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Monday, June 06, 2005
In 2003, President Bush was on the defense for erroneously asserting in his State of the Union that Saddam Hussein tried to buy uranium from an unnamed African country. The rpesident was referring to Niger, how is the country's name pronounced?

It's not "NYE-jur", Explainer used this pronounciation when he called Niger's embassy and was vigorously chided by the receptionist.Those in the know use the French-sounding "nee-ZHER", and emphasized the second syllable sot the word makes an approximately rhyme with Pierre.

Until 1960, Niger was a colony of France, and French is still Niger's official language. Its neighbor Nigeria, with which it is occasionally confused, was under English control before it gained its independence, also in 1960; that's why the pronunciation differ so sharply. What do you call someone who hails from Niger? Old-schoolers (and, in what an editior there called "something of an oversight", the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary) still use the archaic Nigerois (nee-zher-WAH); more common and up-to-date is Nigerien (nee-ZHER-yen). Still, both are acceptable, as long as you don't call your friend in Niamey a Nigerian.

(abstracted from the Book: "The Explainer" by authors of Slate Magazine)
posted by infraternam meam @ 1:38 AM  
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Name: infraternam meam
Home: Chicago, United States
About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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