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It came as no surprise to me that lefty-liberal Bush-mockers didn't understand what Bush meant by his "Mandela is dead" statement, since the only labored metaphors they understand are their own. But something did come up that started me thinking. This poor BDS-sufferer lists in the comments to his own post (further down -- there are no individual comment links) part of a list of supposed malaprops by Bush garnered from this site that is supposed to prove what an idiot Bush is. One of the first ones on the list was this one, supposedly a huge gaffe by the "pResident":

"As John Howard accurately noted when he went to thank the Austrian troops there last year..." --George W. Bush, referring to Australian troops as "Austrian troops," APEC Business Summit, Sept. 7, 2007

Ha ha, he said "Austrian" instead of "Australian." Or -- did he? One thing I've noticed about Bush is that he has a way of slurring sound combinations that are difficult to say. But so do many other Americans. I do it myself, or used to -- I grew up in Miami, where the prevailing accent is a sort of Southern/Latin mumble. I have tried my best to train myself out of it, though I'll never have the precise accent of people from California, for instance. Anyway, it could be that Bush actually did say "Australia," but he pronounced it the way a lot of people do, as "Austray-a." That "lya" sound is one of the more difficult combinations to pronounce properly -- and not just for English-speaking people. In Spanish it's rendered as "ll" but a lot of Spanish speakers pronounce it as "y." In my high school Italian class we learned the equivalent sound was spelled "gl" and the teacher had a devil of a time getting the Hispanic kids in the class to say it correctly, with the "l" sound included. So it doesn't surprise me that Bush would have elided over the "l" sound in "Australia." In fact a lot of Australians do it too, the word coming out sounding something like "Orstraya." (The middle "a" long as in "father.")

The way to avoid this, by the way, is to say each of the syllables distinctly: Aus-tray-lee-a. But in every day speech most people don't bother speaking so clearly. In any case, it's possible he did stumble and say "Austria" -- the way we'd know this is if he emphasized the first syllable, which you would if you were saying "Austria" instead of "Australia." But this is such a petty thing to laugh at, as are most of the so-called "Bushisms" listed here, some of which are standard self-deprecating humor and others of which are simple statements that coming from an ordinary person wouldn't even be remarked upon. There's nothing really awful, which supports my theory that the exaggerated hatred Bush has garnered has nothing to do with him and everything to do with the neuroses of his haters.

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Don't worry, he's just chopping broccoli.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 23, 2007 12:18 PM.

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