From ‘Is Promenade and Esplanade pronounced the same at the end?’ 10 Jan 2010, Today online
(Raymond Koh Joo Guan): I was quite amused by the daily announcements on the Circle Line MRT as it approaches Promenade and Esplanade Stations.
The pronunciation of Promenade was correctly announced as “prom-me-naad” but Esplanade was pronounced as “Es-pla-nayd”. Shouldn’t it be “Es-pla-naad”? Can SMRT verify if Esplanade is correctly pronounced in its announcements?
Firstly it should be a linguist that the writer needs to approach and not SMRT, and if indeed the recorded announcement of Esplanade were pronounced wrongly, would you seriously expect SMRT to eat humble pie and amend it? This is like complaining to the radio stations for having their DJs pronounce Saturday as the Americanised ‘Sare-turday’ ‘instead of ‘Sah-turday’, correcting the hawker fruit store uncles that you want a ‘ber-nare-nah’ and not ‘bah-nah-nah’, or tsk-tsking the French for calling the world’s best selling isotonic drink ‘Gato- rahd’ instead of ‘Gato-rayd’. Incredibly this confusion over the ‘ade’ at the end of words has been going on for over a 100 years, as seen in this letter below dated 26 August 1907 ‘Pronunciation in Singapore’. As classy as it seems to call it the Espla-nahd these days (rhymes with art, sort of), apparently it was ‘not equally pleasing’ in the olden days. Still, according to Merriam-Webster, it’s audio.pl?esplan01.wav=esplanade, but ‘nayd’ as explained by the Speak Good English website. Fine either way, it seems, but does makes one wonder why English is the most widely used language on the planet.
The other tricky MRT name to pronounce would be ‘Outram Park’, as seen in this 24 Dec 1987 article below. Since Outram is not an official word, the phonetics here is debatable, and till today we still have variations in the pronunciation (Ooo-tram vs Ohh-tram), but really, what’s the problem if people know exactly where the next station is, nevermind how it’s interpreted by different tongues? I mean, is it really wrong for someone to pronounce Lim Chu Kang as Lim Chu K-air-ng (as in bang), Tampines as Tam-Pines, or Pasir Ris as Pah-Say Ris?