There’s No ‘t’ in ‘Wimbledon’

23:16 Mon 06 Jul 2009
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I tried listening to this podcast by Bill Simmons and Jon Wertheim, but Simmons’ pronunciation drove me nuts. I actually like some of his writing, but listening to him proved incredibly irritating.

If you don’t follow tennis, well, you might not know how it’s pronounced, fine. There’s nothing wrong with that. We all screw up pronunciations of unfamiliar and foreign words, and clearly something about American placenames pushes Americans to devoice that consonant. No problem.

Wimbledon has a “d” in it. No “t”. Not all Americans pronounce it with a “t”—Wertheim pronounced it properly without difficulty—but I’ve only ever heard Americans do this. Simmons doing it in this podcast was all the more annoying because he was talking to someone who was pronouncing it correctly.

If you’re a major sports journalist talking about it, and you’re talking to another sports journalist who’s pronouncing it correctly, what the fuck is your excuse? Either Simmons is unbelievably oblivious, or he’s doing it on purpose as some kind of schtick—which would be even worse. Deliberately pronouncing it the wrong way to show that you’re “a common man” who doesn’t have any truck with the educated types and their high-falutin’ ways of talking is just horrible. See, for example, “nucular”.

I don’t know if Simmons is actually doing it on purpose, but what, nobody ever took him aside and said, “look, Bill, it’s ‘Wimbledon’”?

4 Responses to “There’s No ‘t’ in ‘Wimbledon’”

  1. loons Says:

    i googled his horrible impression as soon as i heard him mispronounce it about 47 times. and i landed here. that is all

  2. the plucky dork Says:

    Thanks for this post. It was very irritating. What indeed lies behind it, ignorance or misguidance? Equally annoying was Wertheim talking about putative member “Lord Gloucester” playing doubles on Center Court as it and Court 1 are only used during the Championships.

    To further your point about Simmons’s shortcomings in view that he earns a living as sports sage with devoted followers: On his podcast he made a suggestion to Mark Cuban about improving the Mavs’ courtside player seating. Cuban’s response was “Where have you been the last ten years?” This to a man who just wrote a 700 page NBA history book.

  3. ErrilFracas Says:

    You really don’t seem very plucky.

    But yes, ‘Wimbleton’ was irksome, though surely not intentional. Simmons talks all the time about not being able to pronounce things.

  4. the plucky dork Says:

    You dare question my pluckiness? At least give me dorky.

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