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View Full Version : Uke vs Uku - an Education



ckellogg
09-20-2011, 06:21 AM
I've been playing since April, so am a noob. I was toolin' around on etsy, and searched on 'uke'. A bunch of results were items with 'seme/uke' on them. What were they talking about? It turns out that these words are Japanese names for participants in a homosexual relationship-Wikipedia Link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yaoi#Seme_and_uke), though 'uke' is pronounced differently ('oo-kay'). So, to avoid confusion (and jokes made by my street-wise homosexual friends) I'm using 'uku' rather than 'uke' in my typing. I thought I'd share this new-found knowledge.

austin1
09-20-2011, 06:30 AM
Uku, n: head louse - infests the head and body of humans
Pediculus capitis
louse, sucking louse - wingless usually flattened bloodsucking insect parasitic on warm-blooded animals
genus Pediculus, Pediculus - type genus of Pediculidae: true lice infecting humans

With that in mind, and considering I have no street-wise gay japanese friends, so I'm good calling it a uke!

austin1
09-20-2011, 06:33 AM
Uku, n: a grayish blue-tinged snapper (Aprion virescens) of Hawaiian seas that is common in the markets and highly esteemed as food.

nscafe
09-20-2011, 06:34 AM
Sounds like the only safe bet is to simply not abbreviate it at all huh? I think I too will stick with "uke" though.

austin1
09-20-2011, 06:36 AM
UKU also stands for the University of Kuopio, which is apparently in eastern finland. It is also a village in Estonia.

janeray1940
09-20-2011, 06:40 AM
I was toolin' around on etsy, and searched on 'uke'.

Pretty funny what you found :) I recommend searching "all items" for both "ukulele" and "ukelele," as you will get different results from each search (hey Etsy, haven't you ever heard of a synonyms dictionary?). I've found several vintage ukes (ukus?) this way, sold by sellers who had no clue what they had.

Lori
09-20-2011, 06:43 AM
Using uku instead of uke on UU is usually a sure-fire newbie indicator.
I will bear in mind your info when marketing to Japan, though.

–Lori

PhilUSAFRet
09-20-2011, 10:17 AM
using uku instead of uke on uu is usually a sure-fire newbie indicator.
I will bear in mind your info when marketing to japan, though.

–lori

huge guffaw

hapuna
09-20-2011, 10:31 AM
The 'uku in the word 'ukulele refers of course to a flea as opposed to head lice but is in fact the root of the word 'ukulele though I dont know many folks that use the shortened 'uku to mean an 'ukulele. :o

zac987
09-20-2011, 10:35 AM
Considering it's a completely different word, and the fact that I can guarantee you that none of my gay/bi friends know what "seme/uke" means, I'm just gonna keep saying 'uke'. Who cares?

didgeridoo2
09-20-2011, 10:41 AM
Can't go wrong calling it a toy guitar, can I?

mds725
09-20-2011, 12:54 PM
I use the word "uke" for two reasons. First, it's shorter by one syllable than the word "uku," and isn't being shorter the point? Second, when I say "uku," I can't help but add "lele," which, again, defeats the purpose of using a shorter name. Anyway, I thought the real controversy was not whether to call it "uku" or "uke" but instead whether to pronouce the word "uke" as "ook" or 'yuke."

ckellogg
09-20-2011, 05:29 PM
But I AM a noob! I should clarify. I say 'uke' (youk) when I'm talking, as this is totally not like the way it sounds in Japanese, which is 'oo-kay'. But I type uku. I personally could care less about the difference, but thought I should share the education. I figure if it's on etsy it's somewhat commonly known? I dunno. I enjoyed reading all the meanings of 'uku'. 'Uke' has lots of meanings too, for example, it's short for what I am - Ukranian! And then there's Uke Hunt, which I'd been reading for months before That was pointed out to me. It does make me laugh every time I open one of their emails. Which is more than I can say for most emails I receive.

austin1
09-21-2011, 01:04 AM
Don't think so hard! While I won't call the etsy crowd hippies, I will say that just because it's on etsy doesn't mean it's everywhere. There are plenty of japanese UUers who also type "uke". Don't worry so much about it, it's just a word, it doesn't have meaning until you give it one...and the meaning it's given here is "abbreviation for ukulele". If you're going to talk about ukuleles on a gay japanese forum, maybe then I would recommend just calling it a ukulele, but here, you're among friends. Don't stress.

Plus, if you keep calling it a uku, eventually someone is going to ask you why, and then there's going to be that awkward moment where you a) have to explain the gay japanese definition, and b) have to explain how you know the gay japanese definition, and c) have to convince your listener it's because you saw it on etsy, not because you practice it. And that's just overly drawn-out and silly. Easier to just call it what it is-- a uke!

ckellogg
09-21-2011, 02:57 AM
Oh, no, I don't think it's such a big deal. My younger coworkers (<30) know the alternate meaning of uke, but I'm in the Wash DC area, and maybe folks here are ahead of the curve. In any case, knowledge is power, right?

foxfair
09-21-2011, 03:12 AM
As in Asia, I dont even know what uke means in Japanese. They usually just type their Japanese character ウクレレ(ukulele) and not bother to make any abbreviation from English. I myself still type uke(woo-koo is what I pronounce it) in short.

buddhuu
09-21-2011, 03:55 AM
:wtf:

I don't give a flying one whether any term for the instrument is a homophone for a word with sexual connotation of any kind. Stuff like that is too Beavis and Butthead to waste time on, and I don't feel the need to purge my vocabulary of coincidental gay-themed ambiguity.

YMMV.

BTW, I mostly say "ookoolele" for 'ukulele and "yook" for uke.

foxfair
09-21-2011, 04:06 AM
This is ... just like 20 years ago or so, people argued about PC should be named as IBM Personal Computer, and DOS is unlikely the same one with MS-DOS... lol

yeah, I'll just follow KISS rule: Keep it Simple & Stupid.
and release myself from headache.

marihhen
10-05-2011, 08:49 PM
UKU also stands for the University of Kuopio, which is apparently in eastern finland. It is also a village in Estonia.

And Uku is a boys name here in Estonia too, so we mostly call ukuleles uku when we need to shorten things out :)

mds725
10-05-2011, 08:56 PM
And Uku is a boys name here in Estonia too, so we mostly call ukuleles uku when we need to shorten things out :)

My abbreviation for ukulele is "Bob."

crowsby
10-06-2011, 09:55 AM
I say uke because uku makes me feel snobby. Sort of like moog is supposed to be pronounced to rhyme with rogue, but saying like it like "moo cow" is more fun.

In the end though, I don't really care how people pronounce it; I just like playing it.