08 September 2005

'Say it right!'

While I'm still in fire-breathing, inveNctive-spouting mode, I'd like to address another problem rampant in our beloved homeland.

As is the case with most Engrish-related trouble, it is most acute amongst our Mat Salleh celup people. 'Say it right!'

Never mind that I can (and do), but the main function of any word in any language is to be understood. If I can be understood, what does it matter if the pronunciation is 'wrong?'

Take a look at the list below:

Halley: Haw-ley/Hay-ley
Raleigh: Raw-ley/ Ral-lay
Razaleigh: Ra-za-ley/ Ra-za-li
Leigh: Lay/Li

Malaysian pronunciation (i.e. WRONG) is followed in each case by the 'correct' way of saying it. For a bunch of people who take great pride in listing the long string of titles for the assorted dignitaries at any function, we're not much good at saying the names right. I ask the 'say it right'/Mat Salleh celups again, does this matter?

While we do not 'wee,' things to find out how heavy they are and horses 'nay', the unstable ground that is the English language makes it dificult to guess what the pronunciation for any word ought to be. A quick search through various media reveals that both the above pronunciations are in widespread use for each word.

Edmund Halley, for whom the comet is named, won't roll over in his grave just because people homophonize his name with that of Bill Haley and his Comets. Great music, wrong pronunciation but who cares?

The fate of one Sir Walter Raleigh may prove instructive to those who insist on the 'correct' way of saying his name and that of a bicycle company sharing it: he was beheaded.

Several local news readers and journalists have used the first pronunciation for the name of our very own Tengku Razaleigh. However, the local populace have referred to the MP for Gua Musang as Ku Li. Again, everyone understands, whether or not we refer to Tengku RazaLI.

Film buffs, who really ought to know better, have lectured me on Gone With the Wind and its Lead Actress, one Vivien Leigh. It is amusing to see people shifting between the two pronunciations, obviously unsure as to which one to use.

Say it right indeed.... Should we care?

Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn....


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