Sunday, August 19, 2007

It's Doe-min-EEK-a, dammit...


Hurricane Season is once again upon us. Meaning, it's time for TV and radio folk to mangle the pronunciation of Caribbean islands. And no island gets more mangling than Dominica, the lovely lush outpost which sits between Martinique and Gaudeloupe, and is way too often confused with the Dominican Republic.

As Hurricane Dean began belting its way through the Caribbean Friday, one of the announcers on the sports radio station I was listening to was talking about the high winds that were already hitting Dominica (which he pronounced "Dum-IN-ica.") He went onto say something like: "I really hope it doesn't blow away all those good ball players the major leagues get from down there."

OK, it was sports radio. But he's still a dumbass. All those good ball players come from the D.R., which shares the island of Hispanola with Haiti, not Dominica, which is properly and more lyrically pronounced as "Doe-min-EEK-a," a fact that seems lost on anchors at CNN, MSNBC and other networks where I heard mangled versions over the last few days. To my knowledge, Dominica has never produced a major leaguer, its most famous export being the best version of bay rum on the market, the stuff you splash on after showering, not the stuff you drink, although I suppose, in a pinch, you could mix it with lime juice and catch a little buzz.

It's probably a hopeless cause to educate broadcasters on the right way to pronounce Dominica. So maybe the island should revert to its original name. The Arawaks who once lived there called it Wai'tu kubuli, meaning "tall is her body."

Whatever they were drinking, I want some of it.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bob,so glad your back.Time waits for no heels. (I don't why I quoted that). Keep up the good work. Are you writing any articles ?

Jimmy g said...

Yes Bob, I agree with Mister, Miss or Misses anonymous. It's good to have you back. I think another island name gets trashed quite often. That would be Antigua. The folks in my neck of the woods all want to pronounce it as AnteeGWA.

Bob said...

And then there's Grenada. For some reason, folks want to fancify it, like that place in Spain, and call it 'Grin-odd-a" when it's really "Grin-aid-a."

And Tobago. You say "Tuh-bog-o," I say "Tuh-bay-go."