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!
|VAN||Jun Marques Davidson||Marques||Marcus||Marquez|
|DC||Dwayne De Rosario||De Rosario||dee roh-ZAIR-ee-oh|
|CLB||Kevan George||Kevan||KEE-vonn||Kevin / kuh-VONN|
|POR||Lovel Palmer||Lovel||LUH-vell||luh-VELL / LUV-ull|
|TFC||Joao Plata||Joao||JO-ow||rhymes w. wow|
|KC||Seth Sinovic||Sinovic||si-NOH-vick||si-NOH-vich / SIN-oh-vick|
|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? |