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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Illustration for article titled P.K. Subban Doesnt Really Care How French Speakers Pronounce His Name

There’s now a little bit of fuss—just un petit peu—over how broadcasters should pronounce Canadiens star P.K. Subban’s first initials. Should a French-language station, airing to mostly Francophone viewers, pronounce the name of an Anglophone player the way they would, or the way he would?


In the English-speaking world, you’d read P.K. as “pee-kay.” In Quebec, at least outside of the context of Subban’s name, you’d pronounce those letters “pay-kah.” A small and obscure French-language rights group has formally complained that RDS, the French broadcaster that carries Habs games, refers to Subban by the English pronunciation.

“I heard about this, it sounds kind of sexy actually,” Subban told reporters gathered around his stall. “I kind of like it.”


Longtime RDS Canadiens play-by-play man Pierre Houde tells La Presse that the formula is simple: the network tries to call players what they call themselves. Subban, who was born and raised in Ontario, goes by “pee-kay,” so “pee-kay” it is.

(Though Houde does wish English-language broadcasters would make more of an effort to respect Francophone players’ preferred pronunciations. He says he’s sick of hearing about this guy named “Mario Lemiuuuu.”)

Subban is having fun with the whole thing:

“Since we’re changing the pronunciation of my name, just start calling me Denzel,” Subban quipped after practice. “Can we throw that one in there too?”

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