This morning I heard a BBC World Service announcer made reference to "Oppra" Winfrey, and it led me to wonder how that pronunciation became embedded in BrE and why it persists.
I assume the first few references to her in the UK were in print and "Oppra" was the natural assumption. However I would have thought by now that everyone knows how Oprah pronounces her name, and the correction would have been made but apparently not.
In a similar vein, I remember when "macho" gained widespread currency in the US, many BrE speakers said "makko" before the more usual "matcho" supplanted it. Place names come to mind, too. Many AmE speakers have a hell of a time with "Worcestershire" and BrE speakers often mangle "Houston."
And that all led me to wonder how such pronunciations and mispronunciations get embedded in the first place.

It seems it doesn't take long at all for a new or previously unfamiliar word from elsewhere to establish itself and get a local pronunciation, but if that local pronunciation turns out to be wrong or correct but in the minority it may never get changed. But then, sometimes it does who says "makko" in the UK these days?
Does anyone have thoughts about this process?
Can anyone point to other examples?
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I assume the first few references to her in the UK were in print and "Oppra" was the natural assumption. ... now that everyone knows how Oprah pronounces her name, and the correction would have been made but apparently not.

I don't think I've ever heard her speak. Should I have? Should I care? Assuming I did care, just for a moment, how should I pronounce her name?
Place names come to mind, too. Many AmE speakers have a hell of a time with "Worcestershire" and BrE speakers often mangle "Houston."

I think you'll find that, what with it being a Scottish placename to start with, it won't be Scots that mangle `Houston'. Such things are designed to identify outsiders, anyway. The hill I can see out of my office window is called `Dumyat' (`dum-eye-at') but it gets just about everyone, that one.
Does anyone have thoughts about this process?

It's elitism designed to identify outsiders, that's all.
Can anyone point to other examples?

Milngavie, Dalziel, Anstruther, Kirkcudbright, Penicuik... Scotland is absolutely stuffed with placenames designed to outwit the incomer.
SAm.
I assume the first few references to her in the ... the correction would have been made but apparently not.

I don't think I've ever heard her speak. Should I have? Should I care? Assuming I did care, just for a moment, how should I pronounce her name?

I think you'll find it's rather clear that my questions didn't have much or anything to do with whether or not you have heard her speak, want to hear her speak or care to hear her speak. I'm surprised that someone of your evident perspicacity apparently didn't understand what I was asking.
Place names come to mind, too. Many AmE speakers have a hell of a time with "Worcestershire" and BrE speakers often mangle "Houston."

I think you'll find that, what with it being a Scottish placename to start with, it won't be Scots that mangle `Houston'.

Probably not, but was the Houston I was referring to (the one in Texas) adopted from a Scottish place name?
However, let's not forget Houston Street in New York which bamboozles many outsiders including Scots, I wouldn't wonder.
Milngavie, Dalziel, Anstruther, Kirkcudbright, Penicuik... Scotland is absolutely stuffed with placenames designed to outwit the incomer.

Well that's an amusing answer but actually I was thinking of more than place names in general and Scottish place names in particular.
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This morning I heard a BBC World Service announcer made (sic) reference to "Oppra" Winfrey, and it led me to wonder how that pronunciation became embedded in BrE and why it persists.

Curiously, Ms. Winfrey's seems to represent a misapprehension of the biblical name .
This morning I heard a BBC World Service announcer made ... that pronunciation became embedded in BrE and why it persists.

Curiously, Ms. Winfrey's seems to represent a misapprehension of the biblical name .

Could be, but I've also seen references to "oprah" being a Hebrew word meaning "fawn." no idea if they are legot, however. Maybe someone can elucidate.
Curiously, Ms. Winfrey's seems to represent a misapprehension of the biblical name .

Could be, but I've also seen references to "oprah" being a Hebrew word meaning "fawn." no idea if they are legot, however. Maybe someone can elucidate.

A quick mini-google gets a fair number of hits for Oprah as a Hebrew girl's name. Also Ofrah and Ophrah.
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However, let's not forget Houston Street in New York which bamboozles many outsiders including Scots, I wouldn't wonder.

True. It's "Hozzna", according to some.
However, let's not forget Houston Street in New York which bamboozles many outsiders including Scots, I wouldn't wonder.

True. It's "Hozzna", according to some.

Not to be confused with hizzoner the mayor.
I've also seen references to "oprah" being a Hebrew word meaning "fawn."

Verb or noun?

SAm.
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