Wednesday, January 03, 2007

More on last names at NPR: Jose Padilla

A bunch of linguistics blogs -- Language Log, Phonoloblog and this little forum -- dealt with the issue of pronouncing Pinochet's name, including National Public Radio's handling of it. This morning, as part of a story on Jose Padilla, the American held as an enemy combatant, they went into a little detail about switching from Padi[l]a to Padi[j]a: He apparently earlier used the Anglicized pronounciation in court, but his lawyer has now says he prefers the latter one, more Spanish-like in that regard.

Unsurprisingly, the NPR announcer still used an aspirated p and a lax [ɪ] rather than a tense [i]. I'd figure this is a minimal reflection of Spanish. Using a tense vowel would be the next step toward Spanish and no ordinary English speaker would produce this with an unaspirated stop.

Like with that of the Chilean dictator, the story behind the point about language is a bleak one.

UPDATE: Just finally had a chance to relisten and they DID use a tense [i] -- that's what happens when you write before you've had coffee, for Mr. Verb, at least.

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