Alexandra

Pronunciation of Ballet Names

142 posts in this topic

Three ABT names I have wondered about:

Gomes: Is it Gomez or does it rhyme with "homes"?

Steiffel: (not even sure how to spell it) Is it Steyefel or Steefel?

Xiomara: I have heard it pronounce Shiomahra? Is that correct?

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Gomes: Neither. GO-mesh; it's Portuguese.

Stiefel: STEE-fel, according to the recent PBS Special, I believe.

Xiomara: Well, I've been fudging it as a kind of Dzho/Cho -MAR-a :toot: , but I'm learning that calling her X-Rey's :devil: communicates adequately. :D

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My Internet search indicated that Xiomara is pronounced "sio-MA-ra."

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A grande reverence to djb for the most profound knowledge of Russian phonetics - having got a BA in Russian language and literature, I do have lots of respect for people who actually had that phonetcs subject figured out (trust me, it is NOT an easy subject even for native Russian speakers :wink: :green: ), and even better - are capable of explaining it to others "short and sweet". :D

As a native Russian speaker I vouch for djb - no Russian phonetics professor could've put it any more clear for you! :wacko: You actually had that "YO" character figured out!!

BRAVISSIMO DJB ! :D:D:D

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i was told casually that marcelo gomes was mar-SELL-o GO-mess, tho' the person cuing me was really trying to steer me clear of saying: mar-CHELL-o GO-mezz which was the tendency around the time the young dancer arrived in nyc from brazil.

but as i say i am NO linguist and i suppose those who know their portugese can speak w/ far better authority than a PR person at a.b.t.

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How do you pronounce Kostchei (Kastchei) the evil magician in Firebird?  Is there a prefered spelling? I'm labeling costumes as I speak (well type)!

It is Kah-she'ey - I guess, it is better later than never, eh?

It IS a difficult word to figure - this transliteration from Russian is quite confusing. I'd tranlsiterate that evil character as Kashay (or Kashey), as it would be reading closer to the original Russian word :wacko:

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Yo, Marianna! :wacko: Thank you so much. Maybe I should think about a new career. (Actually, I’m already working toward getting into a new career — teaching English to speakers of other languages.)

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i was told casually that marcelo gomes was mar-SELL-o GO-mess, tho' the person cuing me was really trying to steer me clear of saying: mar-CHELL-o GO-mezz which was the tendency around the time the young dancer arrived in nyc from brazil.

mar-SELL-oh is correct, but Gomes is GO-mesh, not too heavy on the "eh" sound as it is almost "ih"

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I was looking at the Ballet Arizona website, and in their FAQ was the following Q&A:

'How do you pronounce artistic director Ib Andersen's first name?

'His first name is pronounced eb with a long "e" sound as in beet, and tree. Ib was born and raised in Denmark.'

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Yo, Marianna!  :)  Thank you so much.  Maybe I should think about a new career.  (Actually, I’m already working toward getting into a new career — teaching English to speakers of other languages.)

I am sure you will make a great teacher, djb - your students will love you for your detailed style.

BTW, did you take some Russian back then, OR do you have any Russian background? - As your Russian is suspiciously good :unsure:

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Thank you again, Marianna! I did study Russian off and on for 4 years, from 1988-1991, and went to Russia 3 times during that period. On the last trip, I took Russian classes (nothing but Russian spoken) at the Patrice Lmumba Institute in Moscow for a month (my comprehension improved 200%!). But I was never a very serious student, and I didn't keep it up, so what remains is mostly an understanding of grammar.

One frustrating thing about Russian is that I can't figure out whether there are any rules to help figure out which syllable to accent in names. Unless I actually know the root word of the name, I have no idea which syllable to stress. For instance, I was very surprised when I heard the pronunciation TER'ekhova. Stressing the first syllable was the last way I'd have thought to pronounce it.

I learned something new recently. I'd always thought that the "aya" endings never have the stress anywhere in the "aya," because it's the feminine form of the masculine ending "i," which isn't stressed. But recently I started reading "War and Peace" (in English), and this edition has a very thorough guide to the names of the main characters, including the patronymics and various diminutive forms. It also shows which syllable is stressed in all the names. One of the family names is "DrubetSKOI." The masculine ending "oi" is stressed, so of course, the feminine form would be "DrubetSKA'ya." It pays to read!

(I know there are many people out there who are probably bored stiff by this sort of stuff, but I love it!)

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djb, there are several people on this board who are learning Russian (not me), and I'm sure they're fascinated. If you ever figure out the secret to TER eh ko va please clue us in!

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I will give my input on correct pronunciation of the Spanish names-

Angel Corella is pronounced an hel ko re ya

Jose Manuel Carreno is ho se man uel karre njo ( I am not sure of the last syllable as the n has the little line on top of it and it has a singular spanish sound which cannot be accurately translated into english but the sound is reproduced somewhat with the combination of the letters enje.)

Tamara Rojo is ta ma ra roho, the j is pronounced as h in spanish.

Marianela Nunez is mar y an ela nu njes, again the singular pronunciation of the n with the little line on top.

Herman Cornejo is err man cor ne ho

Joaquin de Luz is hoe a kuin de luus

Jose Martinez is hoe se mar ti nes

Lucia Lacarra is lu sia la carra

Xiomara Reyes is si o mara re yes

Carlos Acosta is car los a costa

Arantxa Ochoa is ar an cha ocho a

:cool2:

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I know it's EEB, but I think it's more fun to think of him as iB ......

sometimes we have to go to great lengths to retain a sense of humor

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I learned something new recently.  I'd always thought that the "aya" endings never have the stress anywhere in the "aya," because it's the feminine form of the masculine ending "i," which isn't stressed.  But recently I started reading "War and Peace" (in English), and this edition has a very thorough guide to the names of the main characters, including the patronymics and various diminutive forms.  It also shows which syllable is stressed in all the names.  One of the family names is "DrubetSKOI." The masculine ending "oi" is stressed, so of course, the feminine form would be "DrubetSKA'ya."  It pays to read!

(I know there are many people out there who are probably bored stiff by this sort of stuff, but I love it!)

Privet djb :lol:

we seem to share passion for ballet AND languages :wub: I can envision some 3 + hour conversations - IF we were in the circumstances to have a "live" talk :grinning:

I guess i should try really hard not to go on for ever now :flowers:

The issue with the stressed syllable that you've recently discovered reading Tolstoy - it is about something that Russia has lost back in 1917: aristocracy. Those noble families last names were DISTINGUISHED from the lower class people's last names by exactly this trick - by putting a last syllable under stress (IF the endings were -OY (-OI) for men and -AYA for women) . The "lowly" people had their last names stressed ANYWHERE BUT their last syllables.

Here is another perfect example (which will round up my speech this time): Ivanov is believed to be the most common Russian last name. Everyone I know knows at least one person with a last name Ivanov or Ivanova (for females), the letter "O" comes always unders stress. I hope you're sensing the link i'm trying to make here to the Swan Lake's choreographers - Petipa and IVANOV. To show appreciation for that gentleman's outstanding work for the Russian ballet, HIS last name was pronounced then and NOW (by knowing people - like me :wink: )as IvAnov - to make his last name sound distinguished, and I guess - noble (vs. thousands of other perfectly ordinary IvanOvs).

There is nothing written in stone in any language, so you just learn as you go (for example - i was really surprised that the letters "i" and "e" in the words "recipe" and "recite" do not read the same (well, it is a French word for you, "recipe" - isn't that obvious - one of the native English speakers remarked to me :ermm: :shrug: :D:D

PS Alexandra - see, see - i am ALWAYS trying to have ballet issues involved, even when yak-yaking about Russian language - you gotta love me for this :)

PPS I just dawned on me - half if not more of the "War and Peace" is written in French anyway. Do you feel that your French is improving, too, djb ?

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Marianna - Thanks for the info. I knew about the different stresses in Ivanov, but I didn't realize it carried over into other names. Do you suppose the aristrocracy's penchant for putting the stress on the last syllable could have something to do with the accented final syllables in French? (That is, that's how the French would pronounce the name?)

My edition of War and Peace has taken the liberty of translating much of the French into English, and just making a notation that so-and-so is speaking French. Only an occasional sentence is in French. It would be nice if more of the book were in French, for purposes of practice.

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My theory for that specific way of stressing the last syllables in certain Russian NOBLE lastnames (ending with -OY/-AYA) was that those folks really were trying to maintain that their family is coming from BAAAAAAAAAAAAACK THEN when the last names were stressed in that funny odd manner (and we are talking - back in X century and earlier). So most likely the point made was that "I'm coming from a really ancient roots and just want to make sure everyone makes a note of that and gets profoundly impressed" - that was supposed to evoke great respect. (NB: actually i do think it is great when people can follow up their genealogical "tree" back that far, i am not the lucky one :shrug: )

Russian last names - they way they sound now - are different from the way they were back between V and XIV-XV c.c. (they were more like nick names, like FAT, TALL, BLACK, DIRTY, PRETTY, WHITE, etc. (what do you think "TOLSTOY" means in Russian, if you only just move the syllable? Exactly "FAT MAN"!), there was a change in the XVIII-XIX c.c. (when last names were given by the children's father first name "FATHER'S FIRST NAME/OCCUPATION+ -OY/-AYA; -EV/-EVA, etc. IVAN-OV ("John's son" - literally), PONOMAR-EV (there is an add by Mark Haegeman about mime PONOMAREV, btw :) ) = "CHURCHBELL-RINGER'S SON" - the word "SON" has been dropped out at some point, though), which gradually brought Russian lastnames to sound the way they do now - a mix of everything.

Hope that quick excursion to the history of Russian last names could/would help some at some aspects.

PS I found it hilarious that there were remarks in the "War and Peace" English edition that so-and-so is speaking French (it is a bit like those movies with sub-titles before the sound was brought to the cinematograph :ermm: ). I WISH, though, WE had those endless dialogues in French from "War and Peace" translated to Russian!!! THat would've saved me hours of reading at school!

PPS Am very much looking forward to start taking French classes in January!!! Beautiful language - and comes very useful in Canada, too! :grinning: Besides, that is the international ballet language - the language of my gods, godesses and idols :flowers:

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Too bad they didn't have ballet dancers way back when Russians were creating last names from their father's occupation -- we could have had someone with the last name "Balerinov" (and Balerinova)!

Maybe you can answer this, Marianna. What is a "baryshnik"? I have a vague idea that I saw a word in Russian that looked like that, that means "horse dealer" or something similar.

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Apropos of last names only, "Ballerino" in Italian is still a last name. I found a site, doing research for another project, that lists Italian surnames and places them geographically; you can click on a name and see where all the people with that name live. (There are still Taglionis and Grisis and Blasis around Milan!) And there are quite a few Sr. Ballerinos. I'd love to do a family history.

So maybe there are some Balerinovs in Russia!

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Alexandra, do you you have that link handy?

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DJB - you are simply brilliant!! :lol: Second grande reverence comes to you :D:thumbsup: YOU'VE GOT THAT RAZOR SHARP LINGUIST'S SET OF MIND!

And most likely Alexandra IS right and there are some Balerinovs and Balerinovas living in Russia!! But there are definitely no Balerinovs in my family tree :shrug:

Another good example of moving a stress in a lastname to make it sound DISTINGUISHED - "divina ballerina" of Mariinsky young Diana VishnYOva's last name is/would be USUALLY pronounced with a stress falling on that "YO" vowel ("e" with two dots above it) - however, I keep hearing now and then - when the last name is mentioned in the ballet circles - the stress has moved to the very first syllable making the common last name sound distinguished - as VEE-shneva. Those distinguished noble people !! :wink:

I'll try to answer your question about "BARYSHNIK" (yes- yes, definitely, one is sitting on a family tree of that famous Mikhail :wink: ). "BARYSH" is actually a word of TURKIC origin which was "borrowed" by Russian language from Turkish during the extensive cultural/trade/war exchange between Russians and Turks back then (i would think, back in XVII-XVIII cc.). I do not know what this word means in Turkish but in Russian it means "PROFIT/INTEREST FROM A DEAL" (and I wouldn't even try to guess what it could mean in Turkish as - this is really amusing! - the Turkish word BARDAK means only a GLASS (a glass of water), but it is A BAD MESS in Russian; Turkic DURAK is only A STOP (like a BUS STOP) - but it means FOOL in Russian; there is a nice Turkish male name BARAN - it actually means MALE SHEEP in Russian and is often associated with really dumb people. Cool, eh? (my four summer vacations spent in Turkey scuba-diving didn't go wasted) :D

So, "HORSE DEALER" may be applicable in case when we're talking about someone making a profit - BARYSHNIK, that fits the description, no?

I will burst like a big bubble if I won't tell you this now (and shoot me if you have already known this!) - NUR-eyev comes from another Turkic word meaning - NUR<=>DIAMOND or LIGHT (and something divine on the top of it all). Isn't that something?

Au revoir for now (and I was planning this one to be a really 'short and sweet' one :blushing: :sleeping:

PS A propos, I could also tell you later where meanings of the last names of Ulanova, Vasilyev, Lopatkina come from - if you really care to know :)

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Thanks, Marianna -- I'm definitely interested in hearing all. I'll have to hurry and get up to 30 posts, or whatever it is.

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Love the Nureyev story -- I've read that there are hordes of Nureyevs in Ufa, but I still like the derivation. I'm sure people would be interested in others!

djb, I do have the link handy :)

Here's a master page about Italian names: (I have no Italian blood, just curious about 19th century ballet history!)

http://www.angelfire.com/ok3/pearlsofwisdo...italynames.html

For a direct link to finding where people live, try this one:

http://elenco.libero.it/elencotel/public/R...rcaOmonimie.jsp

It is, I think, a phone directory (!!!) Put in a name and you'll get a map with little circles on it (indicating all the people named Blasi, say, if that's what you're searching for). Click on each region and you'll get the names, addresses and phone numbers, by province, city, suburb, whatever, of all the present day Blasis!

If you're interested in the derivation of names, try this. (It's in Italian, but I was surprised how much I could read of it, and you can always copy something into one of the translation sites)

http://www.melegnano.net/cognomi/cognomi00.htm

That site must have taken so much work!!!!

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