Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hearing things in The Hunger Games

I went to go see The Hunger Games with my wife over the weekend. It was ok. Well, more accurately, it was subversive, but that's another post for another blog. There were a few interesting points.

Some of the characters had distinctly Roman names: Cinna, Cato and Caesar leap to mind. All of their names are pronounced English-style. /s/ for Cinna and Caesar. /k/ for Cato. I knew about the Roman names in advance, so I really was hoping for /k/ throughout. Oh well.

But then the really interesting part. After watching the movie, my wife referred to one of the characters, and I thought, "Hm. That's odd." In case you didn't know, my given name is Peter. She said /pitə/. Wait. Nice midwestern girls like my wife do not say /pitə/. Most midwesterners, my wife included, say /pitəɹ/, so I was surprised to hear /pitə/.

Since I've lived in New England, I've been called /pitə/. A lot. My coworkers were particularly fond of displaying their non-rhotic accents in this manner. Suffice to say when I heard the character was named /pitə/ in the movie, I heard Peter. After the movie my wife, without meaning to, set me straight.

Turns out the young man's name is Peeta. Our ears are liars.