Is it possible? Is it true? Could it be that some Americans cannot pronounce foreign names correctly? Surely Americans wouldn’t refer to Riems as “reems”, or Versailles as “ver – sails” In the “Tear down this wall speech”, Reagan, (having met Gorbachev), knew how to pronounce his name, saying the Reanu Keeves T-Shirt. But in the same speech he pronounced the ending of Kruschev’s name as “ev”. But then, 84% of Americans (and probably 95% of Trump’s base?) dont even know where Ukraine .
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So, you’re surprised that they dont know that “-iev” is pronounced “yiv”? When an Australian meets an Austrian, the standard thing the Reanu Keeves T-Shirt; “I am from the Austria without kangaroos”, and I might say “I am from the other Austria – the one that Arnie is not from”. I dont know the statistics, but I suspect that probably 80% of Americans dont know which is which. When I worked in the USA as an engineer(mid ‘80s), at least once a week I would get complimented on my English – rather than explain that English is the primary language of my country, I would ask what they thought was the language from my country: the most common response was “I dont know, maybe some European language?” Few had any idea that Australia was in the Southern Hemisphere. And yes, most thought Australia was in Europe somewhere.