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to hate people who put on an accent when they say a foreign word?

(264 Posts)
JustAHolyFool Sun 27-Jan-13 15:03:44

It really grinds my gears. I was talking to someone the other night and he started talking about the "bella figura" thing in Italy, but every time he said "bella figura" he said it in an Italian accent.


I speak German but if I say, I don't know, Doppelganger or Reichstag or something, I don't put on a German accent to say it.

My best friend also does this, trilling her r's like a good one if she mentions anything Spanish.

Why is it so annoying? Is it annoying? Is it just me?

eslteacher Sun 27-Jan-13 16:13:29

Cother - I live in France too and I also dislike using French pronunciation of English words. I had to ask for a "broo-nee" at the bakery the other day, which felt so wrong.

My pet hate though is things like 'un smarties' and 'un chips'...the s gets my goat!

Otherwise on the general topic, I do think that where its clear someone is using the foreign pronunciation just to show off it is U, but if they speak that language well or are of that nationality, its not necessarily U, could just be what comes naturally to them.

GilmoursPillow Sun 27-Jan-13 16:15:15

Iactually I have a friend married to an Italian and she lived there for donkey's years so is fluent. I also find it a bit wanky when she pronounces an Italian word with an Italian accent (ie, as it should be pronounced). That's completely unreasonable of me.

MrsMeeple Sun 27-Jan-13 16:20:00

There's a difference between using the correct pronounciation and putting on a silly accent? You can pronounce croissant correctly without trying to sound like a character from 'Allo 'Allo!


MrsMeeple Sun 27-Jan-13 16:20:24

Oops. That question mark shouldn't be there...

MrsMeeple Sun 27-Jan-13 16:23:51

On the other side of the argument, I live in a non-english speaking country, and I try really hard to pronounce the local language correctly. But I know I sound like a foreigner, and always will. sad. What I really hate is television adverts that speak the local language, but get someone with an awful english-speaking background accent to do the voice-overs. Arrrgggghhhh. It is not going to make me more likely to buy your product because some twat with attrocious pronunciation of the local language is trying to sell it! Can that possibly work on those born and raised here??!?

HintofBream Sun 27-Jan-13 16:24:35

Does anyone remember the TV advert involving "Laboratoires Garnier Paris"?
Paris pronounced Pariss. Shouldn't it have been either "Laboratoires... Paree" or "Laboratories ...Pariss". The inconsistancy annoyed me.

My god it is way worse to hear them said with a broad American accent. I'll take pretentious any day over that.

Oh and if I hear that someone was in "Eye-rack" ever again I may stick myself in the eye with a spork.

andtheycalleditbunnylove Sun 27-Jan-13 16:26:42

i don't do it for foreign words but i do it for the name of one of my rabbits. she has a french-sounding name, given to her by daughter, so she always gets the silly 'french' accent.

daughter points out that the rabbit is in fact from west yorkshire...

spiritedaway Sun 27-Jan-13 16:29:41

TEFL teachers in the staff room are gloriously pretentious. . think cul de sac was my biggest giggle

AntimonySalts Sun 27-Jan-13 16:30:49

OP, YAdefinitelyNBU. I am bilingual, and I still pronounce the words of my other first language in the English way. I would consider it pukemakingly pretentious to do anything else.

Peevish Sun 27-Jan-13 16:32:29

This is a fascinating thread. I know it's saying something about a particular strand of Britishness - the horror of risking looking pretentious, or displaying your education/ability to speak a foreign language fluently - but I'm a foreigner and I still don't understand it. Why is a certain kind of UK person obsessed with appearing 'down to earth'?

I was baffled by a UK newspaper interview with Emma Thompson years ago, in which she was talking about some charity work or something she had done in Chile - and the interviewer kept sneering about how she pronounced it 'CHEE-lay'. Because obviously that's pretentions when the proper English pronunciation of it is 'Chilly', as in 'Shut the door, I'm a bit chilly'. Now it all makes sense!

SquinkiesRule Sun 27-Jan-13 16:34:04

This thread has me reading out loud trying to figure out how I say things. grin I'm starting to think I must sound a bit twatty!
Chorizo I do say chor ees oh. No iz as I'm in California, isn't the iz accent in it from the Barcelona area where they all sound like they have a lisp?
Les mis I have given up and say Le Mis.
Croissant I ordered in Starbucks yesterday and said it Cwason ? Or some such way.
Paella (pie ey ya)
One that make me chuckle is Quesadilla, here they say k-sa-dee-ya, and every now and then Ds used to tell us people in the drive through where he worked would say k-sa-dill-a and make him laugh.

dylsmimi Sun 27-Jan-13 16:44:55

My colleague not only over pronounces foreign words but also when talking about a region of the UK adopts the accent! It is so irritating!
Eg. (Usual accent) Well I went on my holiday to (starts talking in odd accent) yorkshire, we had a great time, blah blah ends then speaks normally!

Not helped that she cannot do any accent!

I especially want to shake her when she speaks about st Helens ( dropping the t and h)

Squink, I'm in CA too and I also say chore-ee-so, I kept saying it over and over to remember as well LOL. If I say croissant the french way (or my bad o level french accent way) none of the baristas understand, I have to say 'crah-sahnt' which drives me crazy.

If you don't say the spanish loaner words in at least an attempt of a mexican accent here then people think you are an idiot. For instance, a local place name is "La Jolla" and if you ever hear "joh-lah" then you know they are not from around here.

JustAHolyFool Sun 27-Jan-13 16:51:30

Peevish, I don't think I'm obsessed with looking "down to earth". It does make me cringe when people are pretentious, but it has nothing to do with a hatred of education or some put-on country ways.

Branleuse Sun 27-Jan-13 17:00:40

how are you supposed to say croissant if not cwasson? Thats how you say it isnt it?
Ive never heard it said any other way

InMySpareTime Sun 27-Jan-13 17:02:28

It's not the pronunciation that's the issue, it's the put-on wanky exaggerated accent that accompanies such words.

Peevish Sun 27-Jan-13 17:05:47

But is it pretentious, JustaHoly? (I don't specifically mean you, either, more the fact that a lot of people on the thread agree with you, and clearly do find it pretentious.)

I suppose what I'm trying to get at - again, longerm UK-resident foreigner here, so not native - is that there seems to be a widespread cultural horror in this country of looking pretentious, which I don't quite understand. The baby name threads are full of people deeming certain names 'try hard', which is clearly intended as the most terrible insult! I also confess to not understanding why being seen as 'down to earth' is considered such a good thing - it seems like a kind of reverse pretentiousness to me!

But that's probably a different topic.

Branleuse Sun 27-Jan-13 17:07:39

most people who speak a foreign langage try and adjust their accent dont they??

Not that anyone ever gets it right, but I think it makes it easier for other speakers of the language understand if you make at least a stab at the accent.

moonstorm Sun 27-Jan-13 17:08:06

Why does it only seem to matter for certain languages...? Is it because they are the ones people know a little of - other languages it doesn't matter...?


DH is bilingual. When he talks about places/ things from his native country in English, he uses an English accent and vice versa. He doesn't mix the two up.

Fakebook Sun 27-Jan-13 17:09:26

My five year

CoteDAzur Sun 27-Jan-13 17:10:56

YABU. You find it annoying only because those are the correct pronunciations.

I suppose it's people like you who pronounce parmesan with that silly j sound for which I can't even find a phonetic representation in English.

Fakebook Sun 27-Jan-13 17:12:50

My five year old says "paree" instead of Paris thanks to Madeleine. She has a red Minnie Mouse top with Minnie standing next to the Eiffel Tower, and she calls it her "Paree top".

I don't have a problem with pronouncing the word correctly.

JustAHolyFool Sun 27-Jan-13 17:14:56

WTH do you mean Cote? "j" sound?

Branleuse, I amn't talking about being in a foreign country, I'm talking about being down Bella Pasta and going "And I will have the caaarbonara" in a jaunty Italian accent.

Porkster Sun 27-Jan-13 17:19:24

I think I'm in the middle here.

I cringe when people say 'tortilla' and pronounce the l.

Yet I also cringe when my friend goes completely authentic with her paella, chorizo and jalapeño pronunciation.

I think it's the accent, rather than the pronunciation.

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