Beverly Hills Chee' WOW wa and rat-a-too-ee

Movie poster for Beverly Hills ChihuahuaSo here's a new phenomenon: film (movie) posters that include pronunciation guides.

Over on the right you can see part of a poster for the current release Beverly Hills Chihuahua, which helpfully points out that 'chihuahua' should be pronounced chee' WOW wa.

Is the apostrophe indicating stress on the middle syllable? Surely putting 'WOW' in caps is sufficient?

The only other example of this phenomenon I can think of is the poster for the children's animated fim Ratatouille (2007), as shown below.

Here the pronunciation guide is rat-a-too-ee – the syllables are separated by hyphens but this time there's no indication at all as to stress.

Movie poster for RatatouilleSo how do you feel about these pronunciation guides – are they an example of dumbing-down and declining standards in education?

Personally, I applaud the film-makers for not shying away from using 'difficult' words in the titles of children's films.

And can you think of any other examples? Maybe it's not a new phenomenon at all...

11 comments:

Steve Gale said...

What about 'Chicken Run' - (de-plore-ar-bull). Or 'Finding Nemo' -(ex-krar-ment)?

Neil said...

Seen a poster in the last few weeks for the George bush film "W" - subtited 'Dub-Yah' I believe....

Sarah said...

Recently I've been learning about SQL (Structured Query Language) at uni. In the notes i'm told to pronounce it ess-cue-ell which I thought was really strange seen as SQL is an abbreviation, apparently this is because some people refer to SQL as Sequel. Though I still don't think there was any need to tell me how to pronounce the letters.

Gareth said...

I think it's Microsoft's fault, as their product "SQL Server" seems to be universally called "Sequel Server".

Being the pedantic person that I am, I always pronounce SQL as "Ess-Cue-Ell".

One guy I works with pronounces it "Squirrel".

mighty red pen said...

Gah! I find the chihuahua example especially annoying and just wrote about it myself the other day. Do they think we don't know how to pronounce chihuahua? Do they not do their research before putting forth a totally bogus pronunciation guide (this is not how CHEE-WA-WA is pronounced)?

Anonymous said...

Presumably it's a joke. I've not seen the film but imagine this particular chihuahua is pretty amazing, inspiring people to say "WOW".

These are both Disney films so this could well be a Disney "thing". This could be a (clever) reference to the earlier Ratatouille film.

Or is this a given and I am missing your point mighty red pen?

cm

Noel said...

I had the same thought just the other day.

I was taken aback at the idea that people need a pronunciation guide to pronounce chihuahua. It's a common word, and just in case people aren't familiar with the spelling of the word, there's a huge context clue: a huge picture of a chihuahua on the poster.

"Ratatouille" on the other hand kind of annoyed me. If a word is so foreign that it needs a pronunciation guide (and unlike chihuahua, this one definitely needs it), maybe you should think of something simpler.

From a marketing standpoint, I'm not sure which is smarter, having that easy-to-remember name or having a name that gets people talking.

And I know someone mentioned it, but here's the poster for "W." with a pronunciation guide. I think it's a clever touch.

Sarah said...

Yes, but don't you think Disneys' target audience are kids? Who possibily would need to be told how to pronounce chihuahua or ratatouille. I think it's just a bit of fun for them.

rpmason said...

The first thing I noticed was the 'Chee' part. Are they trying to give the pronunciation a Latin slant? Haven't seen the movie, so I don't know how they pronounce it. (Haven't seen Rat-whatever or W either).

The Ridger, FCD said...

It's a joke. Nobody pronounces chihuahua with 'wow' in the middle, do they? It's wah-wah. The point, as cm says, is that this chihuahua is WOW! He's an heroic action dog.

Kel said...

I don't mind the rat-a-too-ee, because honestly it's a funny looking word for English speakers. BUT, when I was living in France, I saw Ratatouille notebooks for sale that kept the phonetically-helpful logo... which would have coached French kids to pronounce the word "rah-a-toe-euh" or something similar. That's bizarre.