People pick up odd pronunciations depending on where they live. Bostonians drop their Rs, Upper Midwesterners turn ‘th’ into ‘d’, and Californians just add “dude” to everything … er … dude. Usually, though, people stick to one pronunciation, which makes President Obama somewhat of a curiosity. Take a listen to this recent press conference with Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan — or is it Pockeeston?
Let me help you out. Note that Obama gives a Middle Eastern inflection for every single instance and variation of “Pakistan”, but reverts back to American English for “Afghanistan”:
Can we get one or the other? Either go with “Off-gon-ee-ston” with “Pock-ee-ston”, or just say “Pakistan” and “Afghanistan” the way we say it here. The latter might not be worldly enough for Obama, and the former might seem a little pompous, but mixing the two sounds idiotic. (h/t: HA reader Peter M)
Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.
Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!