Conservatives are angry at Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor because she pronounces her name with an emphasis on the last syllable—"SotomayOR"—like a foreigner, which she may as well be because she won't talk Americun. A National Review writer, not a Fox Nation commenter, is advancing this argument.

The National Review's Mark Krikorian—who is, as you can tell by the unusual arrangement of consonants in his surname, himself a foreigner or maybe a Jew—writes that "putting the emphasis on the final syllable of Sotomayor is unnatural in English...and insisting on an unnatural pronunciation is something we shouldn't be giving in to."


This may seem like carping, but it's not. Part of our success in assimilation has been to leave whole areas of culture up to the individual, so that newcomers have whatever cuisine or religion or so on they want, limiting the demand for conformity to a smaller field than most other places would. But one of the areas where conformity is appropriate is how your new countrymen say your name, since that's not something the rest of us can just ignore, unlike what church you go to or what you eat for lunch. And there are basically two options - the newcomer adapts to us, or we adapt to him. And multiculturalism means there's a lot more of the latter going on than there should be.

No, it doesn't seem like "carping" so much as white rage. Sotomayor was indeed a "newcomer" to this country when she was born, in the Bronx, in New York City, in 1954. Her parents (pictured here with their daughter) were also "newcomers"—in the sense that Krikiorian intends—when they moved to New York from Puerto Rico before Sotomayor was born, which they were entitled to do as American citizens, which all Puerto Ricans have been since 1917.

Still, even if there is nothing foreign about Sotomayor herself, her name is still foreign, and must be assimilated. The audacity with which she insists on pronouncing it like it is actually pronounced, instead of the way Krikorian would like to pronounce it, is troubling and different and noncomformist. We feel the same way about Rush Limbogg and the states of Arkansas, Illinois, and Connecticut.

UPDATE: A commenter notes that Antonin Scalia's first name is unacceptably foreign, but more to the point: How should red-blooded American's pronounce Scalia's last name? The emphasis on the second syllable—Sca-LEE-uh—is just about as "unnatural in English" as SotomayOR. I trust Krikorian pronounces it as a two-syllable SCAL-ia—sort of rhymes with "dahlia"—when he repeats it to himself as he masturbates.

UPDATE: Another commenter wonders how Krikorian would pronounce John Boehner's name.