‘Ees-ah-EE-ahs:’ Hurricane Isaias leaves tongue-twisted journalists in its wake

WASHINGTON, N.C. — As summertime comes around, so does hurricane season. That means a list of names that some may not be too familiar with — including the name of the recent storm that ripped through the coastal Carolinas.

In recent weeks, some television anchors and forecasters unintentionally mispronounced its name: Isaias.

“Just looking at the names, there are some that are perceived to be more tricky than others (especially) if you’re not a Spanish speaker,” of hurricanes, said Violeta Yas, chief meteorologist for Telemundo62 in Philadelphia.

To help her coworkers at sister station NBC10 avoid this mistake, Yas sent a mass email to help pronounce the name of this tropical storm.

Hurricane Isaias barrels toward the Carolinas in late July. PHOTO COURTESY OF NOAA

“I think something that’s important (is to) teach people and let people know how it’s done as opposed to sort of criticizing when it’s not done correctly,” Yas said. “Not everybody is going to get it right probably 100% of the time, but giving people an opportunity to look at it, trying to understand it and practice it, so they can get it right.”

Yas said that it’s important to help the public and fellow journalists know how to say the name Isaias and other Spanish-language names.

“What I hope some people took away from this is to just keep an open mind,” Yas said. “Be open to learning more (about other) languages.”

Eddi Cabrera Blanco is a graduate of Delaware State University. He is a bilingual journalist pursuing a career in television news and overs urban affairs at online magazine, Next City. Reach him at eddiblanco20 [at] gmail [dot] com and on Twitter @eddicblanco.

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