The Corner

Pok-Ee-Stahn

I guess Obama thinks he’s being clever by pronouncing the name of the country as “Pok-ee-stahn” rather than the standard English pronunciation. But he’s not. He’s not even being consistent within his own sentences, because he pronounces Afghanistan in the usual manner. Nor is it likely that he’s going to try to emulate native pronunciations of France, Deutchland, Eire, etc. Basically, he sounds snooty and perhaps even vaguely appeasing of a foreign power. Viewers will be put off by his verbal tick.

Back in college, while spending a semester in DC, I dated a young lady from Pakistan. She used to laugh at the way Americans pronounced the name of her country. I said that since her version of the “United States” was heavily accented, I thought it might be a good rule for her to learn how to pronounce the proper name country she was visiting before complaining about Americans speaking English rather than Urdu.

The relationship didn’t last.

John Hood is a syndicated columnist and the president of the John William Pope Foundation, a North Carolina–based grantmaker.

Most Popular

Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Defaces Its Façade

The facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, designed by Richard Morris Hunt in 1902, contains four large niches that might display sculpture but have traditionally been left empty. This was prudent good taste on the Met's part, since sculpture on buildings is a tricky business that few artists in our age of ... Read More
Elections

Story Time with David Brooks

His latest column imagines a future in which Elizabeth Warren wins the next presidential election. Warren won convincingly. The Democrats built a bigger majority in the House, and to general surprise, won a slim Senate majority of 52 to 48. After that election, the Republicans suffered a long, steady decline. ... Read More