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mmfitzsimons
08-11-2017, 05:42 AM
I say "oo koo lay lay" or "ook" for short, probably because here in San Diego, there are a good number of Hawaiian speakers.

But when posting on UU or on Facebook, I feel that writing "an ukulele" will sound odd to most people. So I find myself writing around it by saying "the ukulele" or "your uke."

I want to be honest, though. I am an "ooker." :)

Rllink
08-11-2017, 05:49 AM
I mean, I'm willing to go over it again, but here are eleven pages of it to read if you want.
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?982-How-do-YOU-pronounce-quot-ukulele-quot

In Iowa I use the non Hawaiian you ku le le. I'm sorry, oo koo le le with a Midwest accent just sounds silly. In Puerto Rico, when I'm speaking Spanish, I use the Hawaiian pronunciation, just because in Spanish the U is never pronounced like "you".

mmfitzsimons
08-11-2017, 06:04 AM
Thank you, no need to apologize for how you say it, seems like the anglicized version took hold a long time ago.

I also realize others have asked the question over the years. But I was looking to hear from people who are here today. Friday and all. I think the internet can handle one more thread. :)

mikelz777
08-11-2017, 06:08 AM
I think it sounds ridiculous when the Hawaiian pronunciation is used by those not of that heritage or who aren't in a specific geographic location where it is the majority/common/accepted pronunciation. I'm in the upper mid-west and pronounce it "you-kah-lay-lee".

Rllink
08-11-2017, 06:11 AM
Thank you, no need to apologize for how you say it, seems like the anglicized version took hold a long time ago.

I also realize others have asked the question over the years. But I was looking to hear from people who are here today. Friday and all. I think the internet can handle one more thread. :)I don't mind talking about it. I think that we would be hard pressed to find any subject that hasn't been talked about before. If we don't keep bringing things up no one would post anything. There is just eleven pages there if you are interested. That's all.

mmfitzsimons
08-11-2017, 06:25 AM
I don't have strong feelings, but Hawaiian is not some dead language, and the word itself is only 120 or so years old, so it doesn't strike me as ridiculous to say it that way.... but yeah, as mentioned, I have found myself succumbing to the tide online and avoiding the telltale "an ukulele," so to Mike's point, I can relate.

No more, tho. I am planting a flag, and will shout it from the roofs of Des Moines if needed. Because the truth is, "ookulele" is more fun to say. It just is. Try it. :)

maki66
08-11-2017, 07:39 AM
Call me ridiculous, but I grew up in Hawaii and anything other than oo koo sounds wrong to me.

BTW, 'uku means small, and also lice or flea. So names like UkuFred or UkuJoe invariably make me LMAO. No offense intended to anyone.

I suppose that the English language belongs to all and any common useage is acceptable, more or less.

Croaky Keith
08-11-2017, 07:56 AM
The original pronunciation was by people of a certain language, they also call a train something different than a 'train'.
In their language it is an 'ukulele, to others, as myself, who are not of that culture, it is a ukulele.
English, or a form of it, is an International Language, like it or not, so most people around the world call it by the English pronunciation.
:cool:

deznuchs
08-11-2017, 08:27 AM
Interesting topic. I for one try and pronounce it with the original pronunciation from where it originated. While I can see how or why people look at the word and pronounce it the way they do, I try to honor the original pronunciation. Just like other words that were borrowed from other languages that are common now in the English language i.e. tortilla, gyro, quesadilla, ballet, cafe, lingerie, etc.. We could pronounce how we were taughted to pronounce words in English but I feel it does lose something...

WifeOnFourStrings
08-11-2017, 09:11 AM
I actually switch pronunciations depending upon whom I speaking with. With me and my husband it's an oo-koo-leh-leh, but when speaking with others they almost universally refer to it as a you-kou-lay-lay, so I just go with the flow. That's better then having someone reply, "your what?" or try to correct my pronunciation when I say it with an "oo". (Don't get me started on pronouncing "capo".) Ironically, I pronounce the shortened form 90% of the time as "youk".

Pete F
08-11-2017, 09:18 AM
I pronounce it both ways. I'm based in the UK and yoo-koo-lay-ley is widely understood. However, I speak Spanish too so, oo-koo-leh-leh also very much works for me, and I prefer it, but it can sound "a bit poncy" in an English accent.

It really doesn't matter, just enjoy playing however you pronounce the instrument :)

lelouden
08-11-2017, 09:21 AM
This is an interesting topic!

I say yook-ulele because thats the way Ive always heard it pronounced here in the states. In my peabrain I started wondering why its not spelled ookulele if its hawaiian. I went over to ask google and pushed the pronunciation button forgetting I had my speakers turned up full blast. When the lady said Yook-a-lay-lee I about jumped out of my skin! :biglaugh:

I did find this article very interesting and realized you have to know the native language rule of spelling and the importance of the accent mark ( 'okina) in their language. https://liveukulele.com/ukulele-info/the-correct-spelling-of-ukulele/

lfoo6952
08-11-2017, 10:51 AM
This pronunciation thing reminds me of a joke. What's the difference between a violin and a fiddle? Answer: a violin has strings, while a fiddle has "straanngs" (pronounced with a Southern accent).

wayfarer75
08-11-2017, 11:00 AM
I say you kuh lay lee because I'm from Ohio and people look at me funny if I don't. I also say Hah no loo loo for Honolulu instead of Ho no loo loo. But it isn't just Hawaiian where I don't use correct pronunciation. I say Pair is Fraaans instead of Pair ee Frahns. And I studied French for years. If I lived in Hawaii, I would use the original pronunciation of ukulele and I would say Pair ee when in France.

Pueo
08-11-2017, 11:26 AM
^^^
I happen to speak French fluently and it has taught me a few things. Those French folks have different words for a bunch of things! :D
For example, the city of London is "Londres" and when I am speaking French I say "Londres" and not London. Conversely, when speaking English, I say Paris, with an ess at the end.

I speak a little Spanish too, but when I order a burrito at Taco Bell, I do not trill my Rs. If I were in Mexico ordering a burrito I would though!

So, I pretty much have to accept that when English speakers say ukulele, it will usually have a Y sound at the beginning.
I usually pronounce it ukulele, Hawaiian style, because I live in Hawaii. But I am not pretentious about it and I don't correct anybody or anything.
I am also not a fan of uke (or ook) but that is just me.
Kimo Hussey says uke all the time (with a Y sound at the beginning), but uses the Hawaiian pronunciation for ukulele. So I follow his example.

Also, just for fun, you may wish to consider this:
the okina (`) is a consonant in the Hawaiian language, so `uku is a different word than uku.

`ukulele translates more or less as the "jumping flea" we are all familiar with.
ukulele translates as "gift from afar" and there are those who say that is also a possibility of the origin of the word.

Which one is actually correct? We may never know.

mmfitzsimons
08-11-2017, 11:37 AM
`ukulele translates more or less as the "jumping flea" we are all familiar with.
ukulele translates as "gift from afar" and there are those who say that is also a possibility of the origin of the word.

Which one is actually correct? We may never know.


Haha, lovely! I like the "gift from afar" idea... the Portuguese connection is often overlooked.

But we do know for sure, don't we? I mean, the history is so recent, we have contemporary writings showing the use of the okina. My understanding is the Kamaka family can trace a line back even before the term, to one of the first immigrants from Madeira who started the dominoes tumbling...

mmfitzsimons
08-11-2017, 11:44 AM
I say you kuh lay lee because I'm from Ohio and people look at me funny if I don't..

Perhaps, but at this point you are most likely holding an ukulele, so I'm afraid the battle to not look funny has already been lost.

Kidding! An uke is the coolest accessory on Earth! :cool:

janeray1940
08-11-2017, 12:19 PM
I've answered this before, but - I live in Los Angeles, and even though I know how to pronounce it in Spanish, I pronounce it the Americanized way. My first name is French, but I pronounce it the Americanized way. And I play ukulele, but pronounce it the mainland way. Except when I'm in Hawaii, which sadly doesn't happen often enough :(

That being said - now that I think about it, my second language is Japanese and since I grew up speaking it, I pronounce Japanese words that have entered the English language the correct Japanese way because it feels unnatural and wrong to do otherwise. (It's not carry-okie!) So I guess as usual, I'm full of contradictions.

mikelz777
08-11-2017, 12:20 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0zr2sXszYM

mmfitzsimons
08-11-2017, 12:33 PM
Mike, I got your point when you said those of who pronounce it differently from you sound "ridiculous." Now we're "pretentious" ?

Lighten up, my friend. It's really not a big deal how other people pronounce it, I promise.

mikelz777
08-11-2017, 12:36 PM
And I would wish for you to do the same. I just thought the video was funny and that others might see the humor in it.

mmfitzsimons
08-11-2017, 12:37 PM
So I guess as usual, I'm full of contradictions.

Me too. I think the number of Hawaiian speakers in my circle of jam buddies is what tipped me toward "ook." Plus I like how it makes me sound excited, as in, "oooooooooohhhhhh-kulele!!

bratsche
08-11-2017, 12:42 PM
This pronunciation thing reminds me of a joke. What's the difference between a violin and a fiddle? Answer: a violin has strings, while a fiddle has "straanngs" (pronounced with a Southern accent).

And I'm having flashbacks to all the discussions on Mandolin Cafe about whether it's "MAN do lin" or "man do LIN"; or just "man-lin". :D

Oh, and I say "you kuh lay lee", because I didn't know there was any other way to pronounce it until about 3 or 4 months ago...

bratsche

Chopped Liver
08-11-2017, 01:53 PM
This pronunciation thing reminds me of a joke. What's the difference between a violin and a fiddle? Answer: a violin has strings, while a fiddle has "straanngs" (pronounced with a Southern accent).

I love it! :D

Booli
08-11-2017, 02:56 PM
post deleted

DanY
08-11-2017, 06:05 PM
I used to say you-koo-lay-lee, but after I started playing, I forced myself self to say it the Hawaiian way. Now I've turned into "that" guy that will tell everyone they're saying it wrong (in a nice way) lol

ScooterD35
08-11-2017, 07:01 PM
I use all pronunciations at will, randomly, depending on absolutely nothing in particular.

What’s life without whimsy?


Scooter

Booli
08-11-2017, 07:09 PM
I use all pronunciations at will, randomly, depending on absolutely nothing in particular.

What’s life without whimsy?


Scooter

I wish I could be more like you, more shaka...and just be content within my own mind that the facts are the facts, and properly pay homage to the Hawaiian language, but I am already almost a pariah, so I'm trying to minimize that from getting any worse. :)

ripock
08-11-2017, 07:50 PM
I have worked as a lexicographer--you know, the guy who makes the dictionary to tell you how to pronounce words. We don't pass judgments. We don't evaluate who has the right to dictate the ukulele's pronunciation. Was it the Portuguese who brought the ukulele to the islands? Is it the islanders? Is it the haole that creates the market for the instrument? No; for us it is purely a democratic process. What does the majority of people say? That's the standard usage and that's what I use. I say ukulele with a "y", I always say it, and I will always say it until such a time as more people say it with an initial "u"

Croaky Keith
08-11-2017, 10:15 PM
Well now, that should be the definitive. :cool:

bighatbulls
08-11-2017, 11:53 PM
I say ukulele so many different ways. I try to say oo-koo-lay-lay, but it doesn't take long to slip back to you-koo-lay-lee, or say ooo-koo-lay-lee, I might even say uke-a-lay-lee. there is also Uke that sounds like cuke just -the c.

mmfitzsimons
08-12-2017, 04:52 AM
We don't pass judgments. We don't evaluate who has the right to dictate the ukulele's pronunciation. Was it the Portuguese who brought the ukulele to the islands? Is it the islanders? Is it the haole that creates the market for the instrument? No; for us it is purely a democratic process.

Oh, well of course no one can dictate how to use it. Usage is always democratic. But neither the Portuguese nor Guitar Center get a vote in the linguistically accurate way to say it. Hawaiian is a living language spoken in the United States, and the term was coined in the time of their great-grandparents, not handed down through the mists of time.

I'm definitely NOT saying one way is better or worse — I appreciate that in Ohio saying ook can make you sound like a kook, and I still sometimes vary my usage depending on audience. I just wouldn't pit Hawaiians against Portuguese or other-non Hawaiian speakers, because it is, in fact, a Hawaiian word.

mmfitzsimons
08-12-2017, 04:58 AM
I wish I could be more like you, more shaka...and just be content within my own mind that the facts are the facts, and properly pay homage to the Hawaiian language, but I am already almost a pariah, so I'm trying to minimize that from getting any worse. :)

lol, you are too funny! It's interesting how many of us do a quick mental calculation of audience, personal preference, and cultural sensitivity, isn't it? Funny.

"An ukulele by any other name would sound as sweet..."

Hmmmm....

"A ukulele by any other name..."

Hmmmmm....

"My ukulele by any other name...."

Rllink
08-12-2017, 06:08 AM
How many people have an aversion to uke? How many people who do not have an aversion to it, say ook instead of youk?

bratsche
08-12-2017, 06:30 AM
I type uke often, because it's faster (and I'm a lousy typist). But I don't say it, because I think yuke sounds like puke, and nobody around me would know what ook meant.

bratsche

Rllink
08-12-2017, 06:59 AM
I type uke often, because it's faster (and I'm a lousy typist). But I don't say it, because I think yuke sounds like puke, and nobody around me would know what ook meant.

bratsche

I was at a ukulele festival last fall in Minneapolis, and the guy sitting next to me must have said ook to me a dozen times.

janeray1940
08-12-2017, 07:19 AM
How many people have an aversion to uke? How many people who do not have an aversion to it, say ook instead of youk?

I probably say Yook even more often than I say Yookalaylee... No aversion here. I've never said Ook that I know of, and probably never will.

janeray1940
08-12-2017, 07:21 AM
I think yuke sounds like puke, and nobody around me would know what ook meant.

bratsche

The first part made me laugh out loud, and good point re: the second part. If I'm talking to a non-ukulele-player, I don't even say Yook - I go for full-on Yookalaylee.

ripock
08-12-2017, 08:35 AM
Well now, that should be the definitive. :cool:

I hope I didn't sound too proscriptive. I didn't mean to. I was just trying to say that a pronunciation isn't right or wrong...it just is. If someone wants to use a regional variant, he or she should follow their heart. Once that variant becomes the pronunciation of the majority, then I'll follow suit. 'til then, I'll just go with the flow and do what's standard.

Croaky Keith
08-12-2017, 10:16 AM
No, you didn't, I was being a bit 'tongue in cheek' with my comment, all is well in our ukiverse. :)

Booli
08-12-2017, 12:13 PM
This is what I think:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsjcb7w1Y-w
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsjcb7w1Y-w

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-12-2017, 12:23 PM
BTW, 'uku means small, and also lice or flea. So names like UkuFred or UkuJoe invariably make me LMAO. No offense intended to anyone.

Thanks for making that point. Pronounce it either way that people around you will recognize without further explanation. But please, NEVER call it an UKU! I crack up every time someone here talks about the "ukus" they have or want. I can just imagine them scratching their heads furiously! We do have plenty of ukus here but it's not really something you want or go around telling people about. :)

WifeOnFourStrings
08-12-2017, 02:59 PM
Not even the wikipedia page is immune from the great pronunciation debate ;): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3AUkulele

hollisdwyer
08-12-2017, 04:59 PM
The way people pronounce many words are truly determined by which point of longitude and latitude they inhabit.

janeray1940
08-12-2017, 09:38 PM
BTW, 'uku means small, and also lice or flea. So names like UkuFred or UkuJoe invariably make me LMAO. No offense intended to anyone.



But please, NEVER call it an UKU! I crack up every time someone here talks about the "ukus" they have or want. I can just imagine them scratching their heads furiously! We do have plenty of ukus here but it's not really something you want or go around telling people about. :)

That's always made me laugh. There's a woman in my part of town with a license plate, UKULADY, and I've been asked from time to time if the car is mine. Um... no. No 'uku on this lady!

Iza
08-13-2017, 06:40 AM
You-ka-lee-lee
that's how people in greece usually pronounce it :p

bazmaz
08-14-2017, 01:39 AM
Seriously people - vernacular!!!

Words change pronunciation depending on location. That's just what happens. http://www.gotaukulele.com/2016/04/please-stop-arguing-over-how-ukulele-is.html

mmfitzsimons
08-14-2017, 06:56 AM
The way people pronounce many words are truly determined by which point of longitude and latitude they inhabit.

This does seem to be the takeaway. As a great prophet once said, "Changes in latitude, changes in attitude, nothing remains quite the same..." :)

Pueo
08-14-2017, 08:19 AM
Just to throw even more fun into this lively discussion, in Tahiti, which is a Polynesian culture colonized by the French, they call ukuleles "Kamakas" :D
Kind of like Kleenex, where a single brand ends up being the go-to term for the item itself.

Tell you what, I will bring it up (etymology, is the `okina present or not, etc.) at the next Ukulele Guild of Hawaii meeting I attend. I have a feeling the Guild will know. The meetings are held at the Bishop Museum, so plenty of research materials nearby to corroborate. As a board member myself, it is important for me to know for sure.