Wednesday, September 26, 2007

'Phonetics For Dummies' Guide For President Bush

How do you keep a leader as verbally gaffe-prone as US President George W. Bush from making even more slips of the tongue?

When Bush addressed the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, the White House inadvertently showed exactly how -- with a phonetic pronunciation guide on the teleprompter to get him past troublesome names of countries and world leaders.

The White House was left scrambling to explain after a marked-up draft of Bush's speech popped up briefly on the UN website as he delivered his remarks, giving a rare glimpse of the special guidance he gets for major addresses.

It included phonetic spellings for French President Nicolas Sarkozy (sar-KO-zee), a friend, and Zimbabwe leader Robert Mugabe (moo-GAH-bee), a target of US human rights criticism.

Pronunciations were also provided for Kyrgyzstan (KEYR-geez-stan), Mauritania (moor-EH-tain-ee-a) and the Zimbabwe capital Harare (hah-RAR-ray).

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the draft, labelled the 20th version and complete with typos and speechwriters' cellphone numbers, had been turned over in advance to help UN interpreters who must simultaneously translate leaders' speeches into several languages.

Bush's text also had to be loaded onto a teleprompter to appear on screens in front of the podium as he spoke. "There was an error made," Perino told reporters. "I don't know how the draft of the speech that was not final was posted but it was and it was taken back."

"Anyone giving a major speech or delivering a broadcast, like on the morning and nightly network news, has phonetics for cues just for the possibility they're needed," she later explained.

Bush is no stranger to the occasional faux pas, and often jokes about his habit of mangling the English language.

One of his highest-profile gaffes came in May when, at a welcoming ceremony for Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, he nearly placed her in the 18th century.

At a speech during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Sydney earlier this month, Bush seemed to confuse the organization with OPEC and spoke of Austrian troops in Iraq when he meant to say Australian. (Sify News)
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Blogger tmpisaac said...

Perhaps the president is fluent in
aramic! Does he have an phonectic
version of his bible? Or is it
the childrens illustrated version.

3:13 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't you have anything better to do than bash our Predident?
You just make me sick.

3:43 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It will be refreshing to have a President that is a fluent speaker when Bush is no longer President. It is embarrassing that the most powerful country on Earth is represented by someone who has such trouble with the English language, and then is proud of his lack of eloquence. Its not bashing. I just wish that someone whoo was proud of education was the president.

3:58 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The moron from Texas, what did you expect...?

4:01 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speeches for every leader are done in this manner. Phonetics is clearly something a president should have a handle on, but it is a safety net in those rare moments in which you wish you had phonetic assistance. It would have been a big deal had it been for typical everyday use words. Here it is for capitals of countries and names. Its done everywhere, get over it.

4:34 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get a life.

5:48 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Eileen S. said...

I know that if I were President of the UNited States, I would use every aid available to me to avoid mispronouncing the name of a Country or it's capital or President, give the guy a break, if Bill Clinton(who I voted for twice and would again)had an aid like this everyone would applaud his cleverness, I'm a died in the wool liberal, but why don't we save our criticism for something important!

8:34 AM GMT+8  

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