US-English Speakers Deliberately Disrespect International Languages

Hola a todos. Respected Latino journalist Rolando Nichols, based in Los Ángeles, wrote about how sad it is that US-English language journalists and talking heads parked at microphones don’t pronounce español names/words correctly. Oh don’t get me started on that, Rolando. That’s one of my complaints too. They usually don’t pronounce any español words correctly. And they don’t even try, and due to their immaturity they find it hilarious when they mangle español words because “stupid is in.” Rolando was referring to the US-English language corporate media networks in Los Ángeles. He went on to say that the people in these corporate networks are supposed to serve their community — which includes Los Latinos/Hispanos/mexicanos — and they’re not doing that when they don’t even try to pronounce español names correctly. Yes, it’s disgraceful and annoys me too. I honestly think they enjoy sounding proudly-ignorant and illiterate of other world languages with their ugly and immature US Chauvinism/Nationalism/Superiority and Exceptionalism Complex. One would think that people in the corporate media would be required as part of their job to pronounce words from foreign international languages as close to authentically correct at possible, no? I think that’s the way it used to be. But that doesn’t seem to be a requirement with the dumbed-down US corporate media today however.

This topic came to mind again with the death last year of José Fernández, the major league US baseball pitcher from Miami. Just casually observing, I noticed that the only corporate English network writing his name correctly was NBC Universal, and that may be because they own the español-language network Telemundo. The accent marks are part of his name: José Fernández. His name is part of español. Neither words are English.

Then there are the español-language networks. I have noticed that most people before the cameras at Univisión are bilingual and they can go back and forth between US-English and español fluently when they choose to or need to do so. The same may be true at Telemundo although I’ve noticed less US-English being spoken on Telemundo. I’ve read that in Miami-Dade (or I think they’re now calling that “South Florida”) where both corporate networks (Uni and Telemundo) have their production facilities that español is the dominant language or it’s very commonly spoken and it’s important to know español in South Florida. And it’s spoken as the dominant language by business owners of restaurants, for example, and the wealthier as opposed to in Los Ángeles — with its large Latino population — where it’s spoken more so by the working class. As Rolando Nichols pointed out, obviously the same is not true for the US-English language corporate media people before the cameras. Due to their immaturity, they think it’s funny and they laugh when they can’t pronounce an español word or when they mangle it. I saw Whoopie Goldberg (of all people!) act as if she thought it was hilarious that she couldn’t pronounce Univisión correctly when she was introducing someone from the network to join them on their set of the show that she’s on. I remember some clueless person (some “English-only” person) asked Jorge Ramos of Univisión why they don’t speak English on his network. (roll eyes) LOL. Well being polite, mature and a very nice person, Jorge refused to point out the obvious to this idiot that he works for an español-language network. He could have asked this ignoramus, “Well let me ask you the same question, mi amor/my love: Why don’t you speak español on your English-language network, huh?” Pendejo. But rather he politely responded by saying: “Oh we do speak English on occasion and that’s because we don’t have some words in español that are used in English. For example, in español we don’t have a word for “Social Security” so when we’re reporting on that we use the English word “Social Security” and then we go back into español.

As I’ve written before, from my experience in classical music, the Chorus Directors for the Orchestra Choruses I had the privilege of singing with brought in a language coach to assure that the Chorus was absolutely authentic in the pronunciation for the language of the choral work we were performing with the National Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony or guest national or international orchestras. I think that is standard policy in the classical music field if one expects to have any credibility. I remember when the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus went to Alemania/Deutchland/Germany and performed with the Berlin Philharmoniker, the review of their performance said that their German for Brahms’s Ein Deutches Requiem was better than the German of their own Choruses there in Germany. I understand that comment and that’s because when a language is one’s first language, the pronunciation of words can get sloppy. But I can hear someone screaming: “Political correctness!, Political correctness!” (since there seems to be major campaign against political correctness these days here The Cesspool as we head backwards to the Dark Ages). No, this has nothing to do with political correctness. It has to do with a respect for international languages and not sounding like an illiterate fool, or a stupid-is-in US’an in other words.

There also seems to be an (unspoken?) rule — which I don’t follow because it seems disrespectful of other international languages– that whenever a non-English word is written in an English sentence, that the non-English word must be sanitised/stripped of all its accent marks. Presumably that’s because English doesn’t have accent marks. Well the problem with this ridiculous thinking/policy is that the word that is being stripped of its accent mark(s) is not an English word to begin with even when written in an English sentence, so the word should remain authentic as it appears in its original language, whatever that language is. So for example, when websites write the word “Iván” (a guy’s name) or “México” they should retain the accent mark over the “á” or “é” respectively. Unfortunately, most sites are notorious for sanitising español. What I’m suggesting is also being respectful of the original/authentic language. When I write “México” in an English sentence, I retain the accent mark over the “é.” I don’t strip it of its accent mark because the word “México” is from español and it’s authentic to español. It’s not an English word to begin with, so why try to make it one? All of the English language corporate networks are guilty of this — including NPR (National Public Pentagon Radio — when they talk about the español language network Univisión (pronounced uniβiˈsjo̞n). They constantly disrespect and mangle that and pronounce it as if it were an English word, according to mi amigo. I haven’t listened to NPR in years — not since that Cokie Roberts was gushing over George W Bush and referred to him as “a very attractive candidate” (had the woman been drinking before broadcast time?) — but I saw a clip of an interview that NPR did about Univisión awhile back so I listened to the first minute of it just to see how they pronounced Univisión. As expected, they mangled it too and tried to pronounce Univisión as if it were an English-language word. And apparently there is no one in all of NPR or their member stations that speaks español that they could have checked with to confirm that their report was correct in regards to español authenticity? I guess they couldn’t be bothered! Mediocre standards? I remember when Jorge Ramos of Univisión tried to question El Hombre Naranja/The Orange Man at a news conference during the septic 2016 presidential campaign. The arrogant, terribly ignorant and elementary schoolyard Bully Trump didn’t want to take a question from Jorge and told him to, “go back to Univisión” but unfortunately Trump — who seems to live under the illusion that he’s an authority on all matters — didn’t pronounce Univisión correctly and Jorge apparently didn’t want to make Trump look like the willfully-ignorant fool that he is, so he didn’t correct him. I would have corrected him by saying: “It’s Univisión (pronounced uniβiˈsjo̞n), por favor, basura.” Of course El Hombre Naranja wouldn’t have known what I said.

Mi amigo asked: Why was San Andrés (as in Falla de San Andrés = the San Andrés fault) that runs throughout América del Norte or North América changed to San Andréas? I’d like to know the answer to that myself. Why did English feel the need to add an extra “a” in there? English speakers can’t say San Andrés?

With español, I’ve noticed that the only thing that is not stripped/sanitised is the diacritical tilde (ñ). They seem to leave that alone for some reason. I’m not sure why that’s off-limits to the español-sanitisers. For those don’t know, the ñ is used for the word año, for example, which means year.

Also, that international “sharing-economy/ride-sharing” parasitic taxi company receiving terribly bad publicity these days and which goes by the name üb** — which is a word from Deutsch/German — writes that word incorrectly too. It’s supposed to be üb*r, not ub*r. One would think they would write their company’s name correctly, no? Why did los pendejos feel the need to sanitise that German word?

The hypocrisy here is that the “English-only” crowd with their misplaced superiority complex always demand and expect that their “precious English” be written perfectly even when used in a sentence of another language. Well, I’d like to inform the “English-only” basura that words from other languages are technically not correct without their accent marks and other markings. Therefore when writing them in an English sentence words from international languages should be written authentically retaining their accent marks, meaning as they would be written in a sentence from their original language.

There are those in the US who use words from other world languages but they don’t bother to use them correctly or with the correct spelling. For example (in this case from español again), some people write, “do they have the cajones [sic] to do it?” It’s cojones (with an o), not cajones.

“Foreigner” and “Foreign Country:” The Language of Ugly Nationalism

Finally, on another topic — which I know probably no one will agree with me on based on my previous experience — but directly related to language: There are those who insist on using the word “foreign” and “foreigner” instead of international. Why? Because that’s what people were taught probably as children and they’re not about to change. But what is “foreign” about a country? Is it “foreign” just because it’s outside of US borders? “Foreign” also usually implies something unknown. With the internet at one’s disposal, there’s no excuse today for one to not know something about any country that one is referring to or interested in, its people and cultures. And with borders — which have created that “foreign country” [sic] that people like to go on about — one is getting into nationalism. I support a world without borders and feel that people should be free to live where they want on Planet Earth because borders have caused nothing but problems around the world. Some of us feel that the word “foreign” is a pejorative word — despite its dictionary definition — rooted in a different era. Although the far-right/conservatives and some fake-liberals/fake-progressives reject this. They say they will continue to use the word “foreign” and “foreigner.” They don’t care who it offends. From my research, some schools and student programmes are aware that some people find the word “foreign” offensive and they have accordingly changed their names from Foreign Student Exchange Programme or School to International Student Exchange Student Programme or School. The corporate media are especially bad about using the word “foreign.” They constantly refer to “a foreign country” rather than saying “another country” or “an international country.” People also refer to “a foreign language” rather than “an international language” since all languages are of el mundo/the world or international. What’s “foreign” about a language? Is it because of one’s ignorance of said language? The corporate media have referred to El Hombre Naranja/The Orange Man’s current trip outside The Cesspool/The US/Los Estados Unidos as “his first foreign trip” rather than “his first international trip.” The latter sounds much better to me. All countries are international. Why does a country have to be labeled with the word “foreign?” Why can’t people call other people of the world “internationals” instead of “foreigners?” “Foreign” and “Foreigner” do not sound inclusive of other people. Both words sound exclusive and divisive (as in “us versus them”). Whereas the word “international” and “internationals” sounds very, very inclusive. But this doesn’t matter to most people. And I know most people are not going to start using this language I’ve suggested, because most people have been deeply programmed to use the language they currently use and they use that language out of habit, and they frankly don’t give a fuck about my suggestions. In fact, most people would attack me just for even suggesting this change — just as some people have attacked mi amigo/my friend when he’s suggested these same changes to people in YT video comments. All he got in response was adamant, 100% resistance and hate. As he told me from his experience: “Commenters responded to me as if I were asking them to change their own name! Such closed-minded people.” No one agreed with him because it meant that people would have to make changes within themselves. They would have to change their own behaviour in their own use of language. And I think we all know how that would turn out: Not. About. To. Happen. Chau.—el barrio rosa


Why are USans so afraid of other languages?

2 comments on “US-English Speakers Deliberately Disrespect International Languages

  1. Greg

    Hola, I like what you say. You challenge people’s thinking. You’re not supposed to do that in these dark time. Like you often say, “conform, obey.”

    Some websites use the word international when ordering stuff. I’m about to order a couple of shirts for myself and on their site they say “All international orders please contact us for faster processing.” It would sound peculiar to my ears if they had used the word foreign…..”All foreign orders…” :-(

    I rarely comment but as a longtime reader I enjoy reading your diary.


  2. D8

    You’re definitely a language person and nothing wrong with that. Don’t know what they’re doing in high schools now but when I was in high school we had to study “a foreign language.” That’s what they called it and I took French but didn’t do well in it. Agree it sounds better calling it an international language but like you say getting people to call it that will be an uphill battle. I’d probably do pretty well with French now. I enjoy hearing other languages spoken as we often do here in SF. Didn’t have the maturity in high school to do well in French.

Fin. The End.