The Gershwins served up “poe-tah-toe” in their pronunciation-divide ditty Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off for a roller-skating Fred and Ginger to deliver in the movie Shall We Dance some 75 years back.
Forward to 2012, and you and I (when the mood takes us) write Gaddafi, while to Libyans the Colonel appears as قذافي. Put the shoe/skate on the other foot and كاميرون is how most Arabs spell Cameron, أوباما is Obama.
Now, try scribbling your own name in 廣東話 … (that’s Cantonese) followed by ਪੰਜਾਬੀ … (that’s Punjabi).
Perhaps the disUnited Nations of language divides us more than Fred and Ginger ever experienced? I’m guessing they called their whole thing on by the film’s end, then tucked into celebratory “poe-tah-toes” and “toe-may-toes”. Bon appétit.