My husband came down to dinner the other day with the exciting news that according to the quizmaster on Pointless the name of the Pacific island group of Kiribati is pronounced kirribash.
Here's Kiribati's very beautiful flag:
Well, that means I've been pronouncing Kiribati wrong all my life, but, hey, the ti in attention is pronounced sh, after all.
Just to be certain (the speakers on our flat-screen TV aren't very good) I looked up Kiribati on Wikipedia.
The first pronunciation Wikipedia gives is kiribess and the second kiribartee.
Does this mean I can carry on with saying kiribartee without people sniffing contemptuously and pulling their skirts aside whenever I enter a room?
Well, I consulted a third authority, my trusty Collins dictionary. And what did I find?
A choice between kiribass and kiribattee.
So what could I do? Use the original name of The Gilbert Islands and risk being thought colonialist?
No, I decided to consult a real expert.
The Kiribati Government website offers no opinion, but, ah, the tourist board says you pronounce the name kiribas, so that must be right.
...do you say that kiribaz? Kiribass? Kiribars? Kiribarss?
Word Probably Not To Use Today: Kiribati. This word is the Gilbertese pronunciation of Gilberts. The name was adopted at independence.