Lucy Zelic, Craig Foster respond to criticism over player pronunciation.

It was the great man, Les Murray, who instilled the importance of linguistics in his younger presenters.

FIFA World Cup hosts Lucy Zelic and Craig Foster have responded to social media criticism over pronunciation of player names.

Foster noted Zelic had hosted some 14 games in 4 days, in only her second World Cup.

Addressing a culturally-important question, they referenced the great man, Les Murray, who instilled it in his younger presenters.

“Firstly because that’s what SBS is about. SBS is about respecting every single culture and of course the way you use the language is the most important way to show respect to someone — through the name,” Foster said.

“If you can’t get someone’s name right it means you have no regard, you haven’t done the work, you haven’t tried.

“Secondly, Les also did it out of respect for the game. The game broadly and also the players who play the game was always very important to him.”

Zelic fought back tears as she explained, “When I have had Colombians, for example, write to me and say, ‘I’ve been living in Australia for 37 years, constantly having my name mispronounced has always been a difficulty for me, to have it pronounced correctly is really quite touching’. That is why we do what we do at SBS.

“It’s always been about servicing the minority and about respecting the cultures we have in Australia.”

12 Responses

  1. The problem is that she’s being pedantic and as you know the problem with pedants is that they are usually right. But not always. Die Mannschaft is a case in point. It was originally Nationalmannschaft. English speaking media shortened it to Mannschaft then formed it into Die Mannschaft. Which the Germans thought was cute and adopted for their marketing campaign for the 2014 World Cup resulting in Germans using it. However, “Germany” would get the point across to 100% of an exhausted, caffeine addled audience at 4am in the morning more effectively. Rattling of rapid fire names with foreign pronunciations may show of her linguistic skills, but you’ll notice that the ads during the coverage try to make things clear for their target audience.

    1. It’s less “pedantic”, and more “that’s their official team brand/name in international competition”.

      Kinda like how it’s not “The Australian National Soccer Team”, but the “The Socceroos”.

      1. Their name in English is Germany and their official code is GER. Which is used by the rest of the SBS team, in all their graphics, and by all the World Cup commentators hired to do the English Language commentary for English speaking fans. Usings a foreign term without any explanation and stressing the foreign pronunciation in and English Language broadcast is being pedantic, and confusing 95% of the audience. Do that for all 32 two teams and I have no idea whom she is was talking about a lot of the time. That is very pedantic. It also demonstrates the problem with doing multilingual broadcasting when the only common language the audience understands is English (and it why SBS put foreign language shows on at midnight with English subtitles) while on Radio and online they can provide commentary in multiple languages which is supposed to be their function.

        1. No, Germany is the country. The team name/brand used internationally is “Die Mannschaft”.

          If you watch non-English coverage of the matches involving Australia you’ll soon notice they use their local language for the country name – ‘Australie’, ‘Australien’, ‘Australija’ – as we do here (i.e. it’s ‘Germany’, not ‘Deutschland’). But the team name is given in (a better or worse attempt at!) the language of the country they represent – the ‘Socceroos’.

          Granted that’s not a great example since it’s not a word that directly translates into any other language. But I’ve noticed non-English coverage also uses ‘Three Lions’ and ‘Équipe de France’ (or ‘Les Bleus’) rather than, say, ‘Drei Löwen’ or ‘Frankreich Mannschaft’.

          Actual fans world-wide already know the team names & seem to understand things OK, so … ?

    2. Here’s a question. Should a German broadcaster use a broad Australian pronunciation of “Socceroos” or “Australisches Mannschaft” in a German language broadcast on the World Cup?

    1. Did you even read the article?

      The problem is that she’s copping abuse for pronouncing names correctly. The once-every-four-years soccer “fans”, who know nothing more than the mangled pronunciation coming from 7/9/10/ABC announcers, think that’s excuse* enough to go after her.

      (* yes, “excuse” – because we can all figure out several much more likely reasons why this person is copping unwarranted abuse…)

      1. The problem is that she’s coping abuse. But that’s not what SBS and the SMH are claiming, they claiming nobody can criticism SBS is being a bit “multicultural” for once. There are English and Spanish pronunciations of Lionel. Other English commentators, analysis, anchors just use “Messi” rather than worrying about it.

  2. Lucy Zelic is a bilingual pro. Puts everyone else to shame. The only problem is… it is actually everyone else talking around her, which makes her look like she’s doing it wrong.

    It’s such a hard earnt unique talent. She sets the bar high for guests around her.

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