Double Fault

Maria Sharapova 01

Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon 2011

Break out the Boli! Scoff down the strawberries! It’s Wimbledon again! Harrah!

While we thrill to Sharapova and Hantuchova grunting it out on the manicured grass of the centre court, in the commentary boxes sports announcers are mangling their names.

What is it that sports commentators do that makes them too busy learn how to pronounce the names of the people they are being paid to inform us about?

Many commentators, notably and possibly most annoying of the lot, are several on Australia’s ABC TV and radio networks who are obsessed with pronouncing any Russian or Slavic name that is transliterated as ending in –ova to rhyme with moreover (more-OH-ver), as in shah-rah-POH-vuh. Wrong. The emphasis is on the second syllable and the POH syllable is given very short shrift: sha-RAH-pu-vah.

The first irony is that Ms Sharapova succumbed to overwhelming ignorance and now mispronounces her own name.

The second irony is that some commentators who actually know the correct pronunciations deliberately mispronounce them less they be thought to be in error.

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Posted on June 23, 2011, in language, media, television and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Cathy Netherwood

    Ozzies are notoriously bad at pronouncing non Anglo names. Even after Kim Clijsters complained YEARS ago, they still continue to mispronounce.

  2. Not just Australians, the Women’s Tennis Association published a pronunciation guide of members’ names that had many of the Russian and Slavic names incorrect, usually because of emphasis on the wrong syllable. There has been plenty of criticism of English and American commentators. John McEnroe’s name is mentioned more than once.

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