For a German immigrant like me there are a number of English words I have trouble pronouncing (editor’s note: and spelling).
Especially if they contain the letters R or TH.
So it is with the German language which most Americans have a tough time pronouncing. Especially when it comes to umlauts in a German word, their pronunciation skills usually turns to mush mouth.
(Webster’s defines umlaut as “the diacritical mark placed over a vowel, esp. in German to indicate umlaut—also a vowel mutation.”
You get the picture—or maybe not—probably not)
Which brings me to last week’s media introduction to the Schlitterbahn water park in KCK’s gargantuan, new Verrückt water slide.
At 168 feet-7 inches high, it very much is verrückt.
Meaning, crazy, insane, gone mad.
As did most of Kansas City’s radio and TV talking head’s pronunciation of the new attraction.
Mispronunciation, actually. Which ranged from:
On and on went the verklemmt attempts.
Raising the question of whether Schlitterbahn’s PR packet included a pronunciation guide?
The one reporter I spoke with didn’t know of any.
So did any local reporters or air personalities get it right?
The only one I heard get it right was E.J. Becker (who looks and sounds a little German) from KMBZ radio’s the morning news show. Amazingly, Becker correctly pronounced the Guinness record holder of the world’s tallest water slide as: FARE-RRUEHK-T.
Say it with me now — you can do it — Fare-Rruehk-T.
Just don’t mess with the umlaut—unless, of course, you’re seeking tons of arguably embarrassing publicity.