18 April 2012

Getting names right

One of the most important parts of preparing for a broadcast is researching how to pronounce everybody's name. Not just the starters; you have to know subs, reserves, coaches, trainers, and officials. I can't tell you how much time goes into trying to get names right ahead of time. Announcers read game notes, talk directly to club communications representatives, sound names out with each other, and try to make sure they're on the same page. Inevitably, however, we miss some, and it's one of the most embarrassing things that can happen when you realize the mistake.

I was calling the Disney Pro Soccer Classic this year, and we urged fans to interact with us via Twitter with comments, suggestions, and questions. Well, somebody corrected my pronunciation of Ashton Morgan, and I'm forever indebted to that gentleman!

One of the toughest parts of pronunciations is allowing for individual choices. English and American accents, for example, treat some names differently, and this crops up a lot with Hispanic names (Pérez, Martínez, etc.) Other players have become so Anglicized that they don't pronounce their names as their native compatriots would. For example, Jean Alexandre chose to go by "Gene Alexander," even though the French/Haitian pronunciation would be much different. Now that he's gone to "Jean-Marc," I'm hoping he's back to Haitian pronunciation, but I'm not sure.

The best device I've yet seen for this came last year, when Vancouver's communications department had an audio file of each player saying his own name. Can't get much clearer than that, right? Unfortunately, it still was confusing. In French, when a word begins with a vowel sound, the last consonant of the previous word is elided. So saying "Eric Hassli" in French makes the word "Hassli" sound different than when it's said alone, as it often is during a telecast. Still, hearing it from the players themselves was extremely helpful.

My favorite pronunciation story comes from Houston defender Andre Hainault. Try to follow this: When he arrived in 2009, players and coaches were calling him Andrew, but Canadian rosters listed his name as André. So we asked him, and he said his (English-speaking) mother calls him Andrew, so it was OK for him, too. Everybody pronounced his (French-speaking) father's last name HAY-nalt (not the French pronounciation), so we went with the Anglicized version. Seven months later, during an interview before a playoff game, he introduced himself as Andrew HAY-no, dropping the "lt" from the end of his last name. Apparently, that was the real pronounciation. I gave him a hard time and made the change for 2010.

Yet another year later, after the 2011 media guide had already gone to print, he informed me that he wanted to go by Andre instead of Andrew (but I could still call him Andrew.) To make things more confusing, he said there is no accent on the "e" in Andre on his birth certificate, so he spells it Andre rather than André. I've lost track of what FIFA, Canada, MLS, Elias, and Opta call him - probably a different name for each one!

Below you will find a list of MLS player names I have heard mispronounced on-air or (on only a few occasions, I think) have mispronounced myself. At the bottom are some I still don't know. Let me know if I've got one wrong or chime in with your own uncertain pronunciation!

Tm. Player Name CORRECT Incorrect
CLB Bernardo Añor Añor ah-NYOR AH-nor
MTL Davy Arnaud Arnaud AR-no AR-nawd
VAN Etienne Barbara Barbara bar-BARR-uh Barbara
HOU Will Bruin Bruin BREW-in broon
KC Julio Cesar Julio JOOL-ee-oh HOOL-ee-oh
COL Steward Céus Céus SAY-oose Soose
VAN Davide Chiumiento Davide DAH-vee-day David
NY Wilman Conde Conde CON-day CON-dee
KC Bobby Convey Convey CON-vee CON-vay
VAN Jun Marques Davidson Marques Marcus Marquez
DC Nick DeLeon DeLeon DAY-lay-ohn duh-LAY-onn
DC Dwayne De Rosario De Rosario dee roh-ZAIR-ee-oh day roh-ZAR-ee-oh
NE Benny Feilhaber Feilhaber FAIL-hah-ber FAIL-hay-ber
CLB Kevan George Kevan KEE-vonn Kevin / kuh-VONN
SEA Michael Gspurning Gspurning guh-SHPOOR-ning Spurning
HOU Andre Hainault Hainault Hay-no HAY-nalt
VAN Eric Hassli Hassli OSS-lee HASS-lee
TFC Doneil Henry Doneil duh-NEAL don-YELL
SEA Patrick Ianni Ianni ee-AHN-ee eye-AHN-ee
FCD Ugo Ihemelu Ugo OO-go YOU-go
CHV Ante Jazic Jazic JAZZ-ick JAH-zich
SEA Adam Johansson Johansson yo-HAHN-sun jo-HAHN-sun
TFC Milos Kocic Kocic KOH-sich KOH-sick
SEA Roger Levesque Levesque luh-VECK lev-es-cue
TFC Keith Makubuya Makubuya muh-KOO-bee-uh MACK-uh-BOO-yuh
PHI Josué Martinez Josué hoh-soo-WAY Jose
PHI Josué Martinez Martinez mar-TEEN-ez MARTIN-ez
COL Pablo Mastroeni Mastroeni mass-tro-ENN-ee MASS-tree-ahn-ee
TFC Ashtone Morgan Ashtone Ashton ASH-toan
PHI Danny Mwanga Mwanga muh-WONG-uh muh-WANG-uh
MTL/NE Sanna/Sainey Nyassi Nyassi nye-AH-see nee-AH-see
HOU Oscar Recio Recio REH-see-oh reh-SEE-oh
POR Lovel Palmer Lovel LUH-vell luh-VELL / LUV-ull
FCD Blas Pérez Pérez PEAR-ezz puh-REZ
TFC Joao Plata Joao JO-ow rhymes w. wow
NE Tyler Polak Polak pole-ock Pollock
COL Martín Rivero Martín mar-TEEN MAR-tin
VAN Alain Rochat Rochat roe-SHOT roe-SHAY
KC Seth Sinovic Sinovic si-NOH-vick si-NOH-vich / SIN-oh-vick
RSL Álvaro Saborío Saborío sah-boh-REE-oh suh-BOOR-ee-oh
SEA Christian Sivebaek Sivebaek SEE-veh-beck SIVE-bye-eck
NY Teemu Tainio Tainio TAIN-ee-oh tye-EE-nee-oh
VAN Russell Teibert Teibert TYE-bert Tee-bert
RSL Sebastian Velasquez Velasquez vuh-LASS-qwez vuh-LASS-kez
FCD Ricardo Villar Villar VEE-lar vee-YAR
PHI Sheanon Williams Sheanon SHANE-in Shannon
SJ Chris Wondolowski Wondolowski WAN-duh-LAO-skee WAN-duh-LOFF-skee

Finally, here are some I often wonder about but haven't settled.
Tm. Player Name Options
TFC Eric Avila Avila AH-vee-luh or ah-VEE-luh? depends on A vs. Á
SJ Jean-Marc Alexandre Jean-Marc Jhawn (French) or Gene?
SJ Jean-Marc Alexandre Alexandre aleg-ZAHn-druh or Alexander?
FCD Jair Benitez Jair JYE-eer or HI-eer? (also applies to Jair Marrufo)
POR Diego Chara Chara char-AH? or CHAR-uh? depends on a vs. á
KC Aurelien Collin Aurelien oh-reh-lee-ENN (French) or aw-REE-lee-in?
KC Aurelien Collin Collin coh-LAN (French) or Colin?
TFC Danny Koevermans Koevermans KOO or KOE at beginning and mins or mans at the end?
POR James Marcelin Marcelin mar-suh-LAN (French) or mar-suh-lee-in?
POR Hanyer Mosquera Hanyer HAHN-yerr or hahn-YAIR?
CHI Patrick Nyarko Nyarko nee-AH-ko confirmed; still hard not to say nee-ARK-oh
MTL Sinisa Ubiparipovic Ubiparipovic ich or ick?
MTL Zarek Valentin Zarek ZAIR-ik or ZARR-ek?
MTL Zarek Valentin Valentin Valentin or Valenteen? is there an accent on the i?

1 comment:

  1. Great stuff, Yardley. I've been pronouncing half of these wrong for quite some time.