[how to say it]

Topic: Politics

So how do you say “Wojtyla” anyway?

For those of us who get most of our news from textual sources rather than TV and radio, pronunciation can be a problem. How to name-drop people like Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono or Cardinal Francis Arinze at parties?

Okay, so maybe you don’t go to the sorts of parties where this comes up. But in case you do, you’ll be glad to know about the Voice of America Pronunciation Guide (click on the short list to get the latest newsy names). Here’s a good example:

Karol Wojtyla (RealPlayer required)

The guide does tends toward the pedantic: the proper Russian pronunciation of “Mikhail Gorbachev” may be mihk-hah-EEL gahr-bah-CHAH-F (RealPlayer required), but unless you’re actually Russian, you’ll sound like a dork if you say it that way. Still, it’s a handy little tool, and where else can you go to find out how to say Tadeusz Mazowiecki?