Saturday, August 19, 2006

Pronounciation 101

Being a reporter or anchor in this market can be pretty difficult when it comes to pronouncing things. There's plenty of last names with more Ys and Zs than you can shake a fist at. Then, you have places like Throop (troop), Schuylkill (skool-kill), Mocanaqua (mock-uh-naw-quh), Susquehanna (sus-kwuh-ha-nuh), Shenandoah (shen-in-dough-uh), and other tricky tounge twisters. Many reporters, especially rookies from elsewhere, slip up on these words. I can't say I blame them.

But what if you mispronounce a name on a big national story? Well, just ask WNEP's Rosa Yum. On tonight's Newswatch 16 at 10 newscast, she pronounced JonBenet Ramsey's name as john-bennett. Even worse was that the following story correctly pronounced it as john-buh-nay.

The lesson? If you don't know how to pronounce it, ask. Otherwise, you look like an idiot who doesn't know what's going on.


Blogger Tom Carten said...

In our little studio, for our little program, I keep a sheet with local pronunciations. If we can do it, the Proud To Serves and the On Your Sides (plus whatever 22 is) can keep a local sheet posted, with an additional "currently running stories" addendum. If you are too proud to ask, then you deserve to look like an idiot.

10:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rosa Yum is an intelligent woman who knows many languages. She struggles with English at times, but blowing a name that's been in the news for years is unbelievable.

10:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paola Giangiacomo, call for you on 1

10:57 PM  
Blogger Hairy Carrot said...

The amount of press coverage this head case is getting is unreal. Everyone in the media needs to take a deep breath and let the DNA results come in. In the meantime, spend more time on things that actually affect my life, losers.

11:17 PM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

Dear Mr. Carrot:

The thread is about pronunciation, not two sentences in one post.

"In the meantime, spend more time on things that actually affect my life, losers."

Judging by your blog, what affects your life would not pass the moderator's standards here. WE are not the losers, Bub.

12:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rosa Yum, another great Dennis Fisher hire.

1:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

valid points...but aren't we all human? newscasters aren't some prototypical being that can pronounce every last word/name/shitty town around.
I'm pretty positive no matter what was said (and how it was said)...the viewer knew she was talking about a dead blonde girl.
hairy carrot's right, and if one more "journalist" decides the jonbenetramseyjohnmarkkarr story is what the viewer wants...then they're sorely mistaken.

prove me wrong

3:35 AM  
Blogger David Yonki said...

I switched from Rosa to see WYOU's news. Laurie Monteforte was doing the news. Good presentation, nice tone, no pronunciation error, very photogenic. However when she went to introduce the new weather guy, she couldn't (it seemed to me) remember his last name. so she gave him the intro, "and here's our brett in the weather center".
i can understand drawing a blank but write the guys name down somewhere.
One more note while I'm here, did anyone see the WBRE news I Team promotional ad? Very well done except (in my opinion) the end where they have a shot of Andy, Amy and Joe staring out into the camera. It reminded me of the end of those Dragnet episodes where the criminals stood in front of a back drop while the announcer read their sentances. A little movement from the I Team trio would have been nice.

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was the Rosa screw-up in a package she did or in a live toss or tag for a package? If it was in a package it's even more sad because who ever edited the piece should have picked up on the error when he or she was recording Rosa's voice track.

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe if people stopping naming their kids such new 'trendy' names no one would mess them up. How many newscasters would goof up 'Mary' or 'Sue'? So what if this has been on the news for years? It's not a normal name for a little girl! It seems to me anyone who is multi-lingual would struggle with this. Strange names seem to be preferred; strange pronunciations should be expected.

2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't know Rosa Yum, but I'm gonna cut the kid some slack.

Anchoring isn't heavy lifting, but anyone who has sat behind an anchor desk can think of a time when a light exploded, the cameras crashed into each other, the cub scout troop was being ushered in for the tour and the producer was shouting in your ear, "Drop all the odd-numbered pages, read only the evens" just as the red light was coming on.

Tongue-tied is different from ignorant. As I said, I don't know the lady, but my guess is she knows who jon-ben-NAY was. Or is it zhon-ben-NAY?

By the way: is it muh-REESE-uh, or muh-RISS-uh?

6:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post here Howard. This market really needs smart reporters who are willing to do the legwork and research to help themselves out, as opposed to expecting everything to get handed to them.

Hey "hairy carrot", if you don't like it, no one's forcing you to watch.

9:48 PM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

9:48 said: Hey "hairy carrot", if you don't like it, no one's forcing you to watch.

Not only is no one forcing him to watch, but he couldn't if he wanted to. He lives in North Carolina and is trolling.

12:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never liked her writing or her stilted English.

Oh well... There's always Julie Sadoni who once spoke of BB's as BEE-BEE-ESS...and Paul Grippi who has a difficult time gripping sports prononunciations.

4:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a reporter, I learned early on that the first thing you do in ANY market you work in is to learn the "lingo" of the locals -- take the time to learn the pronounciations of various towns, cities, even businesses that might have an odd name (but may be still be rather newsworthy). In all the markets I've worked in, there hasn't been one without a few odd names or pronounciations (even street names). It's always good to even drive around a bit to get more familiar with the area. All this should have been covered in Journalism 101, but I'll get off my soapbox for now...

9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quite a few years ago, I worked at a bank here in Scranton. One day I received a call from some lender out in California. I can't remember the reason for the call, but the woman aked for something in the city of Car-bahn-da-lay.

Never before and never again have I heard such an elegant mis-pronunciation of Carbondale.

Our department laughed about it for days.

Onwards to the Pocono's -- how many times have we all left the Crossings, gotten on to 80 West and snickered like a 12 year-old at the sign directing us towards Scrotum (Scotrun).

11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the 193rd time...

"OMG! Ryan Leckey is so hot! We love you Sherman! God Bless Scott and Julie. Go Joe! If you don't like how Rosa says something change the channel. Hurry back Kim. WNEP Rocks!"

Channel 16 could present a newscast of belching, and stammering and shit that looks like it was done at the Columbia-Montour Vo Tech A-V Club and no one would care.

Threads pointing out flaws in the WNEP presentation might work in our little world but Mrs. Wrczyczyczynczyk doesn't give a flap.

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My first job on-air came up with a test from the ND on pronunciation of cities and towns in the viewing area. That was 100 markets back and a hell of an organized thing to do.

You can blame the reporter or anchor, but I prefer to blame the ass-backwards managers for pulling the bar down to the ground.

To the poster, a couple posts back... "stilted English!" What an excellent description of this anchor's abilities. I've been brainstorming for months to describe her half-balanced delivery.

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too chuckle when the outsider's jackknife the Throop's, Carbondale's, Tunkhannock's and Susquehanna's of the area and goff at the Scotrun's, Intercourse's and Blue Ball's of the area. But if your are involved in any way in this market be it print, radio or media, in order for anyone to take you seriously you have to know the correct pronunciations of area streets, roads and schools. On the one side, I say cut Rosa Yum some slack. She's an intelligent human being and an asset to 16. Clearly she is a ESL speaker (points to those who know what ESL stands for) and for that she'll slip up on a few words here and there and dangle participles like we all do on occassion, we as native speakers of the language almost wait for someone like Yum to slip up on a word. On the other side however, it is a national story (that I am sick of hearing of already) and she should have gotten it right...

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't blame the anchors for some of the mis-pronounciations. How in God's name did "Throop" become "Troop" anyway?

I've heard the Car-bohn-de-lay thing myself, but I think the best was someone who was going up to "Bimington" in NY.

Finally, is the town over the river from Hanover called Plymouth, or Plimmit?

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let us not forget our radio brothers and sisters...

One radio chicklit at WKOK once refered to Lititz as if it were the town of French breasts...luh-TIHTS.

Ahhh... Good times...

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Rosa Yum did mispronounce one name while anchoring Saturday. I hardly call that struggling with English. How many anchors give perfect presentations? If you watched her on Sunday night, she said it right. Which means she LEARNED from her mistake. Unlike one of the anchors who keeps calling her Rosa YOUNG instead of YUM. She's been there a year now, so why doesn't anyone comment about that?

11:19 PM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

4:35 wondered: How did "Throop" become "Troop"? Is the town over the river from Hanover called Plymouth, or Plimmit?

I worked with a woman spelled Throop, pronounced Troop, so perhaps the place is named for a person. Plimmit, like Shendo and Manny City, is for locals only. But all the old timers went to Sooey for a good time and they got there on the San Sooey Parkway, no matter how their high school French teacher said to pronounce San Souci.

Around here, you really do need a guide, especially if you are looking for an address in Mountain Top, only to find that it exists as nothing more than a post office building.

Anyone know where "Back of the Mountain" is??

12:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


"...if "your are" involved in the media?

On "occassion"

And what does "goff" mean?

Try using a spellcheck or grammar check program before you enter a discussion of broadcasting gaffes.

I'd hate for outsiders to think someone with your communications skills represents our business.

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Scranton Girl said...

I love the logo for the river fest - "Dunk Your Fanny In The Susquehanny". It's just too fun to say.

"Plimmit" cracked me up - thanks.

"Bing-ming-ton" and "EE-non"

Is it "Mon-tross" or

"Homesdale" is another one - my husband says that all the time (and I wanna smack him.)

The everpresent "Arch-a-bald" and "Nanny-coke".

and Wapwallopen and Conshohocken - just because they are fun to say (if you can say them correctly.)

Heyna?? er no?

9:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding Throop and Plymouth...the ethnic makeup of those towns was comprised of Eastern Europeans who weren't any good at the "Th" dipthong. Throop became Troop and Plymouth comes out Plimmit because the settlers couldn't say the th combo properly.

I herd dat at da Plimmit Ute Asossyashen

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Conshohocken --- let us not forget her neighbor Bala Cynwyd.

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, if you can't poke fun at yourself, what good is it getting up in the morning.

"Homesdale" is actually a new one on me! Thanks.

Scranton is "Scra-un", Bloomsburg is "Blumsburg", and don't forget the every popular "is it Swoyers ville or Swoyerville" debate.

Mountaintop, or Mountain Top is indeed strange. Can you find Rita or Albert (the towns, not the people)?

"I herd dat at da Plimmit Ute Asossyashen". I still haven't stopped laughing over that one...

2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget about Chamokin...err, Shamokin. Just mentioning the name makes me long for a loaded hot dog from da Coney.


8:20 PM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

2:26 Scranton is "Scra-un."

Britishism. Scra-un, Moun-un-top. Middle to lower-class Brit; they save the "t" for 4pm.

9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to guess that none of the people complaining here about Rosa Yum's broken English have ever seen even ONE MINUTE of Andy Mehalshick. That guy can't even pronounce his OWN name and it's in his native tongue.

Hazeton? Studts? (students)?

He couldn't talk his way out of a wet paper bag.

At least Rosa is on her second or third language. (AM would say, "secint or tird langage").

9:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if we are allowed to expand this to household appliances – I said to friends from Florida once that I had to “run the sweeper” at the home I was staying in at the time and got the strangest look from them, and don’t know why...

10:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I listed all the mispronunciations, misspelled words, and incorrect grammar spoken or written by anchors and reporters in this market (not to mention the newspapers) it would use up all the memory in this blog...
and most, if not all, of those mistakes were made by people who grew up and were educated in the United States.
Criticizing a person who only has an occasional chance to anchor for one mispronunciation?
Come on "diverse" Northeastern Pennsylvania. Do I sense some prejudice in these comments?

11:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


At last, a compatriot!

Ever hear Andy pronounce "just because"? "Jipbecuz"

I believe he's a great guy with a strong love of his job and the area, but he simply is not suited for an anchor position.

Listen closely to Joe Holden. He's pretty close to Andy...

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh - the poster who talked about mis-spoken things other than by on-air personalities got me to thinking.

I have to go to the corpse house. (view a dead body)

I have to go to get the order. (weekly gro-shery a/k/a grocery shopping)

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I may add my two-cents worth, I am so sick of hearing "Ly-comb-ing". It makes me visibly wince. Lycoming county natives pronounce it "Ly-come-ing".

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Jeet?" "No, jew?"

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey 8:41,

Not feeling ya on that one. One's a reporter who rarely screws up and the other is an anchor, who rarely screws up, but speaks in a different dialect. Viewers like Andy because on the surface, he's one of them... a Hazleton boy made good.

I'm sorry I'm not a compatriot... let's demilitarize here just a little.

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

-- Channel 16 could present a newscast of belching, and stammering and shit that looks like it was done at the Columbia-Montour Vo Tech A-V Club and no one would care.---

Someone in the group lept uncontrollably into the truth...

The next new hires at Channel 50 could not only come from Columbia - Montour Tech... but how 'bout the kids at Central Columbia.

Central already has a closed circuit TV channel up and running... and they could do da nooze.

Hell... Nexstar wouldn't have to pay them, since they could work as unpaid interns....

What a frickin' concept!!!

1:41 PM  
Anonymous scranton girl said...

People who correctly spell their mis-spoken words really irritate me. I cringe every time I see these words.

prolly (probably)
libary (library)
febuary (february)

... among others

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeez, I could just go new-cue-lar here!

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm getting in on this a little late, but let me ask; do we know with certainty that English is a second language with Yum? I always got the impression that she was raised speaking English.

And about that I-Team promo. Four shadows, three names. Typical WBRE promotions department stupidity. All I see are three people identified who are taking themselves way too seriously. Chief Investigator? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ever heard Andy introduce "Drill Knopka"? You'll fall out of your chair laughing! Partly because he's so bad, and partly because he's still on the air.

He's DEFINITELY not suited to be 28's main anchor. He's painful to listen to. Recently there was speculation as to who would be fired next, it should be HIM. At least from anchoring. He DRIVES ME AWAY from their news.

12:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Ever hear Andy say 'psghetti'? (Beavis laugh)"

I have never heard Andy say jipbecuz or Drill Konopka, though I will agree with you on Holden.

Your sophomoric complaints have grown tired.

5:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jill drives me away

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys ever hear Andy Mehalshick try to say "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers?" WTF is up with that? He sounds like he's from Hazen or someplace. Doing the 6 the other night he tried to say "She sells ships in the city" but it didn't come out right.

I mean, he's likeable and all, and a local guy, but to hear him stammering thru "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood" is painful.

I posted this jipbecuz I think someone's taking childish potshots at him.

5:03 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home