With this man’s arrest at the weekend, broadcasters are once more having to struggle with the pronunciation of his name.
The BBC recommendation, which corresponds to that given in most if not all manuals of pronunciation for Serbian, is to treat the ‘dž’, written with the single letter ‘џ’ in Cyrillic, as the straightforward English voiced palato-alveolar affricate. The final ‘ć’ ([tɕ]) is not the same as the English voiceless palato-alveolar affricate /tʃ/, but this is the nearest English sound to it – many English speakers find it very difficult to distinguish between the two Serbian sounds represented as ć and č, the latter being the [tʃ]. So the full recommendation for BBC broadcasters is /’kærədʒɪtʃ/, or in the BBC’s Modified Spelling, ‘kárrǎjitch’. Radovan doesn’t seem to present any problems at all.
However, many broadcasters are ignoring the ž completely, and saying /’kærədɪtʃ/ (‘kárrǎditch’), while the former Bishop of Oxford, Lord Harries, astonished me this morning by saying /kə’rædzɪk/ – ‘kǎrádd-zick’. He is a well-known commentator on current affairs. Does he never listen to what other people are saying?
It would help if the English-language media could be persuaded to use the necessary diacritics. With unicode fonts now readily available, there is no real excuse for not making use of them.