Friday, November 03, 2006

Conspiracy of the American Accent

I‧raq[i-rak, i-rahk]
Pronunciation Guide -
[ i ] it, big, finishes, [ a ] apple, can, hat

Why is it that every single soldier interviewed on TV or Radio pronounced this country Eye Rak?
It feels like nails on a chalkboard to me. I listen to the BBC in my office, and it makes me all the more embarrassed to hear it pronounced this way for an international audience.

I wonder sometimes if either (a) soldiers use this expression as a way of demonstrating disrespect for the Iraqi people, (b) the military/government picks these soldiers as spokespeople as a way of parochializing the discussion (only internationalists and French people say I-rak), (c) the press picks these soldiers/officers to make fun of Americans, (d) 95% of 'Mericans are ignorant.

There was a CNN commercial a while back with Christine Amanpour, where she was interviewing someone who was speaking of Eye-rak, she corrects him, then he says, "oh wait maybe I was thinking of that other country..... Eye-ran" - she (and I) sighed heavily.


At 5:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't know me, but I know Jeff and had mentioned this to him when I visited San Francisco recently.
I studied Lit theory under a post-colonialist (who studied under Said at Colombia). He used to say "Eye Ran is a complete sentence! Eee-rahn is a country". But beyond that he used it as an example to illustrate the politics of colonialism, in that the colonizers didn't have to care how things were pronounced because they were enculturating people, not mixing with them and how screwy that attitude was.

Since thinking about it in that light, "Eye-rack" and "eye-ran" have become nails down a chalkboard for me, and every time I hear "eye-ran" I think of the Flock of Seagulls song and realize that in my perfect world, everyone should have that crazy haircut.



Post a Comment

<< Home