Alexandra

Pronunciation of Ballet Names

142 posts in this topic

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

I was thinking about that when I went to bed last night, after indicating that the stress was on the ASH. Georgian names danced through my head, including the "-vilis" that end the names of some parents I am acquainted with. You are right, I believe, and I have succumbed to the common pronunciation accepted by transplanted Georgians who go with the flow instead of insisting on the right emphasis. :mad:

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Quite a few years ago, a Russian-born cab driver asked me what I was going to see when I was rushin' up to Lincoln Center from downtown. "Ballet," of course. He proceeded to inform me that Nina Ananiashvili was the greatest ballerina in the world. "Say that again?" I asked. "The greatest ballerina in the world!" "No," I corrected, "her name."

"ahn-AHN-yash-VI-li." Two accented syllables, big stress on the latter. He wasn't (or didn't claim to be) Georgian, but I took him as authoritative.

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Thank you very much Marga. Funny how just today a teacher of mine jokingly said what a cerebral freak I am because of these things I'm interested in and the wealth of knowledge I've attained from subjects of the higher intellect. And how I'm a 'wierdo' for listening to classical music in HS and having my favorite ride at DisneyLand be Small World and not indulging myself in the 'normal' teen life. He said I should be a foreign exchange student in an uncommon place like Estonia...

Anyways, back on track:

Reviewing jorgen's post on the 1st page, it seem Sizova has the 2nd syllable stressed - not the first. I have always heard it as the latter from world traveling dancers and others but perhaps they're wrong as jorgen's info is from the dictionary.

Paloma Herrera - do you pronounce the 'h'; in spanish you don't, but she is from Argentina...

Damian Woetzel

Lourdes Lopez

Suki Schorer

Jacques d'Amboise

Alina Cojacaru

Nathalie Nordquist

Marie Lindqvist

Tanaquil LeClerq

Alla Shelest

Mathilde Kschessinska

Daniel Ulbrecht

Darci Kistler: DAR-see KISS-ler

Sterling Hyltin: Ster'ling hill-TEEN

I'm leaving most of these without my input just so that I can double check with you guys as I'm sure you'll probably be more accurate.

Is there a thread for ballet pronunciations? I know I could surely use one.

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Lourdes Lopez (LOOR-dess LO-pez)

Suki Schorer (SOO-kee SHOR-er)

Jacques d'Ambois(e) (ZHOCK dam-BWAHZ) (but if you're really fussy: JACK A-HERN.)But you have to be from Dedham, Mass.)

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In the late 60s, d'Amboise did a St. Patrick's Day show with the Irish Rovers, who made a running joke out of mispronouncing his name. He said it was originally "Jack", but that his grandmother was the only one to call him "Joseph".

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

I's sometimes wondered about this. "ma-SEEN" is French. I always assumed that the dipthong "mya" (or "mee-ah" said very fast until it all blurs into one, bendy syllable) is the way it would have originally been spoken in Russia.

I guess that the former has won out in this case, especially since Massine's career was overwhelmingly in France.

English speakers tend to adopt the mah-SEEN.

Maybe Leonid was "mas-EEN" when talking with his French friends, and "mya-SEEN" when hanging out with his fellow Russian expatriates.

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

I's sometimes wondered about this. "ma-SEEN" is French. I always assumed that the dipthong "mya" (or "mee-ah" said very fast until it all blurs into one, bendy syllable) is the way it would have originally been spoken in Russia.

What's important to remember is that iotated vowels like ya, ye, yo and yu serve two functions. At the beginning of a word, or if separated from the preceding consonant by a hard or soft sign, they are in fact pronounced as Y+vowel. But if the iotated vowel comes directly after a consonant, the Y isn't pronounced. It's just an orthographic way of indicating that the preceding consonant is softened: CyV= C'V.

Russian includes a fairly unusual group of softened labial consonants (M, B, P, V, F), which you don't run into too often (and which are extremely difficult for non-native speakers to learn to pronounce!): Perm' (p'erm'), step' (s't'ep'), ljubov' (l'ubof') or, in the relevant case, mjaso (m'asa). For English-speakers I suppose the easiest way to describe the first syllable in Massine (Мясин = m'as'in) is as something in between MA and MYA, with the M turning a little soft thanks to a Y pronounced really quickly, as bart says.

Incidentally, in the film Nijinsky, Alan Bates as Diaghilev pronounces the name more or less correctly: MYA-seen.

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Thank you so much, volcanohunter. I certainly did not know the following:

Russian includes a fairly unusual group of softened labial consonants (M, B, P, V, F), which you don't run into too often (and which are extremely difficult for non-native speakers to learn to pronounce!): Perm' (p'erm'), step' (s't'ep'), ljubov' (l'ubof') or, in the relevant case, mjaso (m'asa).

And I'm truly grateful for these guidelines:

For English-speakers I suppose the easiest way to describe the first syllable in Massine (ÐœÑÑин = m'as'in) is as something in between MA and MYA, with the M turning a little soft thanks to a Y pronounced really quickly, as bart says.

Incidentally, in the film Nijinsky, Alan Bates as Diaghilev pronounces the name more or less correctly: MYA-seen.

:wacko: ... :P ... :dunno:

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I think Diana Vishneva is: dee-AH-na vish-NOY-va

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Something the lists showing the accented syllables might not be correctly showing is the pronunciation of syllables with "e" in them. In Russian, there's a letter “ë”, which is pronounced “yo”, and if it occurs in a syllable, that syllable is always stressed. When it’s transliterated into English, it’s usually interpreted as “e.” Vishneva, for example, should be Vish-NYO-va. (I noticed the more correct transliteration in a French forum, and then checked with the Russian program seller when the Kirov was here.) The final vowel sound in Yuri Soloviev’s last name should be “yo”, which is how I’ve sometimes seen it transliterated in recent years.

djb's outstanding explanation on page 2.

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:angel_not:
djb's outstanding explanation on page 2.
This can be misleading. djb's post is on page 2 if your preferences are set to default. Some people have more posts per page (mine is set for 40, for example, which is much more efficient with a dial-up connection), but you can get the full explanation by clicking the little red arrow to the right of the date. :off topic:

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artist, thanks for bringing up djb's post.

This one I know for sure: Vishneva IS pronounced Vish-NYO-va (not vish-NOY-va -- sorry, canbelto!)

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:angel_not:
djb's outstanding explanation on page 2.
This can be misleading. djb's post is on page 2 if your preferences are set to default. Some people have more posts per page (mine is set for 40, for example, which is much more efficient with a dial-up connection), but you can get the full explanation by clicking the little red arrow to the right of the date. :off topic:

ha! I didn't even notice that arrow! (it's very convenient!) Thanks yet again, carbro, for helping me out!

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Enrico Cecchetti: En-REE-ko cheh-KET-ee

Helgi Tomasson: Hel'gi (hard g) Toe'masson ?

Farouk Ruzimatov ?

Ekaterina or Yekaterina ? (like Maximova)

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Helgi Tomasson: HEL-ghee toe-MAH-son

Farouk Ruzimatov fah-ROOK ROO-zi-MAH-tov

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It's actually Fah-ROOH (the last h is the same sound as in 'hello').

As for Maximova -- Ye-kah-te-REE-nah Mak-SEE-moh-vah

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I think we have to go back to the standard of "How does s/he say it?"

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Just make it one syllable, with a hard initial "g": GYEM.

I always pronouned Sylvie Guillem's name this way too, like the French word fille.

However, I was recently corrected by one of my French roomates, an artist from Paris, who told me it is pronounced "gee LEM." (That's a hard "g.")

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I've also heard that way, too.

Marcia Haydee

Aurelie (w/accent on 1st 'e') Dupont

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Just make it one syllable, with a hard initial "g": GYEM.

I always pronouned Sylvie Guillem's name this way too, like the French word fille.

However, I was recently corrected by one of my French roomates, an artist from Paris, who told me it is pronounced "gee LEM." (That's a hard "g.")

Actually, I've heard pronounced both ways by French speakers... (and both pronounciations would be coherent with the spelling, as for example the "ill" in "fille" (girl) is pronounced as "y" and the "ill" in "ville" (city) is pronounced as "l"). And I don't know how Ms Guillem pronounces her own name...

artist, in "Aurélie" the stress would actually be on the last syllable, something like "oh-reh-LEE" (and I don't know how to express the pronounciation of "dupont" as the sounds for "u" and "on" don't exist in English... Anyway, it would be pronounced the same way as Dupond (as in Patrick Dupond) as the final t or d is mute).

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I don't know how to express the pronounciation of "dupont" as the sounds for "u" and "on" don't exist in English... Anyway, it would be pronounced the same way as Dupond (as in Patrick Dupond) as the final t or d is mute).
I was taught that for a French "u", to make a circle with the lips (as if to say "oooo") while trying to say "eeeee". The "on" is produced in the very back of the mouth, nasalizing the "n".

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Guillem herself pronounces her name as Gee-LEM

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Violette Verdy's mother, Mme. Guillerme, pronounced her name "Gee-YAIRM". However, we are, I believe, talking about two different francophone ethnicities.

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Violette Verdy's mother, Mme. Guillerme, pronounced her name "Gee-YAIRM". However, we are, I believe, talking about two different francophone ethnicities.

I think the spelling is Guillerm, not GuillermE (but anyway it wouldn't make any difference in terms of pronounciation).

I don't understand what you mean about "different francophone ethnicities", but anyway I think that both pronounciations (gee-yairm and gee-lairm) would be coherent with the spelling in that case too... The "right" one is the one used by the person herself/himself, but the other pronounciation would be possible too, I think.

There's a similar ambiguity, for example, with the first name Ghislaine (as in Ghislaine Thesmar, Ghislaine Fallou...): some people pronounce it "gee-LENN" with a hard "g" as in "got" and a mute "s" and other pronounce it "zhees-LENN" with a "s" as in "sea", I believe both pronounciations are correct.

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