Thousands of Americans are currently screaming Boot-Edge-Edge whenever 2020 presidential candidate “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg shows up at a political rally, but while we appreciate the need to simplify a tricky Maltese surname for English speakers, we can’t help but cringe every time we hear one of our own being butchered.
But that got us thinking; how would we go about trying to get Americans – and the rest of the English-speaking world, for that matter – to (kind of) properly pronounce some of Malta’s elaborate surnames?
With simplified flashcards, of course!
Keeping the spirit of Boot-Edge-Edge alive, most of these explanations are not 100% accurate. But if it’s choosing between kind of getting it right or stammering your way to an unrecognisable version of what was once a Maltese surname, then so be it. Let us begin.
Forget the imagery of a farting camel for a second and let’s get this relatively easy one out of the way.
OK, let’s up the ante.
Malta actually has a couple of surnames starting with “Boo” (including the famed Buttigieg), so the first part shouldn’t be an issue by now. As for the second part, just take it one syllable at a time.
This surname’s pronunciation is actually one of the most accurate on the list.
The most vehicular surname on here, this one gets even more accurate if you go for the poshy pronunciation for “car” (that is, acting like the “r” doesn’t exist).
This one will still sound a bit off to an islander, but we just couldn’t pass off the opportunity to say ‘A zoo party’.
Don’t be dissuaded by this surname’s length, double consonants and weird “gia” ending. Just look at it as three short English words… well, one English word, one loanword from French and an exclamation.
One half is the South Korean superstar who was the first human to hit a billion views on YouTube. The second half is what you sing out when you’re warming your vocal chords ahead of a Gangnam Style karaoke session. Easy enough, right?
This one’s just for our brothers across the pond. Because who needs to say “pizza” when you can just shorten it to “za” and have an accurate way of pronouncing a Maltese surname? You’ll need it when we take over the White House anyway!