From: Cindy Smith (email@example.com)
Date: Mon Nov 29 1999 - 12:16:51 EST
Generally speaking, the way the locals pronounce a name is correct.
For example, I live in DeKalb County, Georgia. We locals are not ignorant;
we know that DeKalb County was founded by Stephen DeKalb who pronounced
his name "Dee-Kob," but we locals pronounce the County "Dee-Kab."
I knew of a woman whose name was Dubois and pronounced it like it is written,
though the French would say "Doo-bwah." My great-great-grandfather came
to America from Germany where my maiden name Miller was pronounced
"Millar" with the accent on the second syllable but the pronunciation
changed to "Mil-er" with the accent on the first syllable. Again, the
correct pronunciation is "Mil-er" with the accent on the first syllable
because the way the family pronounces a name is correct, just as the way
the locals pronounce a place-name is correct. I'm sensitive to this because
I'm a descriptive rather than prescriptive grammarian and am the same way
about pronouncing words. I was once told by an English teacher that there
is no such word as "dove" as in "he dove into the water." I corrected her
and told her that "dove" is a Southern colloquial past participle of dive,
and just because they didn't say "dove" in the North doesn't make it
incorrect in the South. I wonder if the Jews in the first century felt
the same way about Aramaic? Which is the "correct" pronunciation of words,
the Hebrew pronunciation or the Aramaic pronunciation? Hard to tell for
a classical language no longer spoken. My Latin teacher in high school
taught me how to pronounce Latin words a particular way, but my college
Latin professor was Italian and taught me to pronounce Latin words with an
Italian accent. Who's right? Bad Latin is good Italian, as they say.
Who is to say that native speakers of the Romance languages like Spanish,
Portugeuse, Roumanian, French, and Italian pronounce words incorrectly?
Different dialects are just as correct among local speakers as the original
pronunciations in the original Indo-Europeans.
Cindy Smith Spawn of a Jewish Carpenter
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