Monday, August 11, 2008

Pronouncing Foreign Names: Dale Carnegie

Recently, I had the occasion to listen to a senior Indian professor, who has taught English for a number of years. He referred to 'Dale Carnegie' and pronounced him as 'Carnegie' with the 'j' sound, rhyming him with 'energy'. Now, I knew that the person was 'Carnegie' with a 'g' sound, the same sound that you have in the word 'bag'. I knew this because I had heard the audio book, How to Win Friends and Influence People.

This set me thinking--when senior people commit such public blunders, you can't go about telling them in public or in private that they were incorrect. And then, many Indians tend to be very sensitive and seem to take it personally. In any case, I have seen a number of academics take things personally while the issues were strictly professional. Even if I told the person in private, he would take it personally. So, there's no way that I can 'improve' someone's pronunciation but I'm sure I could do something for the younger folk and hope they wouldn't commit such errors.

I know that even if you were an Englishman or an American and if you hadn't heard of Dale Carnegie, then it is certain that you might call him the same way that this professor did. So, what do you do? The best thing is to research online because there may not be any available paper dictionaries that will help us how to pronounce foreign names.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

so its actually you would pronounce say Carnegie Hall???

car-knee-ghee (as in "key")
car-knee-G (how it would be pronounced in the alphabet)