I have never figured out how to pronounce the family name of Alberto Fujimori, quondam president of Peru. There is debate over whether he was born in Japan or Peru, but his native language is Spanish, so he (like all Peruvians) pronounces his name with a Spanish j (=kh). That should settle the matter, except that it feels strange to be pronouncing a clearly Japanese name in such an un-Japanese way. (Compare the discussion of how to pronounce foreign names in this earlier entry.)


  1. In English we don’t (always) let our own spelling conventions rule our pronunciation of foreign names; why should they in Spanish?

  2. Probably because English has such an opaque spelling system that we’re used to words not sounding like they look like they should sound; in Spanish, on the other hand, sounds are clearly indicated by the spelling, so there’s no tradition of pronouncing things in unusual ways.

  3. The Ogre defends unanglicized pronunciations here.

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