Return to Bosnia


The wheels of international justice grind exceeding slow, and eight years after his arrest, Radovan Karadzić is eventually being sentenced today. I commented in 2008 (here) on the confusion between at least two pronunciations of his family name, and it is continuing today. Where does the pronunciation /ˈkærədɪtʃ/ come from? Both Sarah Montague (Radio 4 Today programme) and Edward Stourton (Radio 4 World at One) have used it, and yet every BBC reporter who covered the story from Bosnia at the time of the genocide and has been quoted today, and also every native speaker of languages from the former Yugoslavia that I have heard commenting on the story today has used what the Pronunciation Unit recommended from the early 1990s onwards: /ˈkærədʒɪtʃ/. You would have thought that the presence of a -z- coming between the -d- and the -i- would be enough to make them think, but obviously not. Of course, the two transcriptions I have given reflect anglicised pronunciations rather than a native Serb version.

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