NBC is adamant about its pronunciation of Korean Olympic city, Pyeongchang, despite the fact that they’ve been pronouncing it incorrectly — on purpose.
In November, Mark Lazarus advised all NBC correspondents to use the wrong pronounciation because it sounds “cleaner.” Everyone from the @AAJA to Korean-American NBC reporters have tried to teach NBC. It’s not having an effect. They’re sticking w/ “chayng.”https://t.co/SIMbIXCRrG
— Rusty™: It’s a Tide Ad (@rustyhatchell) February 15, 2018
In an interview with Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Broadcasting and Sports, the decision is an official one, insisting that the incorrect pronunciation is “cleaner”.
“Here’s how you pronounce our city in our land. We even transliterated the name into the alphabet you guys use.”
“Thanks but I don’t give a shit.”
— T.K. of AAK! (@AskAKorean) February 14, 2018
Members of the Asian community have expressed their frustration at the blatant mispronunciation of the city, taking to Twitter to voice their opinions.
NBC has taught me that “PyeongChang” has three and a half syllables…
…when you don’t really care to spend the three and a half seconds it takes to learn the correct pronunciation and stop sounding like an obnoxious foreigner.
— Aijaz Ansari (@_aijaz_) February 14, 2018
The Asian American Journalists Association routinely encourages media personnel to “use the accurate pronunciation of the host city for the 2018 Winter Olympic games,” saying that “unless you’re pronouncing it the way our guidance shows, it’s incorrect.”
“The correct pronunciation for the host city is Pyeongchang… ang… ah like when you go to the doctor. Ah. Pyeong-Ch-ah-ng. Pyeong-Ch-ah-ng. Pyeong-Ch-ah-ng,” said CeFaan Kim, MediaWatch co-chair at the AAJA.
Nothing like a white guy lecturing others on how to pronounce Asian names. Are we sure Mark Lazarus isn’t @CBCebulski?
— Mike Smith (@bladeoffire1) February 15, 2018
Huffpost reached out to NBC for comment: “We heard a variety of ways to say PyeongChang during our preparation for the Games, and ultimately decided on the version in which the second syllable sounds like ‘twang,’” said a spokesperson.
— melissa block (@NPRmelissablock) February 15, 2018
Here’s to hoping they decide to pronounce Tokyo correctly in 2020.
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