Foreign deities / Fremde Götter

Today is Prince Philip’s 86th birthday. In parts of Vanuatu he is worshipped as a god. He is the pale ancestral spirit who left to marry a powerful woman. BBC News is right that we should not make fun of these people for adapting their traditional myths to come to terms with becoming a British colony, now independent since 1980. It is unlikely they have heard of the remarks Prince Philip sometimes makes about foreigners.

A similar phenomenon is the worship of Rosamunde Pilcher in Germany. Her name has been fully Germanized: her first name is given four syllables, as in the German version of Roll out the Barrel, and her second name has acquired a non-English ch sound. This suits the regular TV dramatizations of her novels with a German cast. There’s one on tonight, but not to celebrate Prince Philip’s birthday.

LATER NOTE: the Phonetik blog has commented succinctly on this:

In den bildungsbürgerlichen Kreisen, durch deren linguistisches Interesse sich in der Regel die korrekte Lautung fremdsprachlicher Namen verbreitet, ist es verpönt, Pilcher-Bücher oder deren Verfilmungen zu kennen.

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