Pronouncing Ballet Namespet-EE-pah or PET-ee-pah
Posted 10 July 2003 - 12:46 PM
One of my favorite mispronunciations was of a dancer with the Dutch National Ballet who substituted for someone else in New York; we were told that VAH day VAH tall would be dancing. Sounded Dutch to me. Nope, it's Wade Wathall, just the way you'd pronounce it in Texas, I learned years later.
Posted 10 July 2003 - 07:02 PM
Posted 11 July 2003 - 05:37 PM
Posted 11 July 2003 - 06:10 PM
Posted 13 July 2003 - 08:45 AM
As for your list, my pronunciations are:
Agon -- A' gon (short A, like in "back"; although I've heard people pronounce it "ah-GON" to rhyme with "a loan". Supposedly this is the "authentic Greek" pronunciation, although my college Greek teacher taught us that there are at least five schools of "authentic" Greek pronunciation, since there's no one left who can verify it.)
Bugaku - Boo Gah Koo -- slight accent on the first syllable
Onegin -- Oh NYAY gen
Tzigane -- Zi GAN ah
La Bayadere -- La By ah dare
Posted 13 July 2003 - 11:03 AM
Posted 13 July 2003 - 11:36 AM
[editing to add]
There can be differences, though. If you're saying:
My daughter takes ballet -- bal LAY
I love ballet -- bal LAY
"Swan Lake" is my favorite ballet -- bal LAY
BUT if the word is in a name, it seems to me the word is pronounced flatly, with no real accent:
American Bal-lay Theater
Perhaps this is determined by the rhythm of the surrounding words? Not being a linguist, I can't say.
Edited by Alexandra, 16 July 2003 - 08:21 AM.
Posted 13 July 2003 - 12:02 PM
I think, Alexandra, that your pronunciation of ballet might reflect an east coast rather than a general habit in America. Many Americans tend to accent the last syllable in what French people would regard as even-syllabled words, as for example garAHge. I had to walk out of the film of The Chorus Line because I went to see to see it on a hot summer's day in a thin cotton shirt, and found Arctic temperatures prevailing inside the cinema. The management refused to adjust the thermostat, and so I had to exit to avoid hypothermia--but not before I had heard a song that went something like "At the ballAY, at the ballAY"!
Posted 13 July 2003 - 12:08 PM
Posted 13 July 2003 - 01:01 PM
A note -- it's genuinely fascinating to get different pronuncations from around the world, but in this case, it could be confusing. People are posting "How do I pronounce this word or that word." They want to be able to talk about ballet with others and be sure they're pronouncing the word correctly. As I've stated, I'm giving American pronunciations as I understand and use them (often after having been corrected, or asking, others as I made my way along the same bumpy road!). Hans is posting what are correct pronunciations in American classes. So far, the questioners have been American, I think. If this becomes an international thread -- if someone from Switzerland or New Zealand wants to know how to pronounce a step or proper name -- perhaps it's best if someone from the questioner's country answered.
Posted 17 July 2003 - 06:52 AM
Was it Noel Coward who described the English and Americans as two peoples divided by a common language?
I think that it's best to find out what's the accepted pronounciation in your home country - for example, there's a certain painter that the English call Van Goff, the Americas Van Go and the Dutch Fon Hoh, with a gutteral H at both ends!
Personally, I always get into trouble with the word sorbet which, being Arabic in derivation rather than French, should be pronounced the same way a sherbet - but if you don't ask for sorbay, the waiter thinks you're ignorant.
Posted 17 July 2003 - 06:59 AM
Posted 17 July 2003 - 07:33 AM
Posted 17 July 2003 - 07:39 AM
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