Brian Taylor Is Living In A Fantasia World

The pronunciation dividing a nation

What you need to know
  • Is it Fan-tay-sha or Fan-ta-si-a?
  • It's definitely Fan-ta-si-a.
  • Just say Fan-ta-si-a.
  • I know change is scary, but just say it correctly.

Boy oh boy! Wowee! We’ve got a Big Boy McEvoy controversy on our hands today!

Everyone would agree that commentating AFL is hard. You’ve got to say inane things like ‘up the guts’ and ‘down the corridor’ and ‘free kick, Selwood’ for almost three hours at a time.

It’s a tough job. Perhaps the toughest part of the job is nailing the pronunciation of players’ names, particularly given that the game is so multicultural and features players from all over the world. There’s Aliir Aliir born to South Sudanese parents, Nic Naitanui whose family is from Fiji and even American Mason Cox (pronounced ‘cocks’).

But, one player who is dividing the Channel 7 commentary box is Orazio Fantasia, whose family hails from Italy. For the last few years, former AFL player and current commentator for Channel 7 and Triple M, Brian Taylor, has relished pronouncing the Essendon forward’s name, really extending the syllables and bellowing: “Oraaaaaazio Fan-tay-sha!” whenever Fantasia has been near the ball, and often when he has not been near the ball.

It’s become a trademark of BT’s commentary style alongside other classic lines such as calling any club in the NAB league a ‘footy factory’ (for example, “[insert player name] was recruited from the Calder Cannons footy factory”), describing a banana kick as a ‘nana’ and saying ‘did you see that?!’ after anything happens.

But, it turns out that BT has had it wrong. Last year, Fantasia told Triple M that his name is actually pronounced ‘Fan-ta-si-a’ and before Essendon’s clash with Sydney on Friday night, Dons captain Dyson Heppell reminded the Channel 7 commentary box of the correct pronunciation.

But, on Triple M on Saturday, BT announced with tongue-in-cheek that he wouldn’t change his pronunciation. “In Italy it’s ‘Fanta-si-a.’ Guess where we live? Australia, and we call it ‘Fan-tay-sha’,” Taylor said. “We don’t pronounce Italian names in Australia in the full Italian way. We pronounce it with the Australianism in it, and that’s how we’ll continue to do it.”

He might have a point when it comes to ordering bruschetta (we can all agree that only wankers pronounce it ‘broo-ske-ta’), but when it comes to a person’s name, it’s best to just go with how they want it to be pronounced.

Perhaps until BT changes his pronunciation, we should all start pronouncing his name ‘Brynne’ Taylor to see how he likes it.