It’s a known fact – Americans, for the most part, pronounce Pakistan – PACKistan. As much as I have tried to alter this pronunciation, one American at a time, (following a summer internship in college, for instance, most of Senator Harkin’s office had succumbed to my ‘Pahkistani’ wiles), I often question the source of such semantics. If we pronounce America, Amrika, and they pronounce Pakistan, Packistan, then is it a case of “you say tomato, I say tomahto?”
Much of my pondering came to head yesterday when I saw an amusing clip on CNN’s Situation Room, entitled, “Pronouncing Pakistan.” The news agency explored the different pronunciations of our country by U.S. presidential candidates, Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama. Much like the photo posted above, McCain says Paackistan (note the long ‘A’ sound emanating from his facial expression), while Sen. Obama, labeled by his critics as a “multi-culti fruitcake,” uses the more ‘ah’ sound, when pronouncing the word. Click here to see the clip.