A job for the BBC Pronunciation Unit

The BBC has had a special department dedicated to the subject of pronunciation in one form or other since its establishment.

“The BBC’s Pronunciation Unit is part of Information and Archives. It consists of a specialist team that advises the whole of the BBC on the pronunciation of any word, name or phrase in any language.”

That includes Hebrew, as we see below:



Indeed, Hebrew stress does often fall on the last syllable and so it has been rather surprising of late to hear (for example here from 06:16) BBC journalists referring to the Go-lan Heights rather than the Golan with a short ‘o’ and the stress on the second syllable. 

Perhaps the team at the Pronunciation Unit could have a word…

Have readers noticed any other pronunciation bugbears in BBC coverage? 


16 comments on “A job for the BBC Pronunciation Unit

  1. Si-ni-ai instead of Si-nai, that well known peninsular Israel graciously gave to Egypt as part of a Replacement Imperialism policy for diminishing returns.

  2. “Indeed, Hebrew stress does often fall on the last syllable and so it has been rather surprising of late to hear (for example here from 06:16) BBC journalists referring to the Go-lan Heights rather than the Golan with a short ‘o’ and the stress on the second syllable.”

    Perhaps it had escaped your attention that the Golan Heights are Syrian not Israeli – so Hebrew pronunciation rules scarcely apply.

    • Then why didn’t they use Arabic; as in Arabic, the Golan would be pronounced “Ju-lan”(with the velar G; transcending into the post-alveolar “Djh”)?
      Face it, you don’t know what you’re talking about. And, with Israeli control over — and annexation of — the Golan Heights, it’s only reasonable that the BBC learn how Israelis pronounce it, properly, in Hebrew.
      Instead they’ve given us what is by all accounts a particularly poor Englishtransliteration.

      • Same way they didn;t use Arabic when pronuncing Palestine, but they can;t do that in arabic because ther is no P in arabic.

        • Balastine” is indeed very amusing.
          They were afraid, I guess, that listeners wouldn’t be able to restrain themselves from laughing :D.

    • “Golan heights are Syrian”. Not any more, they’re not, matey. Israel captured the area in the 1967 six-day war and subsequently annexed it.

  3. Nothing to do with Hebrew but the BBC regularly mispronounces Russian names. It’s SharApova, not SharapOva, AbrAmovich, not AbramOvich, and so on.

  4. Olmert ? Was he not the guy who killed hundreds of Palestinian civilians to get reelected in 08-09? I know how Id pronounce it.

    • And the nearly 12,000 rockets Palestinian terrorists fired at Israel, killing and wounding scores, before Olmert decided to put an end to that?
      Would you know how to pronounce that, scumbag?

      • There was a ceasefire. For 3 months not a single missile was fired It was broken on election day 4/11/08 when Hamas leaders were assassinated specifically to give a Olmert an excuse to start the war.I know how to pronounce war mongering buffoon

        • No Rockets, huh?!

          Rocket and mortar attacks continued at a rate of several rockets per month. Shortly after the start of the truce, the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center commented that “rogue terrorist organizations” opposed to Hamas continued to carry out attacks.

          This is from HRW(hardly pro-Israel):

          We recognize that until last week Hamas took efforts to halt rocket attacks by other groups as part of the 19 June ceasefire. However, throughout the ceasefire period other armed groups have continued to intermittently fire rockets from Gaza. As the governing authority in the Gaza Strip, it is your responsibility under international law to prevent such attacks, and to arrest and prosecute those who carry them out. We also urge you to take all necessary measures to curb such unlawful attacks whether or not the current ceasefire remains in place or is extended beyond its 19 December deadline…

          Israeli civilians were suffering, and you can’t even condemn the blatant war crimes.
          Lastly, shortly before launching Cast Lead, Olmert issued this:

          Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert delivered a final warning in an interview with the Arabic language satellite channel al-Arabiya. He said “I am telling them now, it may be the last minute, I’m telling them stop it. We are stronger.” Another 6 Qassams landed in southern Israel

          You’re a sickening piece work. Fortunately, the Israeli government will stand by its citizens, and will respond to any threats to their security.
          Oh, and fuck off, will you?

        • Also, what “election day”, you simpering moron?!
          Israel went to the polls in Feb. of 2009.
          But what would you know, you pathetic idiot?!

          • election day ? Think real hard . Real hard ..November 4th 08 ..come on… Im sure if you pulled your head out of yer beam end you would be able to figure it out

          • So Olmert was trying to get “reelected” — after announcing the end of his political career! — in the US now?
            Yes folks, this is what delirium looks like.
            Oh and cretin, why don’t you name those leaders who were supposedly assassinated?
            Oh, and fuck off, yes?
            You’re truly, as it has become clear, insane.

    • Not to mention that Olmert had announced his resignation in July of ’08(a full 5 months before Cast Lead), so only a half-wit like yourself could imagine that he be “re-elected”, under any circumstance.

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