Attention Pam Shriver, Tennis Announcer

:? When you broadcast for us please take the few minutes to learn pronunciation of player names. Ask a coach, ask a player. It is called homework. ESPN had a show where young people competed to be real sports announcers. The station boss said” “One thing is totally unacceptable, mispronouncing names.” In golf they go to trouble to get Olazabal correct. But you are amateurish and act like it is really hard. No just you. There is no player named Zuh Vonarayva. There is no player named Duh Menteeyayva. In her name after T there is a soft sign “myakhi znak” that has you pallatize, soften the T, moving your tongue up to roof of mouth. If adds small trace of y glide. Ask her. You come across lazy and like Americans who care nothing about foreign stuff. But this tour is mostly not US players, Ms Shriver. Sometimes you just laugh when giving up pronouncing a Euro name. We must listen to this for an hour or more, accent on wrong syllable, wrong consonant sound, added sounds, dropped syllables. It gets so bad when you go over a draw and butcher name after name.


I agree totally. And, I think all U.S. citizens should speak English without a trace of accent. Mr. Schwarzenegger, are you listening?

Some people can't help the way they speak, Petra. Our accents are ingrained in us from the time we learn to speak. Being American doesn't necessarily make one bad or ignorant any more than being of Austrian birth makes Arnold Schwarzenegger the same. The movie going public can see past his accent, I think the tennis viewing public can probably do the same for Pam Shriver.


Well, it's very difficult to speak with no accent and very often foreign names are difficult to pronounce. It goes both ways. I mean Russians also pronounce Roddick, Federer, Clijsters in a way that is much different from the originals. I think it's o'k for an anouncer to apologize beforehand and then to pronounce them how he/she can.


Hall of Fame
It's ridiculous to expect non-native speakers to regularly produce the phonology of a language they've never had the benefit of internalizing. In fact, psychologically native speakers *can't* reproduce the sounds of a foreign phonological system regularly. (We can mimic but not articulate fully.) Would it be fair to berate you for not pronouncing the click in Quetzalcoatl?

I agree that the American announcers could at least try to get the stress on the right syllable and shoot for more continental vowels in foreign names (instead of schwa-ing all the unstressed vowels). But you can't fault them for not palatizing certain consonants, or pronouncing the r's "incorrectly", or nativizing certain vowels. Do you think foreigners ever pronounce the American "r" in "Roddick" and "Taylor" like we do? No, and we shouldn't expect them to, since it's a completely atypical sound in the languages of the world.


It is something you can learn though.. don't the commentators know the players? As in, have contact with them?



I agree with Marneex.

An effort in this regard would definitely demonstrate a greater respect than does taking the easy route with a "what the hell" attitude, combined with indifferent laughter.

Pam is generally an articulate individual. I doubt that it's beyond her capacity to ask the players for their pronunciations, and then make the effort to learn them. Even if she doesn't get them all down perfectly, an honest effort would be a good thing.

And it's not just Shriver, either...


Hall of Fame
Don't European broadcasts of tournaments use European broadcasters, or are you stuck with American announcers? If you're stuck with it, live with it or turn the sound down and STFU. Or, complain directly to the network that Shriver works for-I'm sure they would give your grievance their complete and undivided attention.


Hey Phil, is Pam a part of your family? I mean both of you are so ignorant there has to be a connection...Nobody is acusing Pam of being American (I am one too) just ignorant and unprofessional!
Gee... I haven't looked at these boards in a while and first time back I get a wakeup dose of Petra Martinnen!!! Are you always mad or do you take time off? 8)

Anyway, I kind of agree that broadcasters who butcher peoples names seem unprofessional to a degree. I can equally imagine, however, the awful job that people in say, Japan or India, do of pronouncing some of the western names. One thing great is if you don't like Pam Shriver you can always hit the "off button" and go out and play some tennis which is more fun than watching anyway.