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Having their say

May 13, 2008

Re "Pronunciation protocol," Opinion, May 7

If you write about pronunciation protocol, it makes sense to give correct guidelines and spelling.

Former U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold's first name is definitely not pronounced with a short "a," as in "bag" -- it's got a long, open "a," as in "car."

Furthermore, there should be two little dots over the "o" in his last name: "o" and "o" are different letters in the Swedish alphabet.

Lionel Beehner does not make it clear if the correct pronunciation of Iran is "I-Ran" or "ee-RON," or if Kabul is "KA-bul" or "Ka-BUL," or how the honorific "U" in U Thant's name should be pronounced.

It's too much to expect perfect pronunciation of all foreign words. My Swedish first name is almost never pronounced correctly in America, but as long as nobody says it should be mispronounced, I don't mind.

Bo Bengtson

Ojai

--

The writer missed a big one (at least to us Chinese readers): The mispronunciation of Beijing, the capital of China.

Many Americans choose to pronounce the "j" as the "g" in regime, instead of as the "j" in jingle or Jim, as it should be.

Strangely, many newscasters do too -- even when the Chinese person they are interviewing clearly pronounces it the correct way.

Ted Wu

Los Angeles

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