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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Soundoff: Aug. 29

    *America is not the center of the universe *

    In class the other day, we were discussing the war in Libya and a student pointed out how many misspellings she had seen of Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s name, even in prominent news sources such as CNN.

    I explained that he doesn’t have an English spelling of his name and most news sources use the rules of translating Arabic languages and their individual styles to attempt to give him an easily read name.
    She responded, “He should just make an English name.” I’m not sure my eyes could have rolled any more in their sockets.

    It’s such an American thing to do. “It’s complicated, so why don’t they just shift everything about themselves to fit English?” I remember a friend complaining that Yao Ming should switch his name to Ming Yao because “that’s how we do it in America.”

    Why do other cultures have to change their ways to fit America? In Ireland, if you introduce yourself as John they won’t call you Sean just because that’s the Irish version of the name. The Russian president’s name is Dmitry Medvedev, but it could also be written Demetri Medvedev in an American newspaper and still be right.

    I’ll admit that learning the rules of other countries is difficult. But it’s so elitist to demand that everyone fit the English-speaking way and to never expect to learn another. Stop expecting everyone else to do all the work and start respecting cultural differences.

    — Michelle A. Monroe is a journalism senior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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