Today's blog isn't so much about geography, although I will cover, it is about the proper pronunciation of the names of those countries. Many, I'm willing to bet, you've mispronounced your entire life. Even news people often don't say them correctly.
let's begin by saying that there are 195 countries in the world. Most humans, as well as many frogs can rattle off the names of the major countries from memory. Some, of course, are less well-known while others remain unknown to most of us who don't live in those countries.
1. The first country whose name you've probably been mispronouncing is Iraq. It's located in the Middle East and is frequently in the news. Do the news folks pronounce it correctly? Most do not. The two most common pronunciations are eh-rock and ee-rack. The correct way is a combination of the two...ee-rock.
2. The next country up is Antigua. This island is a popular tourist paradise located in the Caribbean. This island is known for its 365 beaches which means you can visit a different beach every day for an entire year! No wonder its a popular place for travelers. But are you pronouncing the name correctly? If you're like me, you pronounce the name an-tee-gwa. And we'd both be wrong. The correct pronunciation is an-tee-guh.
3. Brunei is a small state located in South-East Asia and boasts one of the highest standards of living anywhere. At first glance, you might be tempted to pronounce the name of this oil-rich country as broo-neye. The correct pronunciation is broo-nay.
4. Next on the list of mispronounced countries is Pakistan. What? I know! I thought for sure I was saying this one correctly. Pakistan sits in the middle of a political "hot spot" between India, Afghanistan, and Iran. The name Pakistan translates into "Land of Peace." The name is a little ironic since it has rarely seen peace in its long and tumultuous history. I've always pronounced the name pack-uh-stan. I've been wrong. The correct way to say the name of this country is pack-ee-stan.
How are you doing so far?
5. The next country is one of those that many humans (and frogs, too) have never heard of. And if you have heard of it, you probably can't find it on a map. Djibouti is a small country in East Africa. However, Djibouti plays a significant role in international shipping because this country is situated along the Suez Canal. The name is often mistakenly pronounced di-bout-ti or di-ji-boo-ti. But both ways are incorrect. it's time to set the record straight. Djibouti is pronounced, jee-boo-ti. The "D" is silent.
6. This country is officially known as the Kyrgyz Republic but is more commonly known as Kyrgyzstan. it's hard to know how to pronounce the name with so many consonants strung together in a row. The Kyrgyz Republic gained its independence in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union. This country is focusing its economy on tourism. Lonely Planet says Kyrgyzstan is a "great gateway to Central Asia with its unspoiled natural beauty and friendly locals. So how is this complicated name pronounced? kur-gist-ann, with a hard, "g" sound.
7. And finally, on my list of most-often mispronounced countries, is Qatar. Lately, the news people have pronouncing this correctly after years of mispronouncing it. So you may already know how to say it. Qatar is a rags to riches story. it used to be the poorest country in the Middle East. But thanks to a rich supply of oil located within its borders, Qatar's luck as changed significantly. Qatar now enjoys the highest per capita income of any country in the world. Several of the common mispronunciations are kay-tar and ku-tar, the emphasis on the first syllable in each instance. The correct way to say the name of this very wealthy country is kut-ahr (cutter).
So that's our geography and phonetics lesson for today. I hope you learned a few things. I know I always feel smarter when I know that I am pronouncing words correctly. And feeling smarter is always a good thing.
Please join me back here tomorrow when my wise teacher and very dear friend, The Dharma Frog will be here with another very important life lesson. So, until then,