New turmoil in Arab world: French PM’s nameMay 19th, 2012 - 6:38 pm ICT by IANS
Sydney, May 19 (IANS) It is not France’s new president but Prime Minister Jean Marc Ayrault who is creating waves in the Arab world. And it is because of his name.
His surname, when pronounced, sounds like the word “penis” in Arabic.
Editors in major Arab media outlets have spent days pondering how to spell his name. The biggest challenge is for television anchors.
When she read aloud the name the day he was elected, a Lebanese TV anchor burst out laughing, reported the Australian Associated Press.
Not everyone is taking it as a joke though.
To avoid embarrassment, some media groups have decided to call him by his first name.
Others are spelling his surname Ayrault as Aro, Hairo or Airolt instead of Airo — as it would be when translated into Arabic.
The French foreign ministry is offering help.
It has suggested that the Arab media pronounce all the letters, unlike in French pronunciation, or that Arab media use the prime minister’s initials JMA.
The report said France faced a similar situation with Russian President Vladimir Putin because his surname sounds like “putain” — the French word for prostitute.
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