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People like Chris Mathews of "Hardball" claim they cannot pronounce it
- but one would assume that native English speakers Beto grew up with
in Texas wouldn't have any difficulty saying it.
Perhaps a little background information would help here.
Who is Beto?
Democratic senatorial opponent of Ted Cruz (R-TX)
his last name
liberal commentator and talk-show host
"Beto" is left over from his childhood nickname for "Robert," a very
common form in his native El Paso
I like it. These nicknames (if that's the correct technical term) are
interesting. One of the Springboks (South African rugby team) who beat
the All Blacks last night [!!Yes -- New Zealand in shock!!] was a young
fellow named Faf de Klerk. His real name is François. Anybody heard
that one elsewhere?
On the technical term: I'm not sure there is one. But to me, a nickname
is a descriptive epithet (Lucky, Red, Fats...) relating to an individual's
characteristics or life history. What we're talking about here is a
(usually) phonologically simplified version of a normal personal name,
perhaps originating in child pronunciation, but standardized. It can in
principle be used with
any person bearing that name, though the individual may not accept
the usage ("My name's Robert, don't call me Beto!").