Thursday, 20 January 2011

Tunisian names and Anglophone newsreaders

Anglophone newsreaders still seem to be having trouble with the French-style orthography of Tunisian names, especially the 'ch' in Ghannouchi and Chebbi, which is of course the equivalent of the English 'sh' and the Arabic  ش  shin. I wouldn't expect them to take on the 'gh' of Ghannouchi, since that voiced velar fricative does not occur in normal English, but surely their scripts are annotated to alert them to simple things like the 'ch'. I remember an Australian traveller who stayed with me in Tunis many years ago and came home to tell me he had been in 'Heady Chucker' (hɛdi ʌkə) that morning. At first I thought this was Australian vernacular possibly related to violent sports or binge drinking, but then it dawned on me he was referring to Rue Hédi Chaker (ha:di ʃa:kir), a major Tunis street. Talking of which, Language Log had a fascinating post recently on the pronunciation of the name of the contested Ivorian president, Laurent Gbagbo. 'Gb' is a doubly-articulated labio-velar stop, something I never knew existed.

1 comment:

  1. Huge collection of Tunisian baby boy and girl names with meaning and Numerology.