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Pronouncing Ballet Namespet-EE-pah or PET-ee-pah


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#31 Ari

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 08:28 AM

I've always thought that Americans will take a foreign word into the language as a foreign word, where other English speakers adapt the word to fits their own pronunciation rules

I've noticed that with some Italian words, too. When I was in Italy I was puzzled by the inclusion of "rocket" as an ingredient in salads (in the translation). Then I looked at the Italian and was relieved to discover that it was arugula.

#32 Alexandra

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 08:32 AM

I like that one, Ari -- explosion salad :) Jane D's reference to the "two people divided by a common language" quote is often used to point out how the same thing has different names in English, as opposed to English :) (lift/elevator, lorry/truck, etc.)

#33 Estelle

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 02:01 PM

As a general note on the pronunciation of French words, the accent is almost always on the last syllable.  "Sucre" is an exception (but not "sucré"), and I'm sure there are others, but in general, it's ball-AY, pee-KAY, bat-MANH, &c.

Well, you're almost right. :) The rule is:

-when the last syllable has a "e muet" (mute e, I don't know if it's the correct word in English), like in "sucre" (sugar) and in a lot of other words (e.g. "danse" (dance), "danseuse" (female dancer), "jambe" (leg), "épaule" (shoulder), "valse" (waltz), "sissonne", "pavane", "arabesque", "chorégraphe" (choreographer), "ballerine"...) then the accent is on the penultimate syllable (SU-cre, DAN-se, dan-SEU-se, JAM-be, é-PAU-le, VAL-se, etc.)
Actually the final "e" is almost not pronounced (but it depends a little bit on the regional accent). This happens in general when the final "e" is just after a consonant.

-else the accent is on the last syllable (dan-SEUR (dancer), bal-LET, opé-RA, chorégra-PHIE (choreography), je-TE, soubre-SAUT...)

But it seems to me that in general the stress on the accented syllable is a bit less strong in French than in English (but it probably depends on the regional accent...)

Actually memorizing where the accent is in English words is not easy for a French speaker!
:(

In French arugula is "roquette" so it's indeed the same word as "rocket"! There's also "riquette" which is another kind of salad (of the region of Nice, I think) but very similar. And even in Italy, arugula has a lot of different names (rucola for example).

About Petipa, just to make everything more complicated :) I wonder how himself pronounced his name? Perhaps it is of Italian or Provençal origin, and so it was Pe-TI-pa? Anyway his name always makes newcomers laugh because it's pronounced the same as "petits pas" (small steps)...

By the way, how is pronounced "Balanchine"?

#34 K8smom

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 02:44 PM

My daughter had a ballet teacher whose cat was named Petti-paws.

#35 Alexandra

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 03:06 PM

What a perfect name for a ballet cat!

Estelle, thank you for the French lesson. The accents in French DO seem much more orderly than in English!

I don't know how to do it phonetically, but Balanchine is pronounced BAL an cheen
As for Balanchivadze -- ???? bal an shee VAD ze is what I've heard, but I'm sure it sounds different in Georgian.

(Another Americanization of a name I just remembered -- Helgi Tomasson. In Iceland or Denmark, he would be Toe MASS son; here, it's TOM a son.)

#36 carbro

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 03:26 PM

(Another Americanization of a name I just remembered -- Helgi Tomasson.  In Iceland or Denmark, he would be Toe MASS son; here, it's TOM a son.)

Or maybe that's another American regionalization. :) After mispronouncing it once (more, actually, I'm sure), the State Theater crowd made sure I knew it was to-MAS-son.

#37 Alexandra

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 04:40 PM

This one I got from the source :) I had to interview, and introduce, Tomasson years ago at a symposium at the Kennedy Center and I asked him. He said, there it's Toe MASS son, here it's TOM a son.

#38 Hans

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 04:48 PM

You are of course right, Estelle--I was writing for English speakers who would probably not pronounce the "e" at all (it always bothers me, though, when people say "Les Misérab"). I notice that in classical singing, the e muet seems to always be fully pronounced as a separate syllable, though it's often barely audible when spoken.

Alexandra, if Balanchivadze is pronounced with the same accent as my teacher's name (Djou-lou-kha'-dze), then the stress is indeed on the next to last syllable, but I am certainly no expert on Georgian surnames!

Maybe I'm weird, but I've only heard "Tomasson" pronounced with the accent on the 2nd syllable.

#39 Ari

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 05:09 PM

While on the subject of Georgian names, what about Ananiashvili?

I've always pronounced it Ah-nan-YASH-vee-lee. But the former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, John Shalikashvili, pronounced his name Shall-ee-kash-VEE-lee.

Anyone?

#40 Hans

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 05:35 PM

Ari, I've always heard "Ananiashvili" pronounced with the accent on the next to last syllable.

We wouldn't happen to have any Georgians on the board, would we? :)

#41 Big Lee

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 08:03 PM

I'm not sure about Ananiashvili, but there is a georgian violinist I much admire named Batiashvili, and I always have heard her name pronounced with the accent on the second to last syllable. It think I have read some board members report that they have met her, I wonder if they have any special insight.

I'd like to add two questions to the list, if I may:

First, I was looking at the Fall ABT schedule and noticed some works choreographed by Jiri Kylian, which I have no clue how to pronounce.

Also I'm a bit at a loss with NYCB dancer Nicholas Magallanes.

#42 carbro

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 08:10 PM

ma-ga-YA-ness

#43 Estelle

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Posted 18 July 2003 - 02:02 AM

You are of course right, Estelle--I was writing for English speakers who would probably not pronounce the "e" at all (it always bothers me, though, when people say "Les Misérab").  I notice that in classical singing, the e muet seems to always be fully pronounced as a separate syllable, though it's often barely audible when spoken. 

I don't know much about classical singing, but perhaps it's a bit the same as in poetry: when the "e muet" is followed by a consonent, it does count as a syllable (but not when it's followed by a vowel), and also in classical poetry, some "e"s which wouldn't be pronounced at all in modern French (like the final "e" in "envie") are pronounced. For example, in Verlaine's verses "Il pleure dans mon coeur / Comme il pleut sur la ville", the final "e" of "pleure" does count (so that each verse has 6 syllables), it's the same for Baudelaire's "Une atmosphère obscure enveloppe la ville": the final "e" of "enveloppe" does count while those of "atmosphère", "obscure", and "ville" don't.

But well, I'm a getting a bit off-topic... :blushing:

Are there any rules about where to put the accent in English or American names?

And just by curiosity: how are Millepied and Marcovici pronounced?

#44 Alexandra

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Posted 18 July 2003 - 05:56 AM

Jiri Kylian: I've always said/heard YEER ee KILL ee yan But I don't know.

It also occurred to me that our attempts at writing things phonetically may not work around the globe. Estelle, the "chine" in Balanchine rhymes with keen or mean, and the "ch" is pronounced like in the English word "chew," if that helps.

You just want to know about Millepied and Marcovici to see how far off the mark we are!!! :blushing: I've heard them as MILL a pyay and Mar ko VEECH ee

#45 Hans

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Posted 18 July 2003 - 07:28 AM

As for rules about how to stress American names, I don't think there can be any because almost all the names here had their origins somewhere else.

I've heard "Millepied" and "Marcovici" pronounced the same way you describe, Alexandra; the trouble is that Marcovici is a French person with an Italian name! I know how it would generally be pronounced in Italian, but I imagine that in French it would be Mark-oh-vi-CHI...am not 100% on that, though. Millepied is rather simpler, as both his nationality and name are French (as far as I know) so I think that in French the stress would be on the last syllable. Estelle, "pied" is considered a monosyllabic word in French, right?


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