The PJ Tatler

New French Government has a Problem with the Arab World

In the U.S., we had Anthony Weiner, who did his best to live up to his name. Now, reports CNN, France has its own issue with new Socialist Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault:

The prime minister’s last name, it turns out, sounds like an Arabic slang word for penis.

…Pronounced properly in French, the last name is very much like a moderately rude Lebanese and Palestinian term that is widely understood in the Arabic world.

The name has left broadcasters trying to determine if they should pronounce it as the prime minister does — “ai-roh” — or if they should resort to voicing the “L” and “T” in the written word.

An editor at the pan-Arabic network Al-Arabiya said the network would pronounce the name in the French way.

“We cannot change names, so we have to deal with it and live with it. We have to be professional,” said the editor, who asked not to be named because of the subject matter.

Al-Arabiya is writing the name in Arabic in a way that makes clear it is not the offensive word.

CNNArabic decided to pronounce Ayrault’s name by voicing the last two letters in the written word.