Friday

What's the right way to say Qatar?

Qatar is a word you will hear pronounced all kinds of different ways. It's been in the news a lot lately since it was announced December 2nd that it will host the 2022 Soccer World Cup. There's really no way to say it correctly with an accent other than the Arabic one since it has 3 letters that aren't in English, but you can get close.

6 comments:

Jaz said...

The 3rd (ر) letter is found in Scottish English haha, we always roll our 'r's :) Being scottish makes Arabic a little easier I'd say. We have خ (kh) and everyone here speaks french so we have a little headstart on (غ).

Thanks for the video :)

Linguist said...

Yesterday, I emailed a TV news organization “complaining” about how their newscasters were pronouncing Qatar.

In one specific case, the guy was pronouncing it like the English word GUTTER, you know, that channel on the sides of roads that carries off rainwater and other things.

Most, however, were pronouncing it KatAAR, with the accent on the final syllable like in the English word guiTAR (although Southerners – people who live in the deep South of the USA – will often say GEEtar with the accent on the first syllable.)

I can’t expect these newscaster to be able to pronounce the Arabic Qaf or the hard Ta, but it seems to me they should at least stress the correct syllable.

(Linguistically speaking, syllable stress makes a huge difference in most languages in getting native speakers to understand you. You can mess up the pronunciation of individual letters and still be understood, but if you get the STRESS wrong, (even if you have the sounds right), you cut down your understanding level by at least 50%)

Stress in Arabic dialects is also crucial and quite tricky.

Saudis, for example, will say MAdrasa with the stress on the 1st syllable MA, whereas Egyptians have the stress on the 2nd syllable maDRAsa. Verb stress is the trickiest of all, of course. MA3ndi, stress on 1st syllable (Saudi) and ma3nDEESH, stress on 2nd syllable (Egypt).

PS: I also “chewed out” the TV news organization for their laughable pronunciation of the Spanish letter J.

Many of the newscasters regularly pronounce this letter as in English Joke, so I was hearing the very common name JUAN (which is “John” in English) pronounced the hilarious juuANN.

Of course, the letter “J” in Spanish is ALWAYS pronounced like an “H”so that “John” in English is pronounced HWAN in Spanish. English “George” in Spanish “Jorge” is pronounced HORhe, etc etc.

There’s a Mexican border town called CIUDAD JUAREZ, also often in the news.

This was coming out like CHEE-UU-DAD JOO-ARE-IZ (totally unrecognizable) whereas it should be SEE-YOU- DAD HWArez. (C in Spanish is usually pronounced as S….sometimes as K…. but NEVER as CH ……(Spanish is not Italian!!).

Seems to me international news organizations should train their newscaster to at least pronounce proper names so that they are at least recognizable, especially in such widespread languages as Arabic and Spanish.

Anonymous said...

love this. test: will write more if i can get figure how to post...

Debbie Hoy said...

So after all that crap, how the hell do you pronounce Qatar?

Anonymous said...

I have always pronounced it "ka-TAR". That's the way I learned it as a child, and I'm sticking with it! I'll never say "cutter".

Michael Blackburn, Sr said...

Most say cutter, Hillary calls it gutter...