Mayor's name given Aussie version
HE’S been called a lot of things over the years – a lot of them too crude to print in a newspaper.
In fact, since he got into politics, very few people have referred to the Mayor of Ipswich the way his mother would have intended.
Not that it bothers Mayor Paul Pisasale – a first generation Australian of Sicilian heritage who was born Paolo Pisasale (officially pronounced “Peesa-saleh”).
The long-serving mayor said the abbreviation of his name to “Pisarley” occurred many years ago as a result of his political aspirations, but was more out of the need to simplify the pronunciation, rather than the spelling.
“The pronunciation didn’t really change until after I left school and got into politics, when I had to deal with media all the time,” Cr Pisasale said.
“The media dumbed it down for me – they shortened it to make it easier for people to pronounce – so if you want to blame someone, blame the media.
“I think it’s just about making it easier – you look at some of the Russian names, the Czech and Indian names – you get a lot people who abbreviate to make it easier.”
Since he became mayor, the shortening of the name has caught on to the point where it has almost become common knowledge – only some members of broadcast media outside Queensland have dared to pronounce Cr Pisasale’s name in full and, in doing so, have often stumbled over their own tongues or got it wrong anyway.
Of course, Cr Pisasale’s Ipswich City councillor brother Charlie also goes by the shortened form of the name, and the Mayor said his children had inherited the simplified pronunciation.
“I was talking to the Italian Consul one day and they tried to explain the correct pronunciation to me, as if I didn’t know,” he said.
“At the end of the day it’s easier and people know how to spell it – and they didn’t necessarily know how to spell it 10 years ago.”
Despite being a proud Italian, Cr Pisasale’s mum is reportedly okay with the Aussie version of the family name.
According to the Mayor, Pisasale roughly translates to “a pinch of salt” – which he said was a good thing to bear in mind whenever people tried to poke fun at him over his surname.