On names, changing them, and pronunciation

Charles Butler hannibal at thegates.fsbusiness.co.uk
Wed Mar 5 04:24:39 EST 2003

> BTW I recently heard a tv announcer, in her zeal to pronounce everybody's
> name perfectly, and show off her skills, pronounce John Xavier with a
> at the beginning, which must have startled the poor man with that name
> sitting next to her.

LOL. That reminds me of the interview I heard between a US journalist and
Nelson Mandela - not long after he came out of jail - when, in her anxiety
not to offend him or anyone back home by saying 'black', she kept addressing
him as an 'African American'.

And that in turn links back nicely to a pronunciation/name changing obDWJ.
How do people in the States pronounce the name of the eponymous villain in
'Aunt Maria'? When it was published as 'Black Maria' in the UK the name
punned on the nickname for the old black police vans known as Black Marias
(pronounced so as to rhyme with 'liars'). Following that cue I always
pronounced Maria in the same way - which I think of as the more
old-fashioned way, as is appropriate for the character. But I don't know how
well-known the term Black Maria is in the States, and in any case for PC
reasons it was published there (and maybe elsewhere too?) under a different
name. So perhaps there it's pronounced to rhyme with 'Dutiful Farseer'?

Any information on this momentous issue-for-our-times gratefully received.


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