Friday, August 15, 2008

What is in a name? Say it right!

Now that there is a tropical storm about to be named, I thought I would address a pet peeve. I know you are not the complaint department, but here goes! Just humor me. I know that NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (what a mouthful), was well intentioned when they started giving tropical storms diversified names. These were meant to reflect not only the US population but also the places these natural phenomena rendezvous, namely the Caribbean and the Pacific where various languages are spoken. The only thing they weren't counting on was how some TV people would massacre the names by mispronouncing them, thus defeating their purpose of establishing good will.

How do I know this? Simply take the name Cristobal, our most recent tropical storm. I recall listening to the weather person and the news anchor at CNN, mispronounce Cristobal so many times, I had to change the channel. It happened day after day. After a while, it seemed deliberate, but how could they not have been aware of how many people they were alienating? It's Cris to' bal (stress the to), not Cristo ball, like they pronounced it. Was it their fault, or do these lists not come with a pronunciation guide from NOAA's office, especially for the news media which disseminates the information? And the media, has no excuse; they have plenty of well paid multilingual personnel working for them that should be watching out for this sort of thing. Fortunately, the next tropical storm is a three letter word, Fay ; even a kindergartener can read.

Why was I so miffed? Cristobal is the Spanish version of Christopher as in Cristobal Colon (Christopher Columbus) too. And more importantly it's my father's middle name.

1 comment:

Ana said...

I agree with you. It drives me batty.