Lux Ion (imluxionverdin) wrote in linguaphiles,
Lux Ion
imluxionverdin
linguaphiles

Why can't native English speakers pronounce Medvedev.

The new Russian president is Dmitry Medvedev. His last name is pronounced a little bit like "MED-VI-YE-DEV", but you could just pronounce it badly, as it is spelled, i.e. "MED-VE-DEV", right?

Yet native English speakers seem to have difficulty pronouncing this name, and I don't know why. Famously Hilary Clinton was asked about him during the current nomination campaign and she spoke for awhile, then simply could not pronounce his name. She stuttered for awhile, "Medvi...med....medvi...." then said "WHATEVER". (Obama was beside her and had a chance to say, hey at least I can pronounce his name, but maybe he couldn't because he simply said he had nothing to say at all.)

I was telling someone about this, and to my horror I started stumbling over his name, not being able to pronounce it.

Then today, I heard the news announce on a BBC radio station get stuck on his name, saying "Medvvveee.....MedVIYEdev".

Why is this so hard to pronounce, there is nothing that strange about this name compared to many others?
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