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toyrtle
04-10-2009, 05:27 PM
I understand that the correct way to say it is 'oo'-kulele

BUT

Outside of Hawaii, it feels a bit weird saying it that way.

Just wondering how many people say it correctly and who says it the incorrect way....

Link
04-10-2009, 05:31 PM
I think this topic has been done before. So you might get butt rushed by the mods. Haha.

I try to pronounce it ookoolele when I'm thinking about it, because it sounds more Hawaii and less I Married My Cousin.

toyrtle
04-10-2009, 05:32 PM
I didn't even know how to do a search on the topic.

DO people look at you strangely if you say it the proper way?

wickedwahine11
04-10-2009, 05:36 PM
I didn't even know how to do a search on the topic.

DO people look at you strangely if you say it the proper way?

They do. Which is why in Hawaii or with fellow uke enthusiasts, I always pronounce it correctly, but when around the non-believers, I revert to yoo-koo-lay-lee.

toyrtle
04-10-2009, 05:43 PM
But if you were to shorten the name would you say ook or uke?

grappler
04-10-2009, 06:07 PM
uke toya!

hows the strumming going?

bbycrts
04-10-2009, 06:09 PM
I always say ookoolaylay - don't really care if people look at me funny. If they say anything, I say, "It's a Hawai'ian word, and that's the proper pronunciation."

I usually stay away from the shortened version, but if I use it, I say Yook.

haole
04-10-2009, 06:09 PM
They do. Which is why in Hawaii or with fellow uke enthusiasts, I always pronounce it correctly, but when around the non-believers, I revert to yoo-koo-lay-lee.

Same here. If I tell someone I play the "ookoolehleh," they have no idea what I'm talking about. Then I say "youkalaylee" and they're like "...oh, THAT." :p But there are a lot of serious players who say "youkalaylee" so I don't think it matters much. :B

It's "yook" for short either way, though. I've never heard "ook" before.

Honu
04-10-2009, 06:09 PM
So... an extension of the question... Do people say You-k or Oo-k?:D

toyrtle
04-10-2009, 06:14 PM
uke toya!

hows the strumming going?

I am a strumming monster!!

toyrtle
04-10-2009, 06:16 PM
So... an extension of the question... Do people say You-k or Oo-k?:D

I'm going to start saying Oo-k. Just to be consistent.

But...the ukulele is so mis-understood it feels pretentious to say 'ook'

haole
04-10-2009, 06:19 PM
It's only pretentious if you correct others, like Porsche owners who yell at you for saying it with one syllable. ;)

generem
04-10-2009, 06:25 PM
I say ookoolele but like someone else said. I get wierd looks from people too.. Then the next sentence is.. you know yookooleyle!!
:shaka:

toyrtle
04-10-2009, 06:27 PM
So do people in the 808 look at you weird if you say you-kulele?

toyrtle
04-10-2009, 06:28 PM
It's only pretentious if you correct others, like Porsche owners who yell at you for saying it with one syllable. ;)

Yeah, and I would roll my eyes at the people who say it with two....

MisoHappy
04-10-2009, 06:29 PM
This is like my pet peeve, man. You can trash talk the uke in front of me as much as you want, and I'll keep my temper, but pronounce it wrong, and you have it COMING.

Na jus kidding. I'll just say "Pronounce it right, man, you sound like a tourist", but I have haters because of that. :D

grappler
04-10-2009, 06:34 PM
I am a strumming monster!!

good stuff toya! i always knew your a quick learner the first time we met. Have faith in your self and you can achieve anything!

psesinkclee
04-10-2009, 06:53 PM
I use oo-kulele in my head, but saw you-koo-le-lee out loud. People don't know what I'm talking about when I pronounce it properly.

But I normally go for uke (yoo-ke) ;)

DeG
04-10-2009, 07:22 PM
Normally, if I'm talking to someone, I would like them to understand me. So, I pronounce it how ever I think they will understand. In other words, I adjust the pronounciation depending on who I'm talking to.

UkuLeLesReggAe
04-10-2009, 09:56 PM
i say you-ku-lay-le most of the time... because when u say ookulele, people say what? or isnt it youkulayle and i have tried to explain that its ookulele to so many people, i am now just over it

toyrtle
04-11-2009, 02:02 AM
I'm actually going through a tough uke week.

I've had three different people in my face trashing the uke, including one who was threatening to smash one of my ukes.

I couldn't imagine stopping them in the middle of their rant to say,

"Excuse me, but it's called a oo-ka-lay-le. Now what were you saying?"

deach
04-11-2009, 02:05 AM
I always say "Yook". I never say yookalele or ookulele. Screw what people think.

toyrtle
04-11-2009, 02:24 AM
Yeah, that's what I'm thinking too.....it's a uke....

Pippin
04-11-2009, 02:29 AM
If you keep in mind that many a "word" has been "anglicized" over the ages, and at Ellis Island, many foreign names were "Americanized", then it is not such an uncommon form of reasoning that the ukulele would become known as the "you-kuh-lay-lee" in the USA and England. Shorten that to "uke", "youk", or "yook" as an interpretation and it is really quite reasonable.

ook-oo-lay-lay sounds foreign to MOST Americans because it actually is. Now, here is a question for all of you...

Hawaiians are actually Polynesian, so, they actually speak a Polynesian dialect. Is the adoption of a ukulele from Western European traders and subsequent renaming really "correct" since Nunes and other ukulele builders brought it to the Islands under another name? The instrument was still played in Europe under its original name and there are modern-day builders that still represent that tradition.

I brought this up only as food for thought. The name has been translated into "English" as you-kuh-lay-lee from the Polynesian oo-koo-lay-lay and I have no problem with that.

toyrtle
04-11-2009, 02:34 AM
I think that the name ukulele can stick, because the instrument became a part of Hawaiian culture, and was no longer a strictly European invention. There are similar instruments in European culture, but none that are played in the same way as the ukulele.

Blues music is a marrying of African musical tradition with European musical tradition - but you definitely wouldn't say that it was just African or European.

The poor little instrument....it's so mis-understood.

kissing
04-11-2009, 02:37 AM
haha, interestingly the Korean version of the word is closer to the original Hawaiian :)
"Oo Koo Le Le"

UkuLeLesReggAe
04-11-2009, 04:16 AM
I always say "Yook". I never say yookalele or ookulele. Screw what people think.

works well

Toucan Mango
04-11-2009, 04:23 AM
Last time in Hawaii we took our kids to a Polynesian review at the Hale Koa & learned the proper way to pronounce it, that's the way I always say it now. Most people try to correct me with youkalele.

sternship
04-11-2009, 04:43 AM
i was thinkin about that when i saw that the guys always wrote 'AN ukulele'
if you pronounce the correct hawaiian way that's right, but if u pronounce it the 'haole' way it should be 'a ukulele' haha was tryin to figure out in my head which was correct but came to that conclusion!! hope it's of use!

nikolo727
04-11-2009, 04:51 AM
i say ook-oo-lay-lay, because it makes me feel like im closer to da big island!! :p

but once i say that people go," OHHH the YOUkoolAYLEE" and i say," well the proper way of saying it is(insert right way here). They give me weird looks but i stopped caring how people think of me a long time ago. get it right tourists!!!!!

Toucan Mango
04-11-2009, 05:02 AM
i was thinkin about that when i saw that the guys always wrote 'AN ukulele'
if you pronounce the correct hawaiian way that's right, but if u pronounce it the 'haole' way it should be 'a ukulele' haha was tryin to figure out in my head which was correct but came to that conclusion!! hope it's of use!
Yeah when I first joined this forum I tossed that scenario around once or twice.

Ukulele JJ
04-11-2009, 06:39 AM
I most often pronounce it yoo-kuh-lay-lee because, around here, that's simply how most other people pronounce it. I suppose if I were at a uke convention, or in Hawaii, it would be different.

It's kinda like how I don't pronounce "Paris" as pah-ree or "Mexico" as meh-hee-coh, even though that's the "correct" way. I just go with peh-riss and mecks-uh-coh, because those are the commonly-accepted American English forms of the word.

And I don't want to sound like a douchebag. Well, not to a larger degree than I normally do. :D

I also pronounce "minestrone" as mihn-uh-strow-nee instead of mee-neh-strrrrrrow-neh.

And I call the car I drive a hahn-dah, even though it's technically a hone-dah.

You get the picture... Pronunciation varies with geography and culture. Nothing wrong with that.

JJ

Brad Bordessa
04-11-2009, 07:02 AM
I see where you are coming from and you're right that Americans have changed a ton of words because we are too lazy to say them the right way.

I don't know if you know, but the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown by the US govenrment. We went in and forced them to stop using their language and culture to the point of it all almost disappearing.

It is once again ok for the Hawaiian people to speak their language, but very few do because a whole generation missed out.

Most take Hawai'i for granted as a tourist place, but in reallity we went in and treated the people baddly and forced them to become a state (sound familiar?).

I think the least we can do to give back to the Hawaiian people is say one of their words right.

oo-koo-le-le spelled with the 'okina (') - 'ukulele.

http://liveukulele.com/ukulele-info/the-correct-spelling-of-ukulele/

hoosierhiver
04-11-2009, 07:14 AM
toe-may-toe

carpekd
04-11-2009, 11:14 AM
toe-may-toe

This made me LOL

Kaneohe til the end
04-11-2009, 12:06 PM
I always say ookoolaylay - don't really care if people look at me funny. If they say anything, I say, "It's a Hawai'ian word, and that's the proper pronunciation."

I usually stay away from the shortened version, but if I use it, I say Yook.

i appreciate the okina, but hawaiian is an english word, no need for the okina, hence hawai'i (w sounds like a v)and hawaiian (w sounds like a w)


It's only pretentious if you correct others, like Porsche owners who yell at you for saying it with one syllable. ;)

its completely different. hawaiian is a language, porsche is a car make.

while some may not care what others think, this actually isnt about what you think, its about a fact. its pronounced 'ukulele. the shame is that hawaiian really is the most butchered language in the world. why is it that when you learn a foreign language, you learn how to annunciate correctly, but when speaking hawaiian you decide "ah, **** it, everyone else does it"?

in japanese, the "r" in ramen or any other japanese word for example, isnt pronounced like an english "r". its more of a slur, like a mix between an "l" and an "r". everyone who learns japanese knows this, (somehow the "r" thing is butchered by america: ex. naruto becomes narooto)

Ukulele JJ
04-11-2009, 12:19 PM
while some may not care what others think, this actually isnt about what you think, its about a fact. its pronounced 'ukulele. the shame is that hawaiian really is the most butchered language in the world. why is it that when you learn a foreign language, you learn how to annunciate correctly, but when speaking hawaiian you decide "ah, **** it, everyone else does it"?


It seems like a lot of this discussion boils down to this: When I say the word "ukulele" in everyday conversation, am I speaking Hawaiian? Or am I saying an English word that was borrowed from the Hawaiian language?

JJ

Kaneohe til the end
04-11-2009, 12:19 PM
I most often pronounce it yoo-kuh-lay-lee because, around here, that's simply how most other people pronounce it. I suppose if I were at a uke convention, or in Hawaii, it would be different.

It's kinda like how I don't pronounce "Paris" as pah-ree or "Mexico" as meh-hee-coh, even though that's the "correct" way. I just go with peh-riss and mecks-uh-coh, because those are the commonly-accepted American English forms of the word.

And I don't want to sound like a douchebag. Well, not to a larger degree than I normally do. :D

I also pronounce "minestrone" as mihn-uh-strow-nee instead of mee-neh-strrrrrrow-neh.

And I call the car I drive a hahn-dah, even though it's technically a hone-dah.

You get the picture... Pronunciation varies with geography and culture. Nothing wrong with that.

JJ

pronunciation of english words vary in dialects, that's where geography and culture come in. 'ukulele is not an english word, its pronunciation doesn't deserve to be butchered by excuses.

haole
04-11-2009, 12:26 PM
its completely different. hawaiian is a language, porsche is a car make.

while some may not care what others think, this actually isnt about what you think, its about a fact. its pronounced 'ukulele. the shame is that hawaiian really is the most butchered language in the world. why is it that when you learn a foreign language, you learn how to annunciate correctly, but when speaking hawaiian you decide "ah, **** it, everyone else does it"?

in japanese, the "r" in ramen or any other japanese word for example, isnt pronounced like an english "r". its more of a slur, like a mix between an "l" and an "r". everyone who learns japanese knows this, (somehow the "r" thing is butchered by america: ex. naruto becomes narooto)

Porsche is a German name whose English mispronunciation is more common than the proper one...kind of like ukulele. ;)

Disagree that Hawaiian is the most butchered language. Americans routinely destroy borrowed words/names from European languages and Japanese, and non-native English speakers come up with some colorful variations as well. We could get into a whole argument over linguistics, how most languages are formed simply by butchering others, and whether or not it's really "butchering" to begin with, but I don't know how relevant it is. :o

Yeah, the Hawaiian pronunciation is correct, but the haole-ized pronunciation doesn't necessarily imply any disrespect for the Hawaiian language or the instrument. What's important is enjoying the ukulele, no matter how you say it. :D

Lori
04-11-2009, 01:05 PM
Normally, if I'm talking to someone, I would like them to understand me. So, I pronounce it how ever I think they will understand. In other words, I adjust the pronounciation depending on who I'm talking to.

I agree. Know your audience, and when in doubt use the one that communicates best. A person can come off as a pretentious ass in some circumstances. As a ukulele enthusiast, I don't want to turn anyone off before they get a chance to become "one of us". All I had to do the other day was show up with my tenor mango uke, and I had another convert within 5 seconds (she's a guitarist/ songwriter).

The goal here is to convert first, then re-train. Those "in-the-club" appreciate ook-oo-lay-lay. Think of it as our secret password!

–Lori

ukeshale
04-11-2009, 01:10 PM
I'm not sure if it's england or the region i live but i've met multiple people who have no clue what an ukulele is, no matter how i pronounce it.

As a rule i stick to oo-koo-lay-lay. i'm always torn between ook and youk when it comes to abbreviating it but probably use youk more often than not.

less than two hours until live UU :shaka:

ricdoug
04-11-2009, 01:46 PM
haha, interestingly the Korean version of the word is closer to the original Hawaiian :)
"Oo Koo Le Le"

hangukulele

migukulele

chungukulele

'pends where it's made! LOL! Ric

ricdoug
04-11-2009, 01:50 PM
oo-niform

oo-nicorn

oo-nibombomber

Oo-kraine

Oo-nited States

oo-rinal

oo-sing

Try converting all words that start with "U" into "Oo" and see what kind of reactions YOU get! LOL! Ric

Ukulele JJ
04-11-2009, 02:00 PM
'ukulele is not an english word, its pronunciation doesn't deserve to be butchered by excuses.

Sure it's an English word.

Not originally, of course. But since we didn't have a name for that little four-stringed instrument, we adopted the Hawaiian word for it. And our pronunciation of it eventually became different. Technically, I guess our spelling did too.

This isn't an "excuse". It's a well-known and quite common linguistic process (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loanword). No need to get offended by it. Other languages borrow English words too (and probably "butcher" them in the process).

Here's a little quiz for everyone. I've listed a bunch of English words that came from other languages. See if you can identify language of origin and what the "correct" pronunciation would be from the perspective of that language.

Influenza
Kumquat
Wanderlust
Opera
Sake
Question
Forte (as in "languages are my forte")
Armadillo

:anyone:


JJ

Slick
04-11-2009, 02:06 PM
All languages are in a state of constant flux, changing and evolving all the time. Only dead languages remain constant. Like it or not that's the way of the word.

UkuLeLesReggAe
04-11-2009, 02:13 PM
oombrella..

russ_buss
04-11-2009, 02:16 PM
i say yookalaylee. i also so liberry and "minus well". sue me.

toyrtle
04-11-2009, 03:19 PM
Influenza
Kumquat
Wanderlust
Opera
Sake
Question
Forte (as in "languages are my forte")
Armadillo

:anyone:

JJ

I could not say for sure on any of those words. If I had to guess...

Influenza - french
have no idea for kumquat
Wanderlust - german
not sure for opea, sake, question
Forte - latin
Armadillo - some spanish language

I actually like how bastardized language gets. I don't think that we can say that there is a 'correct' way to say anything. People say things in different dialects even within their own language.

Ukulele JJ
04-11-2009, 03:53 PM
You got two right, Toyrtle! :)

Wanderlust is from German, where they would pronounce the "W" more like a "V" (kinda like Hawaiian in that respect).

Armadillo was taken from Spanish, where it would be pronounced "arm-ah-dee-yoh".

JJ

mwalimu
04-11-2009, 03:55 PM
Tom-AY-to, Tom-AH-to, who cares. I play it, I don't talk to it...

mctrmt
04-11-2009, 04:38 PM
Maybe I'll start saying me-kelele. Or perhaps he-kelele or she-kelele, depending on the gender of the person playing.

ritzer012
04-11-2009, 04:52 PM
i think this is the most interesting thread on the forums lately...i actually didnt mind reading all 6 pages

toyrtle
04-11-2009, 04:55 PM
Tom-AY-to, Tom-AH-to, who cares. I play it, I don't talk to it...

Hmm...that makes me think a song could be written about this...

You say you-kay-lay-le.....I say oo-kay-lay-le

You say umbrella....I say oo-mbrella...and so on

nikolo727
04-11-2009, 04:57 PM
i think this is the most interesting thread on the forums lately...i actually didnt mind reading all 6 pages

yeah it was interesting. ive changed my mind too. I simply think that it doesnt matter how you pronounce it, as long as people know you are playing the coolest instrument known to man!!!

Kaneohe til the end
04-11-2009, 10:24 PM
Sure it's an English word.

Not originally, of course. But since we didn't have a name for that little four-stringed instrument, we adopted the Hawaiian word for it. And our pronunciation of it eventually became different. Technically, I guess our spelling did too.

This isn't an "excuse". It's a well-known and quite common linguistic process (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loanword). No need to get offended by it. Other languages borrow English words too (and probably "butcher" them in the process).

Here's a little quiz for everyone. I've listed a bunch of English words that came from other languages. See if you can identify language of origin and what the "correct" pronunciation would be from the perspective of that language.

Influenza
Kumquat
Wanderlust
Opera
Sake
Question
Forte (as in "languages are my forte")
Armadillo

:anyone:


JJ

First let me say I'm not offended by it.

The loanword thing is a bit different. I would wager that all the words you listed are all in the american dictionary. They have set in stone pronunciations which vary, like you said, based on culture and geography etc., for some though this is different. there are those who will get offended. Often times some things are offensive to you that wouldn't be offensive to others, even in the same society. I doubt you or any of the peoeple here would walk around calling random black people the n-word. They say its offensive because its their culture you're messing with. (sure its different with the whole race thing, but you get the idea) There are those who take offense to it, because it is their culture. Hawaiians are a proud people, some don't take the mispronouncing of words lightly.

How about an example. Ryu, from street fighter, how do you think his name should be said, ryu (japanese style), or rayoo (like narooto)? You could say the pronunciation will change like loanwords, but ultimately his name is japanese. It is not rayoo. Its the same with the 'ukulele. 'ukulele is simply a name for a specific instrument, same as Ryu is a name for a specific person. When you're saying a name wrong, you're simply saying it wrong. Just because there multiple examples doesn't mean its right, nor does it mean it should be acceptable. Again, not offended, just trying to make my point.

Pretty much all I'm saying is to try to see it from the other side of the story. Some people make it sound nonchalant like it doesn't have the power to hurt, but unfortunately, words are a human's ultimate weapon. It separates us from other species. I've never seen a monkey debate on a computer. It sucks but, sticks and stones can break your bones, and words can still hurt you.

deach
04-12-2009, 01:39 AM
i say yookalaylee. i also so liberry and "minus well". sue me.

Aisle sue yew Wennsday.

Ukulele JJ
04-12-2009, 01:47 AM
I've never seen a monkey debate on a computer.

There are some internet forums I've been on where I wonder if in fact that's what's going on. :D

But that's what's great about UU. A conversation like this anywhere else probably would've descended into name-calling and Godwin's Law several posts ago. But everyone is pretty chill here. :shaka:

JJ

Pippin
04-12-2009, 02:55 AM
The word ukulele is derived from the POLYNESIAN or HAWAIIAN oo-koo-lay-lay and has become the ENGLISH accepted pronunciation.

Why not consider that the Portuguese had their musical instrument commandeered by the Hawaiians and taken for their own... renamed.

You know, the funny thing about this whole discussion is that language is a living thing, with the possible exceptions of Chinese, where ancient classics that are 5000 years old can still be read today, and Latin, which is restricted in use to a small population of clergy and the scientific community.

Japan has taken English words, like baseball and made them their own... base - eh - bah - do. That is a good example.

Americans do not seek to offend Hawaiians or Polynesians and their culture. In fact, Americans love Hawaii and Tahiti. Ukulele has become a word used in the English (according to the science of etymology - that is, the study of the evolution of words). Languages adopt and adapt words from other languages.

The English language is a complex collection of Olde Germanic, Norman, Gaelic, Greek, Scandinavian, and other languages. We have borrowed words from many other languages in many centuries of learning to communicate with others. It is a natural progression.

Hawaiians borrowed their instrument from foreigners and made it their own, gave it a name, and others have come to love it, too. That, to me, is really cool.

If you are Hawaiian, don't take that as an insult, instead, take it as what it really is, you have become infuential. Lots of people now love an instrument that you adopted in the 19th Century and they attribute its origin to Hawaiian people and the islands. You made the ukulele famous.

That's really cool, too.

ukeshale
04-12-2009, 02:59 AM
First let me say I'm not offended by it.

The loanword thing is a bit different. I would wager that all the words you listed are all in the american dictionary. They have set in stone pronunciations which vary, like you said, based on culture and geography etc., for some though this is different. there are those who will get offended. Often times some things are offensive to you that wouldn't be offensive to others, even in the same society. I doubt you or any of the peoeple here would walk around calling random black people the n-word. They say its offensive because its their culture you're messing with. (sure its different with the whole race thing, but you get the idea) There are those who take offense to it, because it is their culture. Hawaiians are a proud people, some don't take the mispronouncing of words lightly.

How about an example. Ryu, from street fighter, how do you think his name should be said, ryu (japanese style), or rayoo (like narooto)? You could say the pronunciation will change like loanwords, but ultimately his name is japanese. It is not rayoo. Its the same with the 'ukulele. 'ukulele is simply a name for a specific instrument, same as Ryu is a name for a specific person. When you're saying a name wrong, you're simply saying it wrong. Just because there multiple examples doesn't mean its right, nor does it mean it should be acceptable. Again, not offended, just trying to make my point.

Pretty much all I'm saying is to try to see it from the other side of the story. Some people make it sound nonchalant like it doesn't have the power to hurt, but unfortunately, words are a human's ultimate weapon. It separates us from other species. I've never seen a monkey debate on a computer. It sucks but, sticks and stones can break your bones, and words can still hurt you.


That's what's special about the UU forum. I feel like I can learn from everybody here. The debates are never reduced to mindless rabble

ricdoug
04-12-2009, 03:59 AM
ryu (japanese style.)

Ryu, from "Ryuku" - Okinawan. Hogen, verses Nihongo. Ric

ricdoug
04-12-2009, 04:02 AM
base - eh - bah - do

Bei-su Bar-u (see attached image, in katakana). Ric

Lori
04-12-2009, 07:23 AM
I know these subjects can be packed with politics and pain. The balance between cultural pride and separatism is tricky. But I don't think anyone is trying to suppress the Hawaiian culture anymore. Now is the time for people to become more familiar with Hawaiian culture, and the growing popularity of the ukulele can help that cause. It is very similar to what went on with the many different American Indian tribes. I think people today are very interested in preserving and cherishing these cultural histories. And the Ukulele, along with beautiful Hawaii itself, can go a long way to making people notice this rich culture.
–Lori

Brad Bordessa
04-12-2009, 08:17 AM
Since we've been discussing this, and the general conclusion is that 'ukulele is pronounced oo-koo-le-le, lets try and get "you-ka-lay-lee" off of Wikipedia. That is the first thing to come up when people search "'ukulele", so if it is wrong everyone will be misled.

It says Wiki doesn't want anyone to change the pronounciation without bring it up in "disscusion". It has been brought up, but just with the same 'ole: ukulele is a english word, the Hawaiian way of saying is oo-koo-le-le..." The Hawaiian way is the right way people! Let's get it on the front page as so.

Make a post to suggest a change!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Ukulele#Pronunciation

nikolo727
04-12-2009, 08:38 AM
Americans do not seek to offend Hawaiians or Polynesians and their culture.


thats pretty true, but I do have to say that I do see people saying the word,"ukulele" in a condensending way. they overpronounce the "lay" and sometimes afterword start to dance around, playing the air-uke and making obnoxious "plink and tink" noises.


just sayin lol. I just hate it when people do that to me.

haolejohn
04-12-2009, 09:33 AM
Americans do not seek to offend Hawaiians or Polynesians and their culture. In fact, Americans love Hawaii and Tahiti.

In my experience Americans seem to want to offend anyone not American. Well that has been my experiences abroad.

Pippin- Very good post though. I really like your plug to let Hawaiians know that they have become influential.

freedive135
04-12-2009, 09:38 AM
I am a Haole so I say it (you)Ukulele and that is the way I learned it in school years ago....

My question would be is the song title then "oo-koo-lay-lay Lady or the Haole way "Ukulele Lady"????


This reminds me of livin in Missouri... is it mizz-ou-re "if your from the West side of the state" or mizz-or-a "if from the East side...

Cuz no one says miss-our-i !!!!!

ricdoug
04-12-2009, 09:57 AM
I know these subjects can be packed with politics and pain. The balance between cultural pride and separatism is tricky. But I don't think anyone is trying to suppress the Hawaiian culture anymore. Now is the time for people to become more familiar with Hawaiian culture, and the growing popularity of the ukulele can help that cause. It is very similar to what went on with the many different American Indian tribes. I think people today are very interested in preserving and cherishing these cultural histories. And the Ukulele, along with beautiful Hawaii itself, can go a long way to making people notice this rich culture.
–Lori

As long as the George Formby Society lives on I doubt that will happen, Lori:

http://www.georgeformby.co.uk

What many don't know is that "UKELELE" is also a proper spelling and Yukelele is a proper pronunciation in most dictionaries, usualy the first accepted pronunciation:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ukelele

Ukulele

Main Entry: uku·le·le
Variant(s): also uke·le·le \ˌyü-kə-ˈlā-lē, ˌü-\
Function: noun
Etymology: Hawaiian ʽukulele, from ʽuku flea + lele jumping
Date: 1896
: a small guitar of Portuguese origin popularized in Hawaii in the 1880s and strung typically with four strings

I tend to pronounce it based on the surrounding crowd sometimes explaining after calling it "yukulele", that the proper pronunciation is "ookulele". The Portugese had "machetes", not "ookuleles". Some things are pretty ingrained. When I lived in Indiana, the town of Peru was pronounced "Peeru" by all the locals. You were a know outsider if you pronounced it like the country

Kaneohe til the end
04-12-2009, 10:46 AM
Americans do not seek to offend Hawaiians or Polynesians and their culture..

If I came out that way, my bad, but I know no one means to offend, sometimes it just happens, some people are like that, again not me, just trying to make a point for the other side of the story, a side not often defended. . inevitably someone will find something wrong in anything you do. So do what it is you do best and remember to have enough tolerance for two.
(Adapted from Brandon Boyd)

1014
04-12-2009, 02:20 PM
I read the rationale but I don't accept it. As a Kanaka Maoli who's been through the war, I've learned to pick my battles, but I won't compromise the language and feed ignorance because someone doesn't get it. The willful ignorance of people to continually keep alive the wrong pronounciation may very well be a small cut to some, but it is one of a thousand cuts of genocide to the Hawaiian people.

hoosierhiver
04-12-2009, 02:27 PM
Manuel Nunes who created the ukulele or at least developed it from a Portugese instrument, was an immigrant from Portugal. I don't know if he was the one who actually "named" the instrument, he may have called it something else. But if he did call it a Yook-u-lele or a Uke-u-lele or something else entirely, I'm sure he said it with a heavy portugese accent and didn't sound anything like what we hear today.

Captain Google
04-12-2009, 02:48 PM
I see the two pronunciations as two separate entities. "Ook&c." is Hawaiian, and "yook&c." is English. Linguistic adaptation is, to keep with the cutting theme, a knife without a blade. It couldn't even cut bread.

But what do I know? I'm just an arrogant teenage haole. :rolleyes:

Link
04-12-2009, 03:27 PM
Meh. Let's all just play the damn thing :)

Valerie
04-12-2009, 04:15 PM
I say you-kulele because that's how people around where I live pronounce it.

And I've rarely called it oo-kulele... I mean, I know it's the traditional pronounciation- but at the same time I don't pronounce Texas as Tejas. I stick to the American pronounciation. And the American pronounciation of the Hawaiian word is you-kulele.

To me, it's all toe-may-toe, toe-mah-toe. If I went around saying toe-mah-toe, I think most people would get what I was saying, but I'd get some weird looks.

And I'm not Hawaiian, and I'd feel like a lame wanna-be if I pronounced it oo-kulele.

Ukulele JJ
04-12-2009, 05:05 PM
I read the rationale but I don't accept it. As a Kanaka Maoli who's been through the war, I've learned to pick my battles, but I won't compromise the language and feed ignorance because someone doesn't get it. The willful ignorance of people to continually keep alive the wrong pronounciation may very well be a small cut to some, but it is one of a thousand cuts of genocide to the Hawaiian people.

So far this conversation has been polite and I've enjoyed reading the perspective of both sides. I guess it had to end sometime. :(

It's too bad you see differing pronunciations of foreign words as a "compromise" and an "insult", even after plenty of posts have assured you that it is not. And it's a real shame that you've elevated a common linguistic process (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglicisation) to the level of "genocide". I mean... wow.

You've accused me (and others here) of ignorance and of "not getting it", and that's an insult that I really don't think is called for. Still, it's your right to make it.

But you might want to think about your post the next time you say "Paris" or "Spain" or "Munich", or any of a hundred other words you are likely pronouncing in their English form.

That's all I'm going to say about the matter here.

JJ

Link
04-12-2009, 05:12 PM
I read the rationale but I don't accept it. As a Kanaka Maoli who's been through the war, I've learned to pick my battles, but I won't compromise the language and feed ignorance because someone doesn't get it. The willful ignorance of people to continually keep alive the wrong pronounciation may very well be a small cut to some, but it is one of a thousand cuts of genocide to the Hawaiian people.
Seriously? Come on. This is like me getting pissed over a Chinese person not saying hot dog the exact way that I say it.

Edit: Ah, JJ put it better. :)

Captain Google
04-12-2009, 05:40 PM
Meh. Let's all just play the damn thing :)

You, sir, win.

Ahnko Honu
04-12-2009, 09:41 PM
Bei-su Bar-u (see attached image, in katakana). Ric

When I lived in Japan decades ago baseball was called "yakyu" not "beisu baru".

Ahnko Honu
04-12-2009, 09:52 PM
I say 'ukulele ('oo-koo-leh-leh) not yoo-koo-lay-lay. I try not to even say "uke" (yook) unless it's a brand name like "Camp Uke". I won't butcher proper pronunciation to cater to tourists, no offense. :shaka:

toyrtle
04-12-2009, 10:24 PM
It's definitely a loaded topic....

I would have to say though that even if I said it with an oo - it wouldn't make me any more Hawaiian. There are lots of Hawaiian words I couldn't even begin to say - so where does it stop?

I love the Hawaiian culture and I don't want to change it - but I don't want it to change me either!

If I was Hawaiian and insisted on saying 'ukelele, then people would respect that. Juat like they respect any culture who says their own words correctly.

I am an American, living in Australia, there are tons of American pronounciations I use that I get teased about all the time - but I don't think that they are disrespecting my culture.

Kaneohe til the end
04-12-2009, 11:03 PM
It's definitely a loaded topic....

I would have to say though that even if I said it with an oo - it wouldn't make me any more Hawaiian. There are lots of Hawaiian words I couldn't even begin to say - so where does it stop?

I love the Hawaiian culture and I don't want to change it - but I don't want it to change me either!

If I was Hawaiian and insisted on saying 'ukelele, then people would respect that. Juat like they respect any culture who says their own words correctly.

I am an American, living in Australia, there are tons of American pronounciations I use that I get teased about all the time - but I don't think that they are disrespecting my culture.

it was never about trying to be more hawaiian. look, if you try with all your effort to do something, eventually you will do it. to say "where does it stop" is ridiculous, it shouldn't need to stop, you should try to better yourself always, even if you're only learning one word at a time.

and living in australia you should realize that everyone there speaks with an accent. not to say that the american way is the right way to say everything, i guess american could be seen as an accent in europe or australia. in your case they arent disrepecting your culture, because theyre just teasing you. if someone with a heavy austalian accent tried to say 'ukulele like a hawaiian, chances are he'd have a difficult time, much like how a japanese person would. if you speak with an accent it changes the rules a bit, because almost anything you say will sound different than someone else. its difficult because sometimes certain languages dont use certain sounds (like japanese and the letter "l").

it comes down to effort for me. if i hear you even trying to say it right, i appreciate it.

toyrtle
04-12-2009, 11:45 PM
it was never about trying to be more hawaiian. look, if you try with all your effort to do something, eventually you will do it. to say "where does it stop" is ridiculous, it shouldn't need to stop, you should try to better yourself always, even if you're only learning one word at a time.

and living in australia you should realize that everyone there speaks with an accent. not to say that the american way is the right way to say everything, i guess american could be seen as an accent in europe or australia. in your case they arent disrepecting your culture, because theyre just teasing you. if someone with a heavy austalian accent tried to say 'ukulele like a hawaiian, chances are he'd have a difficult time, much like how a japanese person would. if you speak with an accent it changes the rules a bit, because almost anything you say will sound different than someone else. its difficult because sometimes certain languages dont use certain sounds (like japanese and the letter "l").

it comes down to effort for me. if i hear you even trying to say it right, i appreciate it.

How does it make me a better person if I say 'ukulele?

Culture is relative to each individual's experience.

You are asking me to respect Hawaiian culture, while making many assumptions about other cultures.

I'm not saying it's wrong to say 'ukulele, even outside of Hawaii - I'm just saying that's it's also not wrong to say ukulele, even in Hawaii.

1014
04-13-2009, 06:26 AM
Whoa...
The OP asked a question about the correct pronounciation of 'ukulele. But because I am upfront about the Hawaiian pronounciation, I am considered impolite? I guess I don't have the aloha spirit either.

Kaneohe til the end
04-13-2009, 09:40 AM
How does it make me a better person if I say 'ukulele?

Culture is relative to each individual's experience.

You are asking me to respect Hawaiian culture, while making many assumptions about other cultures.

I'm not saying it's wrong to say 'ukulele, even outside of Hawaii - I'm just saying that's it's also not wrong to say ukulele, even in Hawaii.

Culture is relative to the individual, but also to geography. cultures will be similar between people who live in the same area. thats why we have a "hawaiian" culture, or an "american" culture (although this also depends on where you live).

its not just saying 'ukulele, its attempting to say any (in this case) hawaiian word correctly. its not so much that it makes you a better person, but it will show those who can appreciate it that you are trying to respect it.

you should respect all cultures, i never said just hawaiian, but that's what this thread was about. if i made an assumption about another culture, then i really am sorry, but i don't see where i made that assumption.

about it not being wrong to say ukulele in Hawai'i, in the ways discussed in this thread, you are correct. but you would probably receive the same teasing as you would in Australia, for the same thing.

Pippin
04-13-2009, 11:26 AM
Bei-su Bar-u (see attached image, in katakana). Ric

Ric, I was using a phonetic spelling to show pronunciation, not the Hepburn system... but I get your point.

Pippin
04-13-2009, 11:29 AM
Damn, I am glad that we don't have to call it by the Portuguese name.

haolejohn
04-13-2009, 11:33 AM
it comes down to effort for me. if i hear you even trying to say it right, i appreciate it.

Kaneohe til the end-Your wisdom is too great. When i got stationed in Kaneohe of all places I was a total haole that knew nothing of the Hawaiian culture. I knew about culture but not Hawaiian. I remember when Sgt. Gooden picked me up at the airport and we were traveling over the likelike hwy. I pronounced it like like instead of the proper way and he laughed and called me dumb. Few months later I started dating a Kanaka maoli wahine and she turned me on to the Hawaiian culture. I started listening tothe music and reading about the history.

I was always offended when I got lumped into "all you haoles" comments. I wasn't part of all you haoles. It is like saying all ya'll from the south owned slaves. I knew to gain respect in a world that I was now a minority I had to respect the culture and make an effort. This by no means belittled me or anything. I always try to pronounce foreign words the way they are meant to be pronounced. I get many smiles and headshakes by my efforts but it is amazing what happens when you call a kid An-hel instead of angel. There is a really good book called "my name is maria" I recommend anyone read it.

I have my students in PUPS pronounce ukulele the Hawaiian way. They are rewarded for proper pronunciation. It is funny because they correct anyone (including) our principal for wrongful pronounciation.

What it boil;s down to is that it is a matter of pronunciation. But that pronunciation can be made with a little bit of effort.

I know that effort works. I never got beat up while I lived in Hawaii for 5 (2 on Oahu and 3 on Maui) years (the stories are true). I was accepted because I made effort. I was even told I was an inside out coconut.

upskydowncloud
04-13-2009, 11:50 AM
This has turned into a pretty heated and interesting topic!

I thought I'd give my spin on the pronounciation from an English perspective. To start I don't think the vast majority of people from England have ever been near Hawaii, let alone spoken to anyone who would tell them the proper way to pronounce ukulele. If I told someone I played the ook-ulele they would have no idea what the hell I was talking about so I simply have to pronounce it uke-ulele to avoid confusion. Added to that I'm not Hawaiian and it would sound rather stupid in my accent. I'd make the effort if I was in Hawaii but it still sounds silly, like when American people say things like bugger and arse and tenner.

It's variations like this that make language interesting, if everyone sounded the same and used the same langauge and dialect the world would be pretty boring. You can take pronouncing things correctly a bit too far, how many of you pronounce restaurant correctly by not sounding the 't' at the end? I know I don't and I don't live that far from France.

Can we not just celebrate the difference?

P.S this is in no way genocide I'm afraid, let's not get carried away...

MGM
04-13-2009, 12:37 PM
hey you can call it a four string guitar and it doesnt matter to me... I have many customers ordeing one and still saying guitar when they mean ukulele... lol I dont even bat an eye

Lori
04-13-2009, 02:13 PM
hey you can call it a four string guitar and it doesnt matter to me... I have many customers ordeing one and still saying guitar when they mean ukulele... lol I dont even bat an eye

I just started with the ukulele, and it must be that reentrant tuning, but I keep having to catch myself because the word banjo comes to mind when I meant ukulele. I play guitar and some banjo, and now the uke. Only now, after 2 months, it's getting easier for the right word to come to me! :rolleyes:

–Lori

toyrtle
04-13-2009, 02:51 PM
This has turned into a pretty heated and interesting topic!

I thought I'd give my spin on the pronounciation from an English perspective. To start I don't think the vast majority of people from England have ever been near Hawaii, let alone spoken to anyone who would tell them the proper way to pronounce ukulele. If I told someone I played the ook-ulele they would have no idea what the hell I was talking about so I simply have to pronounce it uke-ulele to avoid confusion. Added to that I'm not Hawaiian and it would sound rather stupid in my accent. I'd make the effort if I was in Hawaii but it still sounds silly, like when American people say things like bugger and arse and tenner.

It's variations like this that make language interesting, if everyone sounded the same and used the same langauge and dialect the world would be pretty boring. You can take pronouncing things correctly a bit too far, how many of you pronounce restaurant correctly by not sounding the 't' at the end? I know I don't and I don't live that far from France.

Can we not just celebrate the difference?

P.S this is in no way genocide I'm afraid, let's not get carried away...

I think that is similar to what I'm trying to say.

I appreciate the difference. I appreciate the culture behind the word. But I think that in my current culture, pronouncing 'ukulele correctly wouldn't be seen as respecting Hawaiian culture.

I wonder though, the successful, professional ukulele players - why can't it start with them? When Jake came here, he did say 'ukulele, but why didn't he asked to be introduced as a 'ukulele player? When he had his television appearence he said uke - and he was on a show where it was okay to be pretentious about music. If he had taught everyone there to say 'ukulele, that would have had a real impact.

Link
04-13-2009, 02:57 PM
I think that is similar to what I'm trying to say.

I appreciate the difference. I appreciate the culture behind the word. But I think that in my current culture, pronouncing 'ukulele correctly wouldn't be seen as respecting Hawaiian culture.

I wonder though, the successful, professional ukulele players - why can't it start with them? When Jake came here, he did say 'ukulele, but why didn't he asked to be introduced as a 'ukulele player? When he had his television appearence he said uke - and he was on a show where it was okay to be pretentious about music. If he had taught everyone there to say 'ukulele, that would have had a real impact.
Not that I know him, but I doubt if he cares. He probably just likes to play the thing.

I see so many people saying this is an interesting topic.. am I the only one who thinks it's crazy? I'm all for good discussion with opposing views. But about something like this? Do we honestly care this much? Kinda sad.

Brad Bordessa
04-13-2009, 03:35 PM
What's sad is that so many people don't care. It's all about respect. I hope that everyone here can find the respect needed to go beyond the "haole" styreyotype.

Peace

Link
04-13-2009, 03:53 PM
Well the next Canadian guy that says aboot to me at work (here in the U.S.) is getting punched in the face. And I'm blaming you. Haha.

Maybe respect goes two ways? No?

dave alexander
04-13-2009, 03:57 PM
Lets remember that since we are very international here, and the ukulele is worldwide, that we can be different and still be respectful. According to some folks in England, I pronounce everything incorrectly and even spell color wrong.

Actually I'm a US Yankee living in the southern US.

Where we "cut off the lights" "stand in line" (not on line) and where a wool hat is called a "tobaggon." (Up north of here a tobaggan is a wood sled.) Oh, and a pen and a pin are pronounced the same way.

I say uke or ukulele (in the yoo-koo-laylee way.) Not out of disrespect for Hawaiian or Polynesian culture, but because thats how we say things here. I'd temporarily change if I visited the islands.

haole
04-13-2009, 04:01 PM
Playing the ukulele and spreading the love of the instrument is a great way to show respect and appreciation of Hawaiian culture, no matter how you pronounce it.

1014
04-13-2009, 04:07 PM
Truthfully the genocide comment is an extremist view that I thought I out-grew but sometimes when I am being very guarded especially about hawai'I I pull out. I could actually sit here and debate it with those opposing that view but this really isn't the time and place for it. Besides, most people don't want to hear let alone acknowledge it isn't happening. And I'm tired.

I guess I could be nicer about it, but my dad never spoke 'olelo. My grandfather told us never to speak it because we would sound stupid. My tutu taught us kids only simple words. I'm truly a book hawaiian, searching for my native tongue through outside sources. Most literature has been in the last 30 years. So there is a chunk of history is hidden from me. Why shouldn't I protect it?

haolejohn
04-13-2009, 04:38 PM
Truthfully the genocide comment is an extremist view that I thought I out-grew but sometimes when I am being very guarded especially about hawai'I I pull out. I could actually sit here and debate it with those opposing that view but this really isn't the time and place for it. Besides, most people don't want to hear let alone acknowledge it isn't happening. And I'm tired.

I guess I could be nicer about it, but my dad never spoke 'olelo. My grandfather told us never to speak it because we would sound stupid. My tutu taught us kids only simple words. I'm truly a book hawaiian, searching for my native tongue through outside sources. Most literature has been in the last 30 years. So there is a chunk of history is hidden from me. Why shouldn't I protect it?

1014 no worries Brah. I tell everyone I know unless you have lived in Hawai'i, you can't really understand the sensitivity of these issues (unless you are a native american). Your genocide comment might be a little extreme but it isn't far off. I have only met 2 pure Hawaiians during my five years living in the islands. That is not a lot. I met plenty 1/2 and 3/4 but a whole nation almost wipped off the face of the earth.

Brad Bordessa
04-13-2009, 04:49 PM
What's sad is that so many people don't care. It's all about respect. I hope that everyone here can find the respect needed to go beyond the "haole" styreyotype.

Sorry, I stepped over a line here.

I do still think that oo-koo-le-le is the respectable way to say it, but I think that some Hawaiian history research would be in order for all players of the Hawaiian instrument the 'ukulele.

You will have to do some of your own research, but it's good info to know.

http://travel.latimes.com/destinations/hawaii/clm/in-depth/history

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Hawaii

You will be looking for info about the overthrow. That is the reason the Hawaiian people are touchy about this subject. They were pretty well disrespected by white people.

ricdoug
04-13-2009, 04:55 PM
Ric, I was using a phonetic spelling to show pronunciation, not the Hepburn system... but I get your point.

Yup, Mickey. That was my point. We lived in Hokkaido from 1950 to 1955, before immigrating to the United States. Very mixed background - mom Japanese/Dutch, dad Scottish/German/Somalian. Lot's of ways to say the same thing, even in the same country. I talk with friends family in Tennessee differently than with friends and family in California, brah! Ric

Valerie
04-13-2009, 05:39 PM
As far as history goes... Well, I can't point to some ancestor and say: He was wronged by such and such a group.

But I can point to my grandfather and say: He was wronged by his own brother. The fight caused a rift in my family that ended with my grandfather moving to the states, and the rest of the family staying in Scotland. The rift is still alive today. In fact, a few years back a cousin went to Scotland and tried to visit the "old" family to get geneological information. He was chased, and then beaten up for his troubles (and they had never met him before.)

I say this to say that everyone has some attrocity it their family history. Some minor, some severe, some spanning whole cultures, and some small like what happened to my family. But, no matter how small, my heart aches when I think of my relatives in Scotland, and how much the rift upset my grandfather.

So, I can understand how people would want to protect something- or could be angry or sad about something that didn't happen to them- or feel like something was stolen/taken from them by past events.

But, at the same time that I think it is important to never forget our personal family/cultural history, I think it is important to realize that the past cannot be changed and there is no reason to get angry about it (or at least not to take that anger out on others.)

The world would be a much better place if people stopped fighting the wars of their ancesters and made their own friends/enemies.

I am not Hawaiian and perhaps it is both ignorant and pompus of me to say this: But I don't think there is a single ukulele player out there who says it yuke-a-lay-lay (or however else) and says it that way to piss on Hawaiian culture.

Sure it is ignorance, but it is innocent ignorance.

Getting upset about it serves no true purpose save to cause personal grief- and who wants any more of that?

toyrtle
04-13-2009, 07:22 PM
Not that I know him, but I doubt if he cares. He probably just likes to play the thing.

I see so many people saying this is an interesting topic.. am I the only one who thinks it's crazy? I'm all for good discussion with opposing views. But about something like this? Do we honestly care this much? Kinda sad.

I just like to play the thing too.

uke5417
04-13-2009, 08:29 PM
This argument is what I like least about playing The Four-Stringy Musical Thingy That Cannot Be Named.

To misquote Rodney King, "Can we all get a song?"

Kaneohe til the end
04-13-2009, 10:34 PM
Kaneohe til the end-Your wisdom is too great. When i got stationed in Kaneohe of all places I was a total haole that knew nothing of the Hawaiian culture. I knew about culture but not Hawaiian. I remember when Sgt. Gooden picked me up at the airport and we were traveling over the likelike hwy. I pronounced it like like instead of the proper way and he laughed and called me dumb. Few months later I started dating a Kanaka maoli wahine and she turned me on to the Hawaiian culture. I started listening tothe music and reading about the history.

I was always offended when I got lumped into "all you haoles" comments. I wasn't part of all you haoles. It is like saying all ya'll from the south owned slaves. I knew to gain respect in a world that I was now a minority I had to respect the culture and make an effort. This by no means belittled me or anything. I always try to pronounce foreign words the way they are meant to be pronounced. I get many smiles and headshakes by my efforts but it is amazing what happens when you call a kid An-hel instead of angel. There is a really good book called "my name is maria" I recommend anyone read it.

I have my students in PUPS pronounce ukulele the Hawaiian way. They are rewarded for proper pronunciation. It is funny because they correct anyone (including) our principal for wrongful pronounciation.

What it boil;s down to is that it is a matter of pronunciation. But that pronunciation can be made with a little bit of effort.

I know that effort works. I never got beat up while I lived in Hawaii for 5 (2 on Oahu and 3 on Maui) years (the stories are true). I was accepted because I made effort. I was even told I was an inside out coconut.

thanks for the compliment, but trust me, im just an 18 year old fool.


Well the next Canadian guy that says aboot to me at work (here in the U.S.) is getting punched in the face. And I'm blaming you. Haha.

Maybe respect goes two ways? No?

lol

ricdoug
04-13-2009, 10:40 PM
I posted this question on a European ukulele forum and these were some of the responses:

"For a bit of a laugh, try applying the Hawaiian pronunciation to 'Ukulele Lady'...."

""yook" for me.... but then I've never said oonicorn or ooniform or even oonicycle"

"It depends on whether or not you are masquerading as a faux Hawaiian"

"Nothing can shock me any more, since a British guy once was talking to me about something strange he called "sykie". Eventually I found out he meant "psyche". "

"I think the move from ukelele to ukulele is enough of a change to faux Hawaiian, for now"

"I say "Yuke" for short, and ookoolaylee for long..."

"Yuke for short - always - ook really would be too much."

Ahnko Honu
04-13-2009, 10:51 PM
I posted this question on a European ukulele forum and these were some of the responses:

"For a bit of a laugh, try applying the Hawaiian pronunciation to 'Ukulele Lady'...."

""yook" for me.... but then I've never said oonicorn or ooniform or even oonicycle"

"It depends on whether or not you are masquerading as a faux Hawaiian"

"Nothing can shock me any more, since a British guy once was talking to me about something strange he called "sykie". Eventually I found out he meant "psyche". "

"I think the move from ukelele to ukulele is enough of a change to faux Hawaiian, for now"

"I say "Yuke" for short, and ookoolaylee for long..."

"Yuke for short - always - ook really would be too much."

Which only proves Europeans can be just as ignorant as some Americans. ;)
If some poor bloke there makes the effort to pronounce 'ukulele correctly they are labeled as "faux Hawaiian"?
Comparing the pronunciation of a Hawaiian word to that of a English word? ('ukulele vs unicycle, unicorn, uniform) is just illogical at best (I'm being nice, actually pretty stupid reasoning).

deach
04-14-2009, 08:08 AM
Well the next Canadian guy that says aboot ....
I think it's quite sexy when MCRMTMRMT says "aboot".

Varsagod
04-14-2009, 09:17 AM
I say "oo-ku-le-le" :)

Pippin
04-14-2009, 09:19 AM
In real life, I am descended from the last king of Ulster, Northern Ireland. My father's family left Ireland and came to America and settled in New York City in the late 1800s. But, we have never been offended that anyone pronounces our name wrong. We don't care that Boston calls their basketball team the "Celtics" pronounced Sell-ticks, rather than Keltics. I don't even care that an English Lord is living in my family's castle in Ireland. We occupied Enniskillin for over four hundred years.

Believe me, I can appreciate Hawaiians who feel their land was taken away. They came to Hawaii from Tahiti (according to most accounts) and settled there. Ireland was "taken" by the English, but I have a bunch of English friends. They didn't steal our land and our castle, that happened over a century ago.

My mother's family came to America at the first English settlement, Jamestown, Virginia. So, her family helped build this country. Four of my ancestors were US presidents and three signed the Declaration of Independence. Over one hundred of them fought during the American Revolution.

While my mother's family were friends with the American Indian, they encroached on their lands as the country spread westward.

We have an interesting history (America), but so does the rest of the world. There has been conquest throughout recorded history, from every culture. It is not an American invention.

What I love about music, though, is that it transcends culture and the borders of nations. Everyone here can appreciate the beauty of the Hawaiian language, even if they cannot do it justice trying to speak it. Everyone here can appreciate the wonderful tones of Hawaiian ukuleles.

To me, Hawaii is just about the perfect paradise. Seventy-five degrees average temperature year round. Good music, friendly people, beautiful beaches, the best surfing anywhere, great fishing, and a lot more.

So, I tip my hat to Hawaii and the people that make it a great place to visit.

Captain Google
04-14-2009, 09:48 AM
I think it's quite sexy when MCRMTMRMT says "aboot".

I had a teacher who said "aboat".

Varsagod
04-14-2009, 09:55 AM
Is it like the great "Fluud" in the Bible? =P

toyrtle
04-14-2009, 10:59 PM
So I've decided...

I will call it a uke as much as possible, and use ukulele sparingly.

When I visit Hawaii I will be purchasing a brand new kick ass 'ukulele.

AND as often as possible I will have a "Did you know" conversation with people to inform them of the correct way to say ukulele. I've already done it once today...

grappler
04-14-2009, 11:57 PM
lol toya you chunking machine

BillMartino
04-15-2009, 12:51 AM
I posted this question on a European ukulele forum and these were some of the responses:

"For a bit of a laugh, try applying the Hawaiian pronunciation to 'Ukulele Lady'...."

""yook" for me.... but then I've never said oonicorn or ooniform or even oonicycle"

"It depends on whether or not you are masquerading as a faux Hawaiian"

"Nothing can shock me any more, since a British guy once was talking to me about something strange he called "sykie". Eventually I found out he meant "psyche". "

"I think the move from ukelele to ukulele is enough of a change to faux Hawaiian, for now"

"I say "Yuke" for short, and ookoolaylee for long..."

"Yuke for short - always - ook really would be too much."

Wasn't that a little intellectually dishonest of you, Ric, to post those quotes without pointing out that only three of them were from Europeans, including the one that doesn't even touch on your question? Out of the other four, two were from the one Australian (not me!), one from a Canadian and one from someone in the good ol' US of A. Just what were you up to, hmm?

As for the topic of this thread, I pronounce 'ukulele' the way it's most commonly pronounced in English, i.e. yoo-kuh-lay-lee, and I'm yet to see a convincing argument as to why, when I'm speaking English, I should attempt to use the Hawaiian pronunciation instead. Even so, I'm pretty sure that if I were in Hawaii I'd make the attempt, because I suspect that there, at least, it would feel right.

ricdoug
04-15-2009, 05:19 AM
Not at all, Bill. Just as this is a Hawaiian forum, with an international base. I think, from personal experience with well over a thousand players, that the "Y" version is more common outside of Hawaii and was using that as one example only. I hear the "Y" more often than the "Oo". Depending on the setting, I will sometimes give explain the Hawaiin pronunciation. While recruiting new players and spreading ukulele good will, it's not always wise to be snobbish and immediately correct their diction. Just wait for the appropriate opportunity. There's a mix of several pronunciations in this thread, too.

On a side note, when we signed up with the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, Kristina who is Australian born in their membership services (now in business development), spelled our website address with "ukelele" and it did not work initially. I printed out the Merriam-Webster section:

Main Entry: uku·le·le
Variant(s): also uke·le·le \ˌyü-kə-ˈlā-lē, ˌü-\
Function: noun
Etymology: Hawaiian ʽukulele, from ʽuku flea + lele jumping
Date: 1896
: a small guitar of Portuguese origin popularized in Hawaii in the 1880s and strung typically with four strings

and politely and nicely pointed out to her that her spelling was correct, but that we used the "other" spelling on our website.

The point being, I don't feel most pronounce ukulele with a "Y" to piss off anyone as a rule. Ric

ricdoug
04-15-2009, 05:52 AM
Forum member Jimmy explains it politely with humor (watch some of his other videos, if you'd like a good laugh! LOL!) in this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBO1ELO7k7E

dominicfoundthemooon
04-15-2009, 06:28 AM
language is tricky.. and language matters...

i speak with my students everyday about this. it is a hot button issue in my area. what we have to understand is that we are HUMAN and we all say things and talk the way we were raised.

this does not mean that we should be able to talk anyway that we want with people if we are using hate full terms.. but when it comes to words like ukulele it is my openion you can say it the way you like. it is art. it is music.

with that in mind... it is good to know the true word... to know the history..

here in missouri.. and in the ozark region.. i here people say GEE-TAR for guitar. or GIT-TAR... it kind of depends one where you are from...

now what i would tell my students is that if you are in a ukulele shop.. you might want to use the oo sound when you say it.. maybe to get more respect..

everyone here should watch.. "do you speak american (http://www.pbs.org/speak/)" for realz.. watch it!

d

Tanizaki
04-15-2009, 02:08 PM
First let me say I'm not offended by it.

The loanword thing is a bit different. I would wager that all the words you listed are all in the american dictionary. They have set in stone pronunciations which vary, like you said, based on culture and geography etc., for some though this is different. there are those who will get offended. Often times some things are offensive to you that wouldn't be offensive to others, even in the same society. I doubt you or any of the peoeple here would walk around calling random black people the n-word. They say its offensive because its their culture you're messing with. (sure its different with the whole race thing, but you get the idea) There are those who take offense to it, because it is their culture. Hawaiians are a proud people, some don't take the mispronouncing of words lightly.

How about an example. Ryu, from street fighter, how do you think his name should be said, ryu (japanese style), or rayoo (like narooto)? You could say the pronunciation will change like loanwords, but ultimately his name is japanese. It is not rayoo. Its the same with the 'ukulele. 'ukulele is simply a name for a specific instrument, same as Ryu is a name for a specific person. When you're saying a name wrong, you're simply saying it wrong. Just because there multiple examples doesn't mean its right, nor does it mean it should be acceptable. Again, not offended, just trying to make my point.

Pretty much all I'm saying is to try to see it from the other side of the story. Some people make it sound nonchalant like it doesn't have the power to hurt, but unfortunately, words are a human's ultimate weapon. It separates us from other species. I've never seen a monkey debate on a computer. It sucks but, sticks and stones can break your bones, and words can still hurt you.

Guess what? Ukulele appears in English dictionaries. The primary pronunciation is given as yü-kə-ˈlā-lē.

The pronunciations of words are not "set in stone". Dictionaries are descriptive, not prescriptive. The pronunciation of words changes quite rapidly, in fact. Watch some American films of the 1930s, for example. The people of that time spoke with an accent that is simply no longer used.

A word is not being mispronounced simply because another language has integrated it under its own phonetic system. When I hear Japanese say カメラ, I do not correct the pronunciation. Similarly, I wonder what the Académie française would have to say about your pronunciation of "nonchalant". Since you seem to be somewhat familiar with Japanese, you may be surprised to know that the っ (small つ) you take for granted is a modern innovation? I won't even get into the 現代仮名遣い and other such changes that actually occurred while some of the people reading this forum were already born.

By the way, what makes you think that's English you're writing? Here is some English from the late 1300s:
SIŞEN şe sege and şe assaut watz sesed at Troye,
Şe bor3 brittened and brent to bronde3 and askez,
Şe tulk şat şe trammes of tresoun şer wro3t
Watz tried for his tricherie, şe trewest on erşe:

Could you read that without consulting a reference? Things aren't so "set in stone", are they?

nikolo727
04-15-2009, 03:18 PM
Ok guys we get it. People have they're different ways of saying things. Do not argue. Period. THAT isn't what ukulele is all about, however the hell you spell or say it. Ukulele music isnt in the "World" section of music stores for nothing. Everyone has they're own opinion, but when it comes down to it, ukulele is about love for the world.

Stop petty bickering and just play.

swervy jervy
04-15-2009, 03:35 PM
I live in a state where the town of Dubois is universally pronounced as dew-boys.

If you ask how to get to dew-bwah you get socked in a kidney.

nikolo727
04-15-2009, 05:04 PM
I live in a state where the town of Dubois is universally pronounced as dew-boys.

If you ask how to get to dew-bwah you get socked in a kidney.

lol @ socked.

Spooner
04-15-2009, 05:29 PM
People who have heavy Spanish accents pronounce it jookalaylee.

I'm just sayin. :D

Kaneohe til the end
04-15-2009, 09:10 PM
Guess what? Ukulele appears in English dictionaries. The primary pronunciation is given as yü-kY-Èl-l.

The pronunciations of words are not "set in stone". Dictionaries are descriptive, not prescriptive. The pronunciation of words changes quite rapidly, in fact. Watch some American films of the 1930s, for example. The people of that time spoke with an accent that is simply no longer used.

A word is not being mispronounced simply because another language has integrated it under its own phonetic system. When I hear Japanese say «áé, I do not correct the pronunciation. Similarly, I wonder what the Académie française would have to say about your pronunciation of "nonchalant". Since you seem to be somewhat familiar with Japanese, you may be surprised to know that the c (small d) you take for granted is a modern innovation? I won't even get into the şãî
cD and other such changes that actually occurred while some of the people reading this forum were already born.

By the way, what makes you think that's English you're writing? Here is some English from the late 1300s:
SIŞEN şe sege and şe assaut watz sesed at Troye,
Şe bor3 brittened and brent to bronde3 and askez,
Şe tulk şat şe trammes of tresoun şer wro3t
Watz tried for his tricherie, şe trewest on erşe:

Could you read that without consulting a reference? Things aren't so "set in stone", are they?

you provide a compelling and informative refutation of my argument. good job. ahh, but hasn't it been said earlier in this thread that language is always evolving. if you read my posts, i thought i made it clear that i while i do care about how you pronounce 'ukulele, it does not bother me when you pronounce it ukulele, simply because it is too late for it to be changed. it has evolved into what it is today, regardless if what i or the thousands of hawaiians left want.

ill end with this, this isn't something you would understand unless you've experienced it. its just a different thing for a Hawaiian. i don't know of any other nation so protective of what little they have left. its not something i can explain in words.

i am curious though, why are you arguing about a topic most have already decided positively on?

Edit: I thought of something interesting, in fact it adds to your point. How can anything be "set in stone" when even the "forever" 41 cent stamp is no longer 41 cents?

Paul December
01-20-2010, 04:39 AM
On a related note...
... I never say "piano", but rather "pianoforte" as it should be. I would hate anyone to think the instrument could only be played softly ;)

pithaya9
01-20-2010, 06:56 AM
you provide a compelling and informative refutation of my argument. good job. ahh, but hasn't it been said earlier in this thread that language is always evolving. if you read my posts, i thought i made it clear that i while i do care about how you pronounce 'ukulele, it does not bother me when you pronounce it ukulele, simply because it is too late for it to be changed. it has evolved into what it is today, regardless if what i or the thousands of hawaiians left want.

ill end with this, this isn't something you would understand unless you've experienced it. its just a different thing for a Hawaiian. i don't know of any other nation so protective of what little they have left. its not something i can explain in words.

i am curious though, why are you arguing about a topic most have already decided positively on?

Edit: I thought of something interesting, in fact it adds to your point. How can anything be "set in stone" when even the "forever" 41 cent stamp is no longer 41 cents?

Very good point.

rasun
01-20-2010, 10:20 AM
Is it (toe may toe) or (Toe mah toe)?

hoosierhiver
01-20-2010, 10:47 AM
I am SO tired of this thread.

Melissa82
01-20-2010, 10:49 AM
I am SO tired of this thread.Yup, it has ran its course.