This is a minor thing I’m about to complain about, but yesterday I was watching a video of Leonardo DiCaprio talking about shooting portions of Inception in Paris, except he called it “Pair-iss.” And at that moment the ghosts of Arthur Rimbaud, Honore de Balzac, Edith Piaf and Yves Montand howled in unison.
DiCaprio was raised in East Hollywood, Los Feliz, and Echo Park areas of Los Angeles, and has a kind of twangy, flagrantly non-boarding-school accent. I’m not trying to make this into a huge thing but as soon as I heard “Pair-iss” I said to myself, “Good God…that’s as bad as saying Eye-rack or Eye-talian.” It’s as bad as American grunts going to Paris in World War II and calling Pigalle, the Parisian prostitute district just south of Montmartre, “Pig Alley.”
For those smirking because they themselves say “Eye-rack,” the way to pronounce it (for the eighth or ninth time) is either “Uhr-rahq,” which is how the natives say it, or “Ihr-rahq,” which is how I say it. And with the accent on the second syllable. Anyone who says “Eye-rack” needs to get a clue because they sound like Clarence P. Muckle from Hayseed, Nebraska.