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Pronunciation of "ballet"


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#16 Anthony_NYC

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 05:14 AM

I guess what I'm asking: is this a NYC regionalism (is it American BALlet Theater or American BalLET Theater?) or an NYCB affectation, or something else entirely?  What is common elsewhere in America, not to mention current and former members of the British Empire?


I think it's a NYC regionalism. When I lived for a while in the Midwest and the West Coast, the word was always pronounced with the stress on the second syllable. I remember a couple years ago a friend visiting from Milwaukee made fun of the "snooty" pronunciation we use here. (It's not just in the name of NYCB or ABT, we use it for the word in general.)

#17 Gina Ness

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 07:30 AM

Hey, Mel...Yes, I would agree that there is more emphasis on the "cis" than the "San" in San Francisco if we get into Henry Higgins detail! What we native San Franciscans REALLY hate is FRISco Ballet. :)

#18 sandik

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 09:52 AM

That makes another trochaic trimeter.

But we're getting farther and farther into the realm of phonetics, and Henry Higgins is never around when you need him. I think if you look at the way you say San Francisco, the first stress is less than the second, which is a strong emphasis. That's why I made the distinction "primary hard stress". As in "San'-fran-cis"-co". The only time I've heard the San get the same emphasis as the cis, Jeannette MacDonald was singing it:

SAN-FRAN-CIS-co, open your Golden Gate,
You make no stranger wait....

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Well, without Henry Higgins, I can certainly make do with Jeannette MacDonald!

I've always put the accent on the first syllable of ballet, for no good reason at all except that an accent on the second syllable has always sounded stuck-up to me. I'm not sure if this is a regional accent thing (born and raised in Seattle, but with midwestern parents)

#19 Jane Simpson

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 09:56 AM

If we've sorted out ballet (BALlet to me), what about balletomane? Accent on the first syllable, or the last, or maybe even the second?

#20 Ari

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 10:05 AM

I've always pronounced it ba-LET-o-mane, emphasis on the second syllable (and the "t" pronounced).

#21 Jane Simpson

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 10:12 AM

I've always pronounced it ba-LET-o-mane, emphasis on the second syllable (and the "t" pronounced).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Yes, that's how I mostly hear it - but before I'd ever heard it pronounced I always read it as BALetomane (with the t pronounced, as you say) - and my dictionary says balletoMANE, to go with balletoMANia, I suppose

#22 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 10:24 AM

strange, i usually say it as american ballet THEAtre.

#23 Helene

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 10:26 AM

I've always thought of "Ballet Alert" as "BAL let a LERT" and "Ballet Talk" as "BAL let talk."

#24 Farrell Fan

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 12:12 PM

strange, i usually say it as american ballet THEAtre.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Do you mean American Bal-LAY Thee-AY-tur at the Metro-POL-i-tan Opry House?

#25 Ari

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 12:21 PM

I've always thought of "Ballet Alert" as "BAL let a LERT" and "Ballet Talk" as "BAL let talk."

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Moi, I've always said "Bal LET a LERT" (iambic) and BAL let TALK" (big stress on TALK).

#26 Treefrog

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 03:01 PM

I would just like to point out -- proudly -- that there is no question too trivial or mundane for our latest forum! :dunno:

#27 Marga

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 04:39 PM

In telling others about this site I say Bal-LAY' a-LERT' and Bal-LAY' Talk (no emphasis on the "talk").

American Bal-LAY Thee-AY-tur......hmmmm, FF.......wouldn't the first word be pronounced more like "AmUrican"? :dunno:

#28 carbro

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 07:25 PM

So, it looks like all of us are here because we love it, but some of us (and I'm not pointing any fingers here), some of us don't know how to pronounce it. :rolleyes:

#29 Mel Johnson

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Posted 04 May 2005 - 03:06 AM

I do have something against the Texan pronunciation of "American" la Lyndon Johnson. I remember hearing, quite a long time ago, somebody call it "Merkin BalLET Theayter" and could only think that the company really must have gone in for very detailed costuming, in depth! :angry2:

#30 Mrs. Stahlbaum

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Posted 04 May 2005 - 05:39 AM

Oh my gosh, this is all too confusing. I think I'll play it safe and stick with ABT (hmm, emphasis probably on the T).


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