The Left's Linguistic Veil

Monday, January 11, 2016

M.G. Oprea notices a trend among leftist politicians and their media lapdogs:

During the Democratic presidential candidate debate on November 14, some on Twitter commented on the pronunciation of the word "Muslim" by Hillary Clinton and the other candidates. Rather than the common Americanized pronunciation of "Muz-lim," they opted to pronounce it "Mooss-lim," with a long "o" sound in the first syllable, and an "s" sound rather than a "z".

Similarly, the Left tends to pronounce the word "Islam" not as "IZ-lahm," like the majority of Americans, but rather "Iss-LAM," with the "s" sound replacing the "z" and with the emphasis on the second syllable rather than the first...
There is an audio sample, from one of the Democratic debates posted within the article.

I see this as a continuation of a trend that has been going on for at least a couple of decades, including the changing of the spelling of the first of these words, which I have always refused to go along with: I spell it "Moslem." Likewise, I have noticed that journalists frequently are more than happy to use the adopted names of Moslem converts hostile to the West (Why does this feel redundant?) or even the noms de guerre of assorted terrorists. (Why not learn the real name and use it?). I refuse to do those, too, unless I risk being misunderstood. Then I might use the nom de guerre once for context, maybe with an "AKA" or some other note that this is an alias. When the name change is basically a declaration of hostility, I refuse to go along. Using a name whose purpose is to make the very act of using it an act of deference is, under such circumstances, wrong: I don't willingly say things I do not mean.

Oprea basically hits the nail on the head in terms of what these leftists are doing, and she ends with a matter that needs some serious thought:
If the Left is using the pronunciation of "Muslim" and "Islam" as a marker of where they fall politically, what happens to the rest of us who are pronouncing it with an American accent? For now, there is nothing notable about pronouncing these words as "muz-lim" or "IZ-lahm," but one day there might be. One can't help but wonder whether these words will truly become a kind of political Shibboleth. Pretty soon we might be outing ourselves as so-called Islamaphobes, simply for pronouncing a word the wrong way.
Is this a bad thing? No. Will there be bad consequences for those of us who do this? Perhaps, but it will be less likely if we stand up for what we are doing now. This article will help, given that it notes the following outrage:
They don't do this with other foreign words or place-names. No, the Left reserves this little linguistic condescension for its favorite liberal minority causes. You didn't hear anyone pronouncing "Paris" as "Pah-ree," as the French do, after the terror attacks in November in order to show solidarity. There wasn't any effort to sound culturally authentic when discussing the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But talk about Islam, and their tune -- and pronunciation -- changes.
Pointing this out, say, in conversation, will almost certainly not change a leftist. But it might provoke thought for any reasonable person who isn't as good at noticing such things. And that's what we need to start happening before people generally become afraid to "offend" those Moslems who are merely waiting to pick a fight, let alone to ask their own questions or to speak their own minds regarding the role that Islam plays in fomenting terrorism.

-- CAV

No comments: