanish)

    appears Zer-ez - pronounced Her-eth.

    Aina (Norwegian)

    in Irish...this is close to Aine, but is pronounced Eye-na in Norwegian.

    It's not always easy. Granted the names of famous footballers should come more easily to other tongues, but lets not be so judgmental as to take the proverbial hump at a mispronunciation of name by TV commentator. Happens all the happen.

    I'm with Jude. What's far harder to accept is the mispronunciation of a name by someone from that very same place. No-one in Northern Ireland lives more than an hour and half from anywhere else (give or take) so it's breath-taking that anyone here would struggle with a name like Magherafelt, Aughnacloy, Loughgiel, or anywhere else.