Alexandra

Pronunciation of Ballet Names

142 posts in this topic

Gee, HF, thanks! How on earth did you find that??? (reply optional :helpsmilie:)

SHO-mo-shi, SHO-mo-shi . . . .

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Yuan Yuan Tan?

And as for Sylvie Guillem, is it Sylvee or Sylvia?

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

Thank you carbo for this correct pronunciation. :wink: At school we always said Go-mez. I always wondered about the correctness of this pronunciation.

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Not long ago, I heard Kevin McKenzie refer to him as "GO-mez," so apparently Marcelo isn't fighting the tide.

The person who clued me in to GO-mesh, btw, was BT member Zveiglar, so if I'm wrong, you know whom to blame. :wink:

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And as for Sylvie Guillem, is it Sylvee or Sylvia?

It's Sylvee in French. :wink:

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Mr. Gomes introduces himself "Go-mez", however that may be from hearing Americans mispronounce it for 3 years at school in the US. We go back to school tomorrow, where there are still a few Brazilians, I will ask them! :wink:

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I was able to ask our Brazilian students today...in some parts of Brazil, they say Gom-ez and in other parts of Brazil and Portugal they say Gom-esh. As with most languages...regional differences are ample. :clapping:

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...in some parts of Brazil, they say Gom-ez and in other parts of Brazil and Portugal they say Gom-esh
Sheeesh! :clapping:

Thanks for researching, vrs!

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Angel and Carmen are Ko-RAY-yah.  (In Spanish, a double "L" makes the sound of a "Y", as in "yes.")

This is true for Latin America. In much of Spain there's a hint of the "L" -- along with the "y" -- in the pronunciation of the LL.

However, in contemporary Spain, as in Britain, it's increasingly okay to utilize pronunciations based on region, class, age, and attitude.

Of course my favorite is when listening to a Spanish (as opposed to Latin/S.American) accent and hearing the Hap/bsburg lisp come down through 500+ years of history. Amazing.

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when MARCELO GOMEZ first arrived at ABT i was told by member of the staff that his name was pronounced:

marSELLo GOmess

all of which was meant to prevent my saying: marCHELo GOmezz

but i haven't asked again and haven't heard differently.

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I think Mar-SELL-o is right.

Of course my favorite is when listening to a Spanish (as opposed to Latin/S.American) accent and hearing the Hap/bsburg lisp come down through 500+ years of history. Amazing.
I'm an old fogey on this one. I like the lisp. Por thee-EHR-to. Hoewver, the lisp never applies to dancers from outside Spain -- or, more narrowly, from the center of Spain where "Castilian" is spoken.

Thus one of the Madrid theaters which feature dance, Teatro Albeniz, is pronounced Tay-AH-tro Al-BAY-nith. But a theater like the Gran Liceu in might be prounounced Lee-SEH--oo, Lee-SAY-oo, or Lee-THAY-oo, depending on whether you're speaking Catalan, Castilian, or non-Castilian Spanish.

I have no idea how Spaniards themselves determine how whether or not to lisp. For instance, Lucia Lacarra, was born on the north coast in the Basque country, that is, outside Castlia. But her name is not Basque, and she studied in Madrid, the world capital of the lisp. Would that make her "Loo-SEE-a" or "Loo-THEE-a"?

And what about all the other wonderful Spanish-born dancers with "ci", "ce" or "z" in their names? Maybe one of our posters from Spain can help us on this.

and let's not forget artist's question re Yuan Yuan Tan. We have 6 pages of pronunciations over the years (mostly Russian and Spanish), but this seems to be the first inquiry about a Chinese name. There are many Chinese dancers in American and European companies, as we know. Can anyone give us a pronunciation list of the names of Chinese dancers to bring this STICKY into the 21st Century?

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In school ,we called Mr. Gomes (G-O-M-E-Z) M-A-R-S-E-L-L-O. Difficult for me, with my Italian background. He never corrected me then and he has never corrected me since. He pronounces his name...

M-A-R-S-E-L-L-O.

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. . . all of which was meant to prevent my saying: marCHELo . . .
Which would have been fine had he been Italian, but if he were he'd have another "L".
He never corrected me then and he has never corrected me since.
Sometimes correcting is just such a nuisance, but then it gets to a point where it's gone on too long to correct someone without embarrassing them. For over 30 years, my neighbor in the next apartment called me "Carla." Only when the neighbors started an e-mail circle and he saw it written did he realize I have an "EY" instead of an "A".:off topic:

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I think Mar-SELL-o is right.

Of course my favorite is when listening to a Spanish (as opposed to Latin/S.American) accent and hearing the Hap/bsburg lisp come down through 500+ years of history. Amazing.

I'm an old fogey on this one. I like the lisp. Por thee-EHR-to. Hoewver, the lisp never applies to dancers from outside Spain -- or, more narrowly, from the center of Spain where "Castilian" is spoken.

Thus one of the Madrid theaters which feature dance, Teatro Albeniz, is pronounced Tay-AH-tro Al-BAY-nith. But a theater like the Gran Liceu in might be prounounced Lee-SHAY-oo, Lee-SAY-oo, or Lee-THAY-oo, depending on whether you're speaking Catalan, Castilian, or non-Castilian Spanish.

I have no idea how Spaniards themselves determine how whether or not to lisp. For instance, Lucia Lacarra, was born on the north coast in the Basque country, that is, outside Castlia. But her name is not Basque, and she studied in Madrid, the world capital of the lisp. Would that make her "Loo-SEE-a" or "Loo-THEE-a"?

And what about all the other wonderful Spanish-born dancers with "ci", "ce" or "z" in their names? Maybe one of our posters from Spain can help us on this.

and let's not forget artist's question re Yuan Yuan Tan. We have 6 pages of pronunciations over the years (mostly Russian and Spanish), but this seems to be the first inquiry about a Chinese name. There are many Chinese dancers in American and European companies, as we know. Can anyone give us a pronunciation list of the names of Chinese dancers to bring this STICKY into the 21st Century?

Which was why I was so amazed when I heard that Spanish accent, and realized how it had been derived--500+ years ago! I LOVE how an accent (regional or otherwise) can still remain intact through all those generations and intervening tumultuous events and migrations. And until I visited NYC, I actually had never heard a Spanish (from Spain) accent as opposed to a Latin/South American accent. So it was a double treat--to try and revive my very rusty understanding (I learned Spanish at age 4, and didn't get too much practice after I switched to French and Japanese) while determining the accent variations.

BTW: Thank you SO much for differentiating between regional variations for me & BT. It's been most informative. Another question: Is a grammatical accent on Liceu missing? I tend to think of it as more French: Lee-SIEUX (syure) or is it shure? or thure? That is, not three separate syllables but two.

The only thing I do know about chinese is that Wang is usually pronounced WONG. So maybe the same applies to Tan? Yuan would depend how it is 'slurred together' so it's not exactly 1 or exactly 2 syllables, but a combination. And of course in Chinese, if you say it wrong you could mean something TOTALLY different. Or how about differences in Mandarin vs. Cantonese vs.?

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I’m afraid that this is a very difficult matter as bart is right and it depends on whether you are talking in Spanish (Castellano) or Catalan or other regional languages of Spain.

What I can tell you is that for instance the “ll” in Corella doesn’t correspond to the “y” of yes, no matter if you pronounce it in Spanish or Catalan, but I do not know how to show you how it sounds, I’m afraid it doesn’t have a correspondent in English.

Gomez should be said Gome”th” as Lucía is “Lu”th”ia, this “th” applies for “ce”, “ci” and “ze” “zi”

As far as Liceu is concerned if you speak Catalan it is “Lee-SEH—oo” and if you speak Spanish it is “Lee-THEH-oo”

But do not worry about regional Languages. Spanish should be ok everywhere in Spain.

I have tried to help a bit on this but maybe PsFs could help much more here than me.

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Re the glamorous Yuan Yuan Tan;

Most of us in SF say "wan wan" -- as in why so pale and wan, fond lover."

But my friends who actually speak Chinese say something that sounds more like "uEN uEN," with the u being that umlauted "dude" sound but very brief, like hte vermouth in a vodka, it's just a bit of color at the VERY beginning. it starts off quite constricted between the molars, cheeks sucked in, back of the tongue rising toward the soft palate, and then the back of the tongue drops, the "eh" gets thrown against the hard palate, and the middle of the tongue pushes up and stops it. It all kinda happens 'in hte nose" and it's fun to say

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Thanks, Carolina and Paul.

What I can tell you is that for instance the “ll” in Corella doesn’t correspond to the “y” of yes, no matter if you pronounce it in Spanish or Catalan, but I do not know how to show you how it sounds, I’m afraid it doesn’t have a correspondent in English.
You hear "Cor -- EY -- ya" a lot in the U.S. The "ll" as a "y" seems to come from Latin America.

In Spain, I've always thought of it as an "EL-yay" sound. There's a hint of the first "l," often combined with a little bit of a "j" (very very subtle), and then the "y". So Corella becomes "Cor -- EL -- ya" But it won't sound Castilian without that "j" or whatever it is that separates the true madrileno/a from the rest of us who just learned it in school.

Paul, I've been experimenting with those contortions of tooth, cheek, tongue (3 positions !!!) and palate. And it DOES sound rather Chinese. to me, anyway. :) Many thanks.

Ballet Florida has a lovely young dancer, Yuan Xi (Harid conservatory graduate). Now that I know how to pronounce "Yuan," can anyone help with the "Xi"?

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Kyra Nichols: KEER-a NIK-ols (like nickels - the currency)

Tatiana Riabouchinska: Taht-YAHN-ah Ree-boo-SHIN-ska

Tamara Toumanova: Tam-AHR-a Too-MAHN-ova

Irina Baranova: eer-EEN-a Bare-AHN-ova

Tamara Karsavina: Tam-AHR-a Kar-SAV-ina

Olga Preobrajenska: OL-ga Pray-o-bra-JEN-ska

Rene Blum: Rah-NAY Bloom

Alexandra Danilova: Dan-EEL-ova

Alessandra Ferri: FAYR-ee

Alicia Markova: ah-LEE-sha mar-KOHV-a

Natalia Makarova: na-TAHL-yah ma-KAHR-ova

Mikhail Fokine: Michael Fo-KEEN

De Basil: De Ba-ZEEL (Vassily ?)

Alla Sizova: SEE-so-va (is it eye-a ?)

----

Olga Spessivtzeva: Spess-EEV-sev-ah ?

Ninel Kurgapkina: Ni-NEL Ker-GAHP-kin-a ??

Galina Ulanova: youll-AHN-ova ?

Leonide Massine: MAA-seen or Ma-SEEN ?

Anna Pavlova: PAV-lo-va or pav-LOW-va ? (in America it's just AN-ah, but is it AHN-a ?)

Nina Ananiashvili ?

Ninette De Valois ?

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Alla Sizova: SEE-so-va (is it eye-a ?)

Ulanova: youll-AHN-ova ?

Leonide Massine: MAA-seen or Ma-SEEN ?

Anna Pavlova: (in America it's just AN-ah, but is it AHN-a ?)

Nina Ananiashvili ?

Ninette De Valois ?

In Russian the double "L" is pronounced as in English, not as in French.

"Alla" is said "AH-la"

"Ulanova", contrary to popular opinion, is pronounced "oo-LAHN-nova" (no "y" sound for the "u")

MA-SEEN

"Anna", to say it the Russian way, would rhyme with "wanna", so the second pronunciation you offered is correct

"ah-nahn-ee-AASH-vili" the "ash" rhymes with "gosh"

nee-NET de val-WAH (the name she was born with is a little easier: Edris Stannus)

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Now that I know how to pronounce "Yuan," can anyone help with the "Xi"?

I believe it's "Jee" (like the first syllable in the ill-received movie "Gigli")

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And to make matters more confusing, sometimes the man himself would say, "ma-SEEN", and sometimes, "mya-SEEN".

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Alessandra Ferri: FAYR-ee

"FAYR-" creates a dipthong that is too long a sound.

Italian vowels tend to be very short and soft.

And both "r"s need to be pronounced, in most of Italy they would be flipped but in a few regions, such as Rome, they would be rolled.

So I would say it's more like this:

FEHR-ree where that first syllable is very soft and short

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Thanks :mad: Didn't know how to make the sound in writing and, as we can see, every letter and syllable makes a huge difference.

and thanks to you, too, Marga.

off topic but I'm curious: How does everyone have such a plethora of knowledge about languages? Did you study it in school or was it from traveling and learning or just on your own? How long did it take to acquire such skill?

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:mad:continued

artist,

You are the same age as my youngest child (6th of 6, and once a dancer) and I think you are off to a great start in acquiring your own plethora of knowledge! I have always admired your posts for their maturity in -- forgive me -- one so young, and have marveled at your already vast knowledge of balletica, far larger than my own when I was your age 43 years ago and a dance student myself. So, I'd say, yes, "all of the above" (school, travel, lifelong learning, self-teaching) and about languages, specifically, "how long" depends on how interested one is in discovering the secrets of other languages.

I speak two languages fluently, English and Estonian (which is the language we usually converse in at home), and while studying Russian for 3 years in high school (and practicing speaking it with my Russian grandfather), acquired a keen interest in it (as I did in French which I studied for 7 years while in school). Estonian and Russian have some similarities in word origins and pronunciation, so that just sticks with me. Also, my daughter the dancer studied with a Russian teacher, so we've been around spoken Russian (ballet teachers, parents, many of her ballet friends) since she was 8 years old (she's now 21).

Lastly, for me, my husband is a French teacher and a fanatic when it comes to the study of linguistics (he almost majored in it). Our conversations often turn to the etymology of words, comparative linguistics, and phonetics. We also talk about current pronunciations, spelling, and grammatical usages of English that have become prevalent in popular culture, despite being incorrect, which are changing the way our English language is being used and passed on.

I'd say we might seem like boring people to some reading this, but then, we also sing, dance and make merry!

Since this is a sticky, I feel uncomfortable going off topic. If the above part of my post must be removed, I understand. (I just hope artist sees it first). Let me add a name to the list:

Gelsey Kirkland. Gelsey, hard "G", like Gordon, not Jelsey. I'll bet I'm not the only one who wondered about this for years! :(

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And to make matters more confusing, sometimes the man himself would say, "ma-SEEN", and sometimes, "mya-SEEN".

In Russian the stress would fall on the first syllable: something like MYA-seen (Мясин). (It's not really a YA sound. It's actually a palatalized M, as in m'as'in.)

http://www.bolshoi.ru/ru/season/ballet/rep...amp;dynid26=480

Putting the stress on the second syllable was probably the influence of French. The same goes for Fokine, which should be pronounced FO-keen.

I was under the impression that in Georgian, -shvili surnames were stressed on the penultimate syllable: ah-nah-nyash-VEE-lee.

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