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Arizona news anchor defends her pronunciation of Spanish words during English broadcasts

According to this interesting article from The New York Times, Arizona anchor Vanessa Ruiz took some time on air to respond to viewers’ comments about the way she pronounces certain words and why she rolls her Rs. Here are some excerpts from her statement and the article:

In the broadcast, Ms. Ruiz said, “Some of you have noticed that I pronounce a couple of things maybe a little bit differently than what you are used to, and I get that, and maybe even tonight you saw a little bit of it.

“I was lucky enough to grow up speaking two languages, and I have lived in other cities, in the U.S., South America, and Europe,” she continued. “So yes, I do like to pronounce certain things the way they are meant to be pronounced. And I know that change can be difficult, but it’s normal and over time I know that everything falls into place.”

The use of Spanish in the United States has been contested in a range of ways over the years, from objections to its use in the Pledge of Allegiance; to casual conversation on school buses, such as in Nevada; and in a New Mexico supermarket accused of having singled out Spanish-speaking employees with an“English-only” policy, according to some of the cases pursued by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The United States has more than 55 million Hispanics and, according to the 2011 American Community Survey, 38 million residents age 5 and older who speak Spanish at home. But questions about the use of Spanish persist.

According to Ms. Kotzambasis, the station’s news director, some viewers objected to the way Ms. Ruiz pronounces Mesa, the third largest city in Arizona. “Locals pronounce it ‘May-suh,’ but many Spanish speakers and natives say ‘Mess-uh,’ ” Ms. Kotzambasis said. In addition, she said, viewers noticed that Ms. Ruiz “rolls her Rs when pronouncing Spanish words.”

“That Spanish sound, that’s not what we’re used to listening to in English-language TV,” said Ms. Gonzalez, 35, whose mother is from the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, and whose father is from Arizona. “I think I kind of pumped my fist and celebrated. Hey, look, she’s not afraid of her heritage.”

 

Click here to read the full article: The New York Times.

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