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toque
05-13-2014, 05:35 AM
Just starting out with Uke -- want to pronounce name of instrument correctly. I've seen many different spellings and heard many more different pronunciations. Which is correct? I'm thinking it should be "Oo koo lay lay" -- right? And it's spelled Ukulele -- right?

Sorry for such mundane questions -- just want to avoid being seen as a "Rube Noob" ;)

mikelz777
05-13-2014, 05:37 AM
I'm not a native Hawaiian and I feel totally weird saying it that way. I can't (and won't) pull it off. For me, it is, and always will be yew-kah-lay-lee.

wickedwahine11
05-13-2014, 05:41 AM
Yes, the correct pronunciation of the Hawaiian word is oo-koo-lay-lay. And out of respect for the language, when I am in Hawaii, or speaking to anyone from Hawaii, that is how I say it. Back in CA though, I usually call it a uke.

If I call it oo-koo-lay-lay in CA, I usually get blank stares from people that have no idea what I am talking about. It just results in me having to sigh and say you-ka-lay-lee. It is just easier for me to stick to uke on the mainland, and the correct way in Hawaii.

Edit: I guess I stand corrected. I had been told by my old instructor (who lives in Hawaii and is married to a Native Hawaiian) that it was oo-koo-lay-lay. I see a lot of people here are saying it is leh-leh not lay-lay. I admit, my ear is not fine tuned enough to have picked up the difference, but it looks like I was mis pronouncing it all along. ;)

KevinV
05-13-2014, 05:53 AM
I pronounce it oo-koo-lay-lay. I understand the variation goes back a long way and many folks only know the incorrect pronunciation. However, out of respect for the language, I choose to pronounce it correctly. I think it has to do with hearing my Hungarian last name mispronounced my whole life and loathing it every time.

PereBourik
05-13-2014, 05:58 AM
I prefer Ooh-cool-ay-lay.

I struggle with saying it right, but the Hawaiians seem to prefer it when I do.

peaceweaver3
05-13-2014, 06:14 AM
I'm "for" the Hawaiian pronunciation, but rarely use it because it results in dead silence. My word is "uke". And when someone says, "Is that a you-ka-lay-lee?" I say yes.

To complicate the matter, if you listen carefully to Aldrine's videos, he says something very much like "Oo-koo-luh-luh." Incidentally, that's also how I heard it pronounced in Austria. :D

Maybe we should spend more time playing it and let the word take care of itself?

janeray1940
05-13-2014, 06:15 AM
I'm not a native Hawaiian and I feel totally weird saying it that way. I can't (and won't) pull it off. For me, it is, and always will be yew-kah-lay-lee.


Yes, the correct pronunciation of the Hawaiian word is oo-koo-lay-lay. And out of respect for the language, when I am in Hawaii, or speaking to anyone from Hawaii, that is how I say it. Back in CA though, I usually call it a uke.

If I call it oo-koo-lay-lay in CA, I usually get blank stares from people that have no idea what I am talking about. It just results in me having to sigh and say you-ka-lay-lee. It is just easier for me to stick to uke on the mainland, and the correct way in Hawaii.

Agree completely. I lived in Hawaii as a kid and can pronounce the language quite well, but frankly, I feel like a bit of a pretentious *$$ if I say "oo-koo-leh-leh" here in California unless I am speaking to a Hawaiian. Same reasoning as saying I'm from Santa (like Claus) Monica (like Lewinsky) rather than Sahn-ta Moh-nee-kah, even though I speak Spanish... :)

mikelz777
05-13-2014, 06:15 AM
I understand the variation goes back a long way and many folks only know the incorrect pronunciation. However, out of respect for the language, I choose to pronounce it correctly.

Oo-koo-lay-lay isn't the "correct" pronunciation but it's the pronunciation born out of the Hawaiian culture. Yew-kah-lay-lee is just as "correct" a pronunciation born out of the mainland. What's the correct way to pronounce Paris? Pair-iss or Pa-ree? Both are "correct" depending on where you come from. I'm sure this concept could be extended to any number of words.

janeray1940
05-13-2014, 06:18 AM
And it's spelled Ukulele -- right?


In American English, that seems to be the most common spelling, but I see folks from the UK spell it ukelele from time to time. I looked this up at one point and found a source that stated the latter was considered archaic in the US, which made sense - I've seen that spelling in a lot of early 20th century print, along with some even more creative spelling such as eukalale and ukalele.

Hammond
05-13-2014, 06:20 AM
I respect the history of the instrument, I say Oo-koo-lay-lay. I do not feel right if I hold an instrument and play it, but I do not really know what exactly is in my hands. And thats just me, I won't apply it on others and force them to think the same as me.

Add: People around me all say "You-ko-le-lee"

The Big Kahuna
05-13-2014, 06:36 AM
Pronounce it any way you like. Just bear in mind how stupid non-Hawaiians sound when they pronounce "Hawaii" with a "v", or over-emphasise the glottal stop in Hawaiian words. My general rule of thumb is; if you want to show respect to native Hawaiians (and let's face it, how many of us have actually met a real one, rather than a retired orthodontist from Sacramento who moved to the islands a year ago and has decided he's now a "native"), don't butcher their language.

Ukejenny
05-13-2014, 06:59 AM
I say it the only way my Alabama Belle accent works - uuuuuuukulaylee.... I've been to Hawaii and it is a beautiful culture and language, but I don't have the ear for the pronunciation. I think it sounds beautiful when the word is pronounced correctly by someone who can enunciate it correctly.

Dougf
05-13-2014, 08:20 AM
Pronounce it any way you like. Just bear in mind how stupid non-Hawaiians sound when they pronounce "Hawaii" with a "v", or over-emphasise the glottal stop in Hawaiian words. My general rule of thumb is; if you want to show respect to native Hawaiians (and let's face it, how many of us have actually met a real one, rather than a retired orthodontist from Sacramento who moved to the islands a year ago and has decided he's now a "native"), don't butcher their language.

On the subject of the glottal stop, I like to point out, usually to no avail, that the Hawaiian pronunciation of 'ukulele includes the glottal stop at the beginning of the word, which is why you sometimes see it spelled with the 'okina, the apostrophe-like letter. A glottal stop is the consonant that we use in English when we say 'uh-oh', the t-like sound between 'uh' and 'oh'. This means that you should say "a 'ukulele" instead of "an ukulele", with a glottal stop between the 'a' and the 'oo' sound. That is, if you want to be a purist about it, or at least less of a language butcher.

Pueo
05-13-2014, 09:02 AM
On the subject of the glottal stop, I like to point out, usually to no avail, that the Hawaiian pronunciation of 'ukulele includes the glottal stop at the beginning of the word, which is why you sometimes see it spelled with the 'okina, the apostrophe-like letter. A glottal stop is the consonant that we use in English when we say 'uh-oh', the t-like sound between 'uh' and 'oh'. This means that you should say "a 'ukulele" instead of "an ukulele", with a glottal stop between the 'a' and the 'oo' sound. That is, if you want to be a purist about it, or at least less of a language butcher.
I had to chime in here - I have done some research and there is still debate over the okina - `uku is a small louse or flea, and uku is a gift. The okina is a consonant in the Hawaiian language. Lele means to jump, to fly, to travel.

So some origins say that it is `ukulele - jumping flea - describing the motion of the fingers on the fretboard.
I also heard that Queen Liliuokalani said she received her instrument as a gift from a faraway place - Portugal. ukulele - gift that traveled.

I like both stories and I am not exactly sure which one is true. I leave the okina off and I pronounce it ooo - koo - leh - leh.

I do NOT correct people if they pronounce it YOU kah lay lay - that's just how they say it, whatever!

mds725
05-13-2014, 09:27 AM
This reminds me of the debate over how one should pronounce the names of people whose names are in languages other than English. If a person is named Jesus and pronounces his own name "Hay-soos" (the way this word would be pronounced in Spanish), I don't feel like I should be calling him "Gee-sus" simply because that's how the word would be pronounced in my language. (For what it's worth, the Latin pronounciation of Jesus, as in Jesus of Nazareth, is ""Ee-ay-soos," and the pronounciation of his name in his own language, Hebrew, would be "Yay-soos," so people who pray to "Gee-sus" routinely pronounce his name differently than he or the earliest Roman followers pronounced it.) There are lots of other examples of foreign names being pronounces differently in their own language, like Seamus (pronounced "Shame-us," not "Seem-us") and Angel (usually pronounced "Ahn-hel," not "Ayn-gel"). So when I'm in Hawaii or talking with Hawaiians or people who are immersed in Hawaiian culture, I say "oo-koo-lay-lay," which is how this Hawaiian word is pronounced in Hawaiian. With other people in the US, I generally say "you-koo-lay-lee" or "yuke."

There appears to be a similar, although less visible, debate over how to pronounce the name "Hawai'i." I had an oo-koo-lay-lay instructor who insisted that in Hawaiian songs, we pronounced the work "Hawai'i" as "Hah-vah-ee-ee." His reasoning was that the ai was not a dipthong so was pronounced "ah-ee" and that the okina created a second, separate "ee" sound after the "ah-ee" sound created by the letters "ai." But even this instructor, who was born in Hawai'i, would say "Hah-vah-ee" or even "Hah-why-ee" when not singing.

mds725
05-13-2014, 09:41 AM
A wonderful SNL sketch about pronunciation.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGjty394oyw

janeray1940
05-13-2014, 10:00 AM
This reminds me of the debate over how one should pronounce the names of people whose names are in languages other than English.

The funny thing about the names debate - my first name* is French, and I pronounce it that way when I introduce myself to people (with an ä like in father). Almost without fail, they completely ignore the way I pronounced it and proceed to pronounce it the American way (with an a like in marry). And I really, really don't care either way - as long as they are remotely close, I'm cool with it.

And I kinda feel the same way about "ukulele" - I'm just happy when someone knows what one is, regardless of how they say it or spell it :)

*Which some of you know is not Jane, and I'll thank you not to disclose it here.

UkerDanno
05-13-2014, 02:15 PM
Oo-koo-lay-lay isn't the "correct" pronunciation but it's the pronunciation born out of the Hawaiian culture. Yew-kah-lay-lee is just as "correct" a pronunciation born out of the mainland. What's the correct way to pronounce Paris? Pair-iss or Pa-ree? Both are "correct" depending on where you come from. I'm sure this concept could be extended to any number of words.

I'm a Yew-kah-lay-lee man myself. Like you said before it's like a lot of things...porschephiles, and I guess Germans like to say "Porshuh", most including me say 'Porsh". I heard a Porsche factory driver say Porsh and I figured that was what I'd go with

So, go with what you like!

bborzell
05-13-2014, 02:32 PM
I decided to be mute last night so I am currently not pronouncing it at all.

OldePhart
05-13-2014, 02:34 PM
Agree completely. I lived in Hawaii as a kid and can pronounce the language quite well, but frankly, I feel like a bit of a pretentious *$$ if I say "oo-koo-leh-leh" here in California unless I am speaking to a Hawaiian. Same reasoning as saying I'm from Santa (like Claus) Monica (like Lewinsky) rather than Sahn-ta Moh-nee-kah, even though I speak Spanish... :)

This is a long video but the applicable part is the first three minutes or so...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntQkgeko_i8

John

Pueo
05-13-2014, 02:36 PM
I live in Hawaii and I love Hawaiian music, so I am learning a lot of vocabulary because I like to know what I am singing about. I also love language, and am fascinated by foreign languages. I grew up in Southern California. Although I speak some Spanish, I do not say "Los Angeles" like I am speaking Spanish. I also speak French fluently and only say "Pair ee" for Paris when I am speaking French, although sometimes I will say the proper French pronunciation for words like croissant or café au lait if I am speaking English, it just kind of slips out because that is how it is stored in my brain.

Since I moved to Hawaii I am trying to be more aware of pronouncing things properly. I have always been pretty good with Hawaiian word pronunciations, but my biggest hurdle so far, surprisingly, is Honolulu. Most people say "Hah nah loo loo" but it is HO NO loo loo. The O's are short duration, like saying 'no' to a naughty dog. I admit I still say "Hanalulu" more than I get it right, but I am working on it!

I hear lots of locals pronounce ukulele either way, but I must admit that most Hawaiian music performers will only say oo-koo-lele.

DaveY
05-13-2014, 02:44 PM
Here's what happens if you pronounce it "you-koo-lay-lee" in Hawaii (around 0:37 – the mispronunciation occurred just before where this video begins):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9HZgsMbhj0

Hammond
05-13-2014, 03:46 PM
The funny thing about the names debate - my first name* is French, and I pronounce it that way when I introduce myself to people (with an ä like in father). Almost without fail, they completely ignore the way I pronounced it and proceed to pronounce it the American way (with an a like in marry). And I really, really don't care either way - as long as they are remotely close, I'm cool with it.


If someone met you and instantly pronounced your name in your way, I guess you would be amazed, even maybe feel more likely be respected. Also may feel that person really know the word.

We can say in our way which we feel comfort. There are hundreds ways to speak a word. Thats how every different ones in defferent way and different method. Happily debate we could. No one wrong.


This reminds me of the debate over how one should pronounce the names of people whose names are in languages other than English. If a person is named Jesus and pronounces his own name "Hay-soos" (the way this word would be pronounced in Spanish), I don't feel like I should be calling him "Gee-sus" simply because that's how the word would be pronounced in my language.

That sounds more convincing.


Pronounce it any way you like. Just bear in mind how stupid non-Hawaiians sound when they pronounce "Hawaii" with a "v", or over-emphasise the glottal stop in Hawaiian words. My general rule of thumb is; if you want to show respect to native Hawaiians (and let's face it, how many of us have actually met a real one, rather than a retired orthodontist from Sacramento who moved to the islands a year ago and has decided he's now a "native"), don't butcher their language.

I feel sorry if I did...:( I do not know I have butchered their language when I say Oo-koo-lay-lay. I also didn't know that every tourist came to our city and try to say "hello" in our language was just butchering our language... I though they were being friendly...:(

stringy
05-13-2014, 03:55 PM
We have a lot of Hawaiians here in So Cal. I can't imagine a Hawaiian being offended by someone mispronouncing the word ukulele. But if you really want to talk about respect (IMO) they would be offended by a screen name that is totally disrespectful to their culture and especially lacking in Aloha.

ukantor
05-13-2014, 06:59 PM
It's just a word. Pronounce it in a manner which will be understood by those who hear it. I don't object when Hawaiians pronounce English words in their own colourful fashion - eg "brother" - so I'm sure they would not mind the way I say "ukulele".

The Big Kahuna
05-13-2014, 07:01 PM
Lol, this again ;)

I guess irony still hasn't made its way across the pond.

AndrewKuker
05-13-2014, 07:29 PM
It's just a word. Pronounce it in a manner which will be understood by those who hear it. I don't object when Hawaiians pronounce English words in their own colourful fashion - eg "brother" - so I'm sure they would not mind the way I say "ukulele".

I agree with this. But for the OP there is an answer. It's a Hawaiian word. U in Hawaiian is always pronounced oo, unless it comes after an A. Those two make an ow sound.
A Hawaiian saying unique like oo-nique would be mispronouncing the English word no matter where they are in the world or how their native tongue pronounces a U.

But no one would be offended pretty much no one cares. Hawaiian's butcher English on a whole other level. Language is for expression and communication. With as many cultures that collided here we just try to understand each other. If thoughts can be conveyed then we can share them with each other.

ukantor
05-13-2014, 07:40 PM
I'll drink to that!

hucklelele
05-13-2014, 07:42 PM
ooops

Repete post

joeguam
05-13-2014, 07:42 PM
I pronounce it "ooo-koo-leh-leh", definitely not "ooo-koo-lay-lay". There's a difference.
I feel that when I pronounce it like this, I'm not trying to be be Hawaiian or trying to pretend I'm Hawaiian. I'm from Guam, speak Chamorro and I've very proud of it. When I lived in the states for 12 years, I only played ukulele (no guitar) and would always just refer to it as "ooo-k" and never "yooo-k" to those who weren't familiar with hearing "ooo-koo-leh-leh".

It's not that big of a deal, I mean, I still don't know how to correctly pronounce "BVLGARI".

hucklelele
05-13-2014, 07:44 PM
Every instrument name seems to have a hidden meaning-

ours is "You kill L.A."-
Don't blame me just because I wrote "The Hearpe" It won't be appearing in theatres soon, and wood NOT really "kill L.A."
http://thehearpe.tripod.com/index.html

Whoom! there it is!

Remember when Siam had Hawaii and bombed "The Bay"? Probably not, and also not appearing in theatres soon-
you'll have to settle for Apocalypse Now
and Lance who chickens and out has to go anyway.
It's more like Nazi America invaded the South Pacific anyway I think.....

Must've been when Arthur Godfrey was President. but I think it was Joe Ford then.

now I have to practice my violins, Droogies.

Roselynne
05-13-2014, 11:02 PM
I pronounce it "ooo-koo-leh-leh", definitely not "ooo-koo-lay-lay". There's a difference.
I feel that when I pronounce it like this, I'm not trying to be be Hawaiian or trying to pretend I'm Hawaiian. I'm from Guam, speak Chamorro and I've very proud of it. When I lived in the states for 12 years, I only played ukulele (no guitar) and would always just refer to it as "ooo-k" and never "yooo-k" to those who weren't familiar with hearing "ooo-koo-leh-leh".

It's not that big of a deal, I mean, I still don't know how to correctly pronounce "BVLGARI".

I grew up in Hawai'i, so that's exactly how I pronounce it now that I'm here in California! ("ooo-koo-leh-leh," and "ooo-k" for short, but I don't often shorten it). I'm not Hawai'ian, but that's where I learned how to pronounce it, and it's where I learned respect for the language.

Most Californians I've run into seem to understand that pronunciation, even if they don't use it themselves.

TG&Y
05-14-2014, 04:34 AM
'an' ooo-koo-leh-leh or 'a' ooo-koo-leh-leh?


Lol, this again ;)

I guess irony still hasn't made its way across the pond.

Ukejenny
05-14-2014, 05:17 AM
Let's call the whole thing off.

kkimura
05-14-2014, 07:24 AM
What's in a name? A uke by any other name would sound as sweet.

Brad Bordessa
05-14-2014, 08:31 AM
My 1000th post: In before lockdown!

This has beaten to death since the beginning of UU in at least 5 threads (or so it seems). Consensus: The world is a big, diverse place where everyone is entitled to an opinionated opinion.

Ukulele JJ
05-14-2014, 09:48 AM
This has beaten to death since the beginning of UU in at least 5 threads (or so it seems).

Except in those debates "back in the day", there was quite a bit of stubborn arguing on both sides. Thing got pretty heated.

This thread is actually pretty tame, and it seems like most people are fine with whatever. How refreshing! No reason for a threadlock that I can see.

...yet. :-)

Kanaka916
05-14-2014, 10:05 AM
Yet . . . just don't give 'em any ideas. JK!

The Big Kahuna
05-14-2014, 10:13 AM
In Javanese, "Uku Lele" means "Iodine Catfish"

I think that effectively settles this argument.

Condor
05-14-2014, 10:34 AM
Many of us who have never been to Hawaii know the ukulele as a yew-ka-lay-lee. Well, in the UK and other parts of the world I have visited so far anyway. Does it matter? We don't all speak a zillion languages and anyone who thinks a perceived mispronunciation of a name indicates disrespect is just crazy. Most folk seem unable to spell or say my name correctly when they first see it, I don't read any malice or disrespect into that and nor would any reasonable person. If we spoke about ook oo le les around here, no-one would have the foggiest idea what we meant.

Does it matter anyway? I think in the big scheme of things, it doesn't and its up to the individual what pronunciation they choose to use. Makes no difference to my love for the little instruments, though, or my UAS!

stringy
05-14-2014, 10:47 AM
I truly don't think it matters how people pronounce the word ukulele, but I don't understand how the correct pronunciation can be up for debate. The word is not English, it is Hawaiian. The letter 'U' is not pronounced 'YOU'
So IMO we can say it any way we want, but there IS a proper pronunciation.

Condor
05-14-2014, 11:09 AM
As I understand it, the word developed phonetically, so while Hawaiians use their pronunciation, other parts of the world use theirs. Nothing wrong about it - same happened to the English language in the US after a certain tea party a few hundred years back! ��

In the same way that English is not "correctly" pronounced in many parts of the world - it is accepted that in the US, for instance, pronunciations are often wildly different to that of the same word in England - its connected to culture, use and custom and even accent. It's not wrong. Just different. And while I have U-ka-ley-leys, I am very happy for those with OOK-oo-le-les to enjoy theirs as well.

If I am ever lucky enough to visit Hawaii, I will endeavour to call them OOK U LE LE's, but until then, they are U-ka-lay-les to most people where I live.

Pundabaya
05-14-2014, 11:22 AM
No such thing as a 'proper' or 'correct' pronunciation of any word, thats simple not how language works... language is a tool that evolves to fit its current situation. As long as meaning is retained between, it doesn't matter. If all the language experts and dictionary heads got together and said 'The english word ukulele is pronounced 'you-ku-ley-lee'' and printed that pronunciation in the Oxford English Dictionary etc. would it change anyone's opinion? Nope because you pronounce it the way you do, and that's that.

And hey, if scientists (who are all about standards) can't sort out the whole 'aluminium' vs 'aluminum' dealie..

Roselynne
05-14-2014, 11:36 AM
Many of us who have never been to Hawaii know the ukulele as a yew-ka-lay-lee. Well, in the UK and other parts of the world I have visited so far anyway. Does it matter? We don't all speak a zillion languages and anyone who thinks a perceived mispronunciation of a name indicates disrespect is just crazy. Most folk seem unable to spell or say my name correctly when they first see it, I don't read any malice or disrespect into that and nor would any reasonable person. If we spoke about ook oo le les around here, no-one would have the foggiest idea what we meant.

Does it matter anyway? I think in the big scheme of things, it doesn't and its up to the individual what pronunciation they choose to use. Makes no difference to my love for the little instruments, though, or my UAS!

For me, it's a matter of respect because I grew up in Hawai'i; for me to pronounce it otherwise would have been a deliberate show of disrespect. That, plus I now I live in an area where there are a goodly number of Pacific Islanders, and folks like me who are former Island residents, so a change would, again, be a show of disrespect in most contexts.

That's just me. If somebody wants to pronounce it "yooo-keee-lay-lee," hey, that's most cool! I might, however, advise that person to think twice about insisting on that pronunciation if ever they're on the Islands, or if they attend Kani Ka Pila sessions closer to home.

Mim
05-14-2014, 11:54 AM
I use it interchangeably depending on who I am talking to, where I am at, what I am doing.

I must say... my southern accent makes it feel wrong and makes me feel self-conscious when I use the Hawaiian pronunciation. I get stuck in my own head thinking to myself that I must be saying it wrong. Like Aquila! Ken Middleton worked with me off an on all of NAMM this year to say that one right! And no matter how it is pronounced by my customers, I always know what they are talking about... so no matter how you say it, you get the same result. So no biggie!

So usually when it comes to ukuleles I just say ukes. Easy peasy, everyone is happy!

These threads pop up from time to time and there will never be a consensus.
I say... lets all play ukulele, pronounce it as we like, don't judge others badly for pronouncing it however they want (because, in the grand scheme of things, there are worse things in the world) and have a good time being ukulele players!

stringy
05-14-2014, 11:58 AM
[QUOTE=Pundabaya;1523940]No such thing as a 'proper' or 'correct' pronunciation of any word..."


I couldn't disagree more.

Plus The Hawaiian language is quite simple and with very few exceptions that other languages have. There is a proper way to pronounce the words.

ukantor
05-14-2014, 12:05 PM
Stringy, There may be a proper way for a Hawaiian to pronounce the word, are you saying that everybody else must pronounce it the same way?

stringy
05-14-2014, 12:09 PM
Stringy, There may be a proper way for a Hawaiian to pronounce the word, are you saying that everybody else must pronounce it the same way?


No, I am not saying that at all. Read my post #42. :)

My only point was that although we can all say whatever we want, there should be no debate about the proper pronunciation..being that it is a Hawaiian word.

joeguam
05-14-2014, 12:20 PM
Considering the instrument isn't native to Hawaii, then I guess the world should be referring to it as "machete", which is the Portuguese term for what we know now as the "ukulele". Now who knows the correct phonetic spelling and pronunciation of "machete"? :D

Hammond
05-14-2014, 03:20 PM
A happily debate/discuss could let us understand each other. No need to argue.:)


Considering the instrument isn't native to Hawaii, then I guess the world should be referring to it as "machete", which is the Portuguese term for what we know now as the "ukulele". Now who knows the correct phonetic spelling and pronunciation of "machete"? :D

BTW, I would like to know more of this part of history, "machete". Let me google it first.

kkimura
05-14-2014, 05:22 PM
My experience with bi-lingual people who are fluent in both of their languages (French and English in this case) is that they try to use the proper form and pronunciation for the words in which ever language they are speaking. In other words, Jean sounds like jean in English and Jean sounds like John in French.
Shouldn't that be the case with ukulele? OOk if we're speaking Hawaiian and yewk in English. (Don't know what the French ukulele sounds like)

joeguam
05-14-2014, 05:57 PM
A happily debate/discuss could let us understand each other. No need to argue.:)

I agree. At some point, someone will share their opinion and the reasoning or explanation of why this is their opinion on the topic; then, you might happen to read this opinion and explanation, and possibly either formulate your opinion because you agree with this person's explanation, or create your own opinion as a result of your disagreement with this person's explanation.

But either way, they're all opinions and we are entitled to our own, regardless of the explanation. Maybe we should just respect that others can have their own opinions and explanations?

Frankly, I love reading this thread and hearing of the many different ways the ukulele has integrated itself into different environments. But, the bare fact is that the ukulele is present and popular, and that is what I'm thankful for!

janeray1940
05-14-2014, 05:58 PM
OOk if we're speaking Hawaiian and yewk in English. (Don't know what the French ukulele sounds like)

I like this reasoning a lot. And if I'm not mistaken, it's ukulélé, if we're speaking French, so - ook :)

The Big Kahuna
05-14-2014, 06:59 PM
And hey, if scientists (who are all about standards) can't sort out the whole 'aluminium' vs 'aluminum' dealie..

I'm sad to say that in this particular case, you damn colonists have the correct pronunciation. "Aluminum" was how Davy originally named it in the 19th century after discovering it (well, I think he called it "Alumium" to begin with), but English scientists of the time decided it didn't sound classical, so changed the ending to "ium". Thus began decades of incorrectly named elements.

Don't get too cocky though, you still can't say tomato and potato*

























*and Dan Quayle can't even spell the word correctly

mds725
05-14-2014, 08:30 PM
Nuclear or nucular. Discuss. :)

AndrewKuker
05-14-2014, 09:39 PM
These not real phonetic problems. Now if my Filipino grandma waves me over saying “she can not breath!” and I hear “chicken nut bread?” Now that’s a problem. I'm like “uh, no thank you”

OldePhart
05-15-2014, 02:13 AM
These not real phonetic problems. Now if my Filipino grandma waves me over saying “she can not breath!” and I hear “chicken nut bread?” Now that’s a problem. I'm like “uh, no thank you”

Wow! I guess Filipino folks really use all of the chicken, eh? LOL

John

Ukuleleblues
05-15-2014, 02:57 PM
In SC folks pronounce it mandolin, "you play any bluegrass on that thar mandolin?" Which I reply "yep" and break into "Freight Train" and finish with "Salty Dog", it's just easier that way "ukawhaaaat".

iamesperambient
05-16-2014, 07:22 AM
Just starting out with Uke -- want to pronounce name of instrument correctly. I've seen many different spellings and heard many more different pronunciations. Which is correct? I'm thinking it should be "Oo koo lay lay" -- right? And it's spelled Ukulele -- right?

Sorry for such mundane questions -- just want to avoid being seen as a "Rube Noob" ;)

i call it 'my little guitar' just kidding oo-koo-lay-lay.
SOmeone asked me recently 'is that a little mini guitar' doh!
i hate when that happens.

OldePhart
05-16-2014, 07:28 AM
i call it 'my little guitar'

Actually, I don't think you pronounced that correctly. It's "my leedle geetar" :)

iamesperambient
05-16-2014, 07:40 AM
Actually, I don't think you pronounced that correctly. It's "my leedle geetar" :)

ugh. next time some one says it, im going to say 'its a child's toy'

Catulele
05-16-2014, 10:08 AM
Considering the instrument isn't native to Hawaii, then I guess the world should be referring to it as "machete", which is the Portuguese term for what we know now as the "ukulele". Now who knows the correct phonetic spelling and pronunciation of "machete"? :D


Which is also known as the cavaquinho, machimbo, and machim.

acmespaceship
05-16-2014, 10:34 AM
This is how I (a US mainlander who has never set foot in Hawaii) figure it:

I have no personal, historical or cultural connection to the instrument except I like to play it.
I do not care how "ukulele" is pronounced.
Some people do care.
Everyone I have met who does care prefers the Hawaiian pronunciation.
Therefore, I use the Hawaiian pronunciation and everyone is happy.

Everything should be this easy.

Ukejenny
05-17-2014, 03:44 PM
This is how I say it, "love", baby, yeah....... "LOVE"!!!!!!!!
66840

hilot.h.
05-17-2014, 06:36 PM
Same here.Here at home we say oo-koo for the flea,in jumping flea.When I am in the mainland it is just easier on peoples ears if you say you-ko.
No Big Ting.

Yes, the correct pronunciation of the Hawaiian word is oo-koo-lay-lay. And out of respect for the language, when I am in Hawaii, or speaking to anyone from Hawaii, that is how I say it. Back in CA though, I usually call it a uke.

If I call it oo-koo-lay-lay in CA, I usually get blank stares from people that have no idea what I am talking about. It just results in me having to sigh and say you-ka-lay-lee. It is just easier for me to stick to uke on the mainland, and the correct way in Hawaii.

Edit: I guess I stand corrected. I had been told by my old instructor (who lives in Hawaii and is married to a Native Hawaiian) that it was oo-koo-lay-lay. I see a lot of people here are saying it is leh-leh not lay-lay. I admit, my ear is not fine tuned enough to have picked up the difference, but it looks like I was mis pronouncing it all along. ;)[/QUOTE]

coolkayaker1
05-17-2014, 08:31 PM
Ah, the venerable flea.