Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Correct pronunciation of names

There are too many mistakes and differences in pronouncing the names coming from various world’s languages. If you have doubts as to how to pronounce a particular name, ask here by leaving a comment. I’ll do my best to give the right answer and to explain why.

Some wide-spread mispronunciations:

- Xavi. This Catalan name should not be pronounced as if it was Spanish "javi" (with English "h" as the first sound). The correct pronunciation is "Shavi". Although some Spanish commentators call him "Chavi". The Catalans complain…;
- Moya. The accent sign is often missed, hence the wrong stress. It should fall onto the second syllable – Moyá;
- Kuranyi. The guy has too tricky descent to track his origin correctly. The surname is Hungarian and should be pronounced as "koo’-ran-ї", with the first syllable stressed;
- Corretja. Another Catalan name, read mainly wrongly. "Tj" in Catalan language stands for English "j" sound. The "j" letter should not be read here in Spanish way;
- Garrincha. It’s Garrinsha. "Sh", not "ch".
- Fabregas. In Britain people intuitively stress it correctly, since English language tends to stress the first syllable. In the rest of the world more often the second and the third syllables are mistakenly stressed;
...and for dessert:
- Ronaldinho. If you want to sound real Brazilian, try to say it with energetic “h” instead of “r”, “j” – instead of “d”, and “noo” – for “nho”. How do you like it? (update: “noo” – for “nho” is an Algarvian dialect. The most wide-spread in Brazil variant is "nho", like English "new").


Kellysita said...

"nho" is like in spanish the letter "ñ" ;)

rinoceronte said...

I'm not sure about Portugal, but in Brasil it is not. It is like "-no" in "Adriano" pronounced in Portuguese way. I heard it both in Sao Paulo and in Curitiba.

rinoceronte said...

An update on the issue. In Brazil the suffix "-inho" is pronounced differently in different regions. The way that I suggested, actually is typical for the states inhabited by the Italian descendants - Parana, Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul. They say it more closely to Italian suffix "-ino".

While in Minas Gerais as well as in Northeast of the country the suffix "-inho" is pronounced even funnier: "-im". So, for example, Angelim = Angelinho. You can hear lots of that even in Sao Paulo (at the same time, I heard in Sao Paulo the Southern variant too).

Although, justice demands to agree that there are cases in Brazil when "-inho" is pronounced as you say: as Spanish "-iño". For example, group Exaltasamba sings it this way in their song "Doidinho".

SoccerMadman said...

How about Steaua (Bucharest)?

rinoceronte said...

In Romanian language "ea" is used to denote a [ya] sound. This sound is quite wide-spread in East European languages, Slav in particular. In Russian it even has a letter of its own. So, after the consonants, like in "Steaua" it sounds like [ia] pronounced as a single syllable. The name of this team has three clear syllables and is pronounced as [stia-oo-ah] (h is mute). In a colloquial speech it may be reduced to [stiawah] too (with "w" English).

tanemahuta said...

how do you pronounce JUAN ROMAN RIQUELME? the midfielder for the argentinian team?

rinoceronte said...

Hwan (or Hoo-an) RomAn ("an" as in "unclosed") Ree-kEl-meh. "L" is mild as in French language.

Lisa B said...

how do you pronounce the name Caio

rinoceronte said...

[kay] like in "sky" + [o] like in "law"