The source image I’d posted no longer exists. For those who didn’t get to see it, it was a triptych of sexy mouths saying the syllables of a word in “correct” formation. About four foot tall mouths…pronouncing Chevrolet as shae vo Rae, complete with IPA phonetic symbols so you don’t get it wrong. (cough)
This, my friends, is part of Chevrolet’s huge advertising campaign lining the subways of Seoul. Now I know why my co-teacher called Chevys Shaebis, ’cause some numb nuts spelled it 쉐비 way back when GM and Daewoo first started their partnership. What I’m confused about is the phonetization of the sign above: Shouldn’t the last one be [leɪ]???
To be honest, I don’t have the International Phonic Alphabet memorized – I didn’t even KNOW there was such a thing as the IPA, and was totally shocked (during a university job interview) when the phonics I’d learned from the back of the Random House dictionary in grade school no longer served me adequately. The foreign language students here all have to know this, though, since there are sooo many versions of English they are exposed to: Commonwealth, American, Canadian, Indian…
Interestingly, the vowel chart shares a lot of similarity to the hangul vowel chart – it’s all based on the locus of the sound formation within the mouth. The problem with hangul, though, is it doesn’t have vowel or consonant combinations or blends, which is fine for Korean but presents a blunt tool for dealing with foreign languages. Take “vo” for “vro” in the above Chevrolet example.
So I corrected the situation and taught my co-teacher that it is pronounced 쉐브로레 in America. 브로 (beuro) is the closest one can come to the consonant blend VR. So it can drive a westerner a little crazy living here, as sometimes the western word is introduced with attention to detail and care not to just eliminate R,L, T, N, etc. sounds from consonant blends, and then sometimes, as with Chevrolet, somebody just decided that extra R wasn’t worth the bother.
You get used to it. You accept it. But I guess I was just floored by the amount of money spent here on getting the public to pronounce it wrong when they had an open opportunity to do it right! Boo on you, Chevrolet!