Alexandra

Pronunciation of Ballet Names

142 posts in this topic

As to "different francophone ethnicities" consider the Bretons, the Alsatians, and the Monegasque. Respectively a lot of Celtic, Teutonic, and Italian in their ethnicities. But I do agree with you that the way the person says it is the correct way, no matter what "the rules" say. I'm often asked how to spell my last name, because some "Johnston" people simply make a nasal stop out of the "t". The end result sounds just like "Johnson".

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Thanks for the explanation. If I remember correctly, Violette Verdy was born in Bretagne, but I don't know if her name comes from that region. Sylvie Guillem's last name sounds somewhat similar to the first name "Guilhem", which is the equivalent of William, Guillaume, Willem, etc. in Occitan (dialect of southern France), but I don't know if it comes from Occitan or not...

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I suppose it would help considerably to know whether the name is rooted in Occitan or an Oïl language (apart from mainstream French, that is.)

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I suppose it would help considerably to know whether the name is rooted in Occitan or an Oïl language (apart from mainstream French, that is.)

An Oc language - Catalan, the language spoken in Catalonia, on the North-Eastern corner of Spain, and as I'm a -more or less- native speaker, this is a topic on which I could make a useful contribution before scurrying back to the woodwork, and continue some learning while lurking :wink: .

Guillem is a not-too-rare surname around here. In the ARTE documentary Ms. Guillem herself said she was a quarter Spanish. Guillem is also a Catalan name, equivalent to William. About the pronunciation of the "ll" bit, it's difficult for those who do not have Catalan as a mother tongue, somewhat between the "y" of year, and the "L" of length.

Because of that difficulty, I suppose Ms. Guillem parents decided to Frenchify it, leaving Gee-LEM.

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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 the 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 the nose" and it's fun to say

Yuan Yuan further confuses things with her own pronunciation of her name - but she's obviously trying to make it more understandable to the English-speaking audience as she has inverted her first and last names from the usual Chinese order:

The San Francisco balletomanes often refer to her with the nickname "Y Y", and to quote from elsewhere, "YY, as Tan is known around SFB, began her historic ascent through the repertory. Her name, Yuan Yuan, translates as “round, round”; she was born during a full moon, a sign of good luck, and where creating new ballets is concerned, fortune has smiled on her."

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Many artists simplify the pronunciation of their names for anglophones, but when they're introduced in their home countries, the local pronunciation prevails.

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Many artists simplify the pronunciation of their names for anglophones, but when they're introduced in their home countries, the local pronunciation prevails.

I spent some time in the distant past trying to learn how her name *should* be pronounced, and of course happened on to some Chinese language video interviews with her, but I was never able to distinguish her name in what was said. (I've had the same problem trying to learn the pronunciation of various Hong Kong film stars' names this way.)

Try to listen for the names of "Yuan Yuan Tan", "Helgi Tomasson", or "San Francisco" in this clip:

Was that some form of "Rubies" at the beginning? Anyway, LOL, I can only distinguish the term "ballet" which is pronounce "bally" by the voiceover artist.

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What is the pronunciation of Polina Semionova (Полина Семионова)? I found a N.Y. Times article where it says her surname is pronounced "sem-YOHN-o-va", but of course it doesn't say how to pronounce that. I thinks it's supposed to be something like IPA /sεm 'jon o və/. Is that right?

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Perhaps /e-'ɵ-nə-və/ if you want to be really precise and include the palatalized consonants and reduced vowels.

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I know someone can help me: how to pronounce Petit, as in Roland Petit.

Thanks

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Osipova?

Daniil Simkin?

Yuriko Kajiya?

Also, the NYT says Hee Seo's last name is simply pronounced "SUH." Is that correct? When she was announced as filling in for Gillian Murphy in the second half of SL at the Met recently, the woman making the announcement said something more like "SO" (though after a slight hesitation, so I didn't get the sense that was definitive).

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I have asked several Japanese people and they have said that Yuriko's name is pronounced YUR - EE - KO with the stress on the first syllable. Her last name is pronounced

KA - JEE - AH with the stress on the second syllable.

Russian speakers have told me that Osipova's name is pronounced with the stress on the first syllable - AW - SEE PO- VA.

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When Hee Seo spoke at an ABT interview last month, she told us how to pronounce her name. She said that the correct pronunciation is SUH.

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I have asked several Japanese people and they have said that Yuriko's name is pronounced YUR - EE - KO with the stress on the first syllable. Her last name is pronounced

KA - JEE - AH with the stress on the second syllable.

Russian speakers have told me that Osipova's name is pronounced with the stress on the first syllable - AW - SEE PO- VA.

JEE just like the first word in "gee whiz"?

Thanks for the helpful info!

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