How are you supposed to pronounce Iraq?
I was 5 or 6 during the first war in Iraq. I seem to recall that everyone, including the newscasters, pronounced it "eye-rack" at the time. Obviously I was pretty young then, so I could be mistaken, but it seems that the pronunciation has changed in this country to something more like "ear-rock". I recollect that this occurred around the build-up leading to the second war. I wonder if this was because we felt that we had progressed as a country or become more cultured in the decade since our last attack that we felt the need to change the pronunciation. Doubtless it is perceived as more politically correct by some to pronounce the name of a country more akin to the way natives say it, but I maintain that this does not give the impression of higher culture. I rather believe that it gives the impression of one who attempts at the mere appearance of it. Does the president think that he is connecting with the people of "pawk-i-stawn" on their level when he rises above the low-brow, Americanized "pack-u-stan"? If you think so, consider the last English-speaking white dude you heard say "Mehico" in lieu of "Mexico". Assuming he was sober and not physically in a Spanish class, you probably thought he was quite a douche, and you were right.
All I'm saying is, you don't need to be ashamed of the language you are speaking. If you don't pronounce some country the way it sounds in the native tongue, that's cool. You wouldn't expect a German speaker to switch mid sentence from the strict, halting rhythm of their native speech to a drawn and mumbled "Nawlins Lusana". He might get some laughs, but I doubt he would fool anyone.
Posted by Daniel