It’s time for another scolding about another mispronunication. Case in point: The last name of special prosecutor Robert Mueller. It’s a German name, of course, and the easiest explanation is to break it into two syllables. The first syllable is pronounced like “mule” and the second is pronounced “lehr.” And yet every cable news and radio announcer pronounces it “muller” — first syllable “mull” (as in mulling something over) followed by “lur.” Film mavens are familiar with the still-living German actor Armin Mueller-Stahl, and that his last name has always been pronounced mule-ler and not muller. And don’t forget Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Most Americans are total rubes when it comes to respecting pronunications of foreign last names. A year ago I explained how to pronounce the last name of Marvel Films honcho Kevin Feige — “fye-guh” or “fayge” but not fucking fay-gee. In ’15 I riffed about the yokel way to pronounce the last name of Melissa “Supergirl” Benoist. Semi-cultivated types pronounce this French-origin name as “Ben-whah” while dogpatch Americans pronounce it “Ben-oh-ist” with Benoist herself pronouncing it “Ben-OYST.”