The Corner


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.

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