How do you pronounce "ukulele" ...

OK CeeJay, you are going to have to translate that into Minnesotan!

...Stone the Crows .....originally thought to be a cockanee expression (genuine, but old ) ..possibly similar to the modern WTF !!...but more picaresque.....but apparently it began down under in Orstraylyer...( Australia.).it's all true lor' lov ya....

and if you think cocka nee (cockney) is tricky ...try Geordie (North East, Newcastle ) Wy aye man.....I love language ...I just don't get precious about it. There is
too much fun and mischief to be had with it.
 
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OK, if you are Hawaiian, or even if you are from Hawaii, then by all means, pronounce it the Hawaiian way, but if you are not, just call it a you-kulele. So for me, you-kulele. I don't want people thinking that I'm pretending to be Hawaiian when I haven't even ever been to Hawaii. It is almost as bad as people in Iowa speaking English and then rolling their Rs when they are ordering a burrito, like they come from Mexico or something. That, to me is like fingernails on a chalkboard.
Exactly. When a haole tries to adopt the speech of a native Hawaiian outside of Hawaii, it just sounds artificial and pretentious and is likely to get you mocked.
 
Different people have different circumstances. When I used to say "you-koo-lay-lee" in my Hawaiian music classes, I was literally offending the people who taught those classes because, they believed, I was telling them I didn't respect their language enough to pronounce words properly. It may have been Miss Manners (Judith Martin) who said that manners was the art of making others feel comfortable without becoming uncomfortable oneself. I prefer to say "oo-koo-lay-lay" in the company of some people out of respect for those people.
 
Interesting. I pronounce it "Here-oh", which is how the owners of my favorite Greek restaurant pronounce it.
That also happens to be the source of the "Hero Sandwich", or, as I grew up calling it, the Submarine. Also known as a Grinder.

As to my pronunciation of the instrument, that all depends on who I am speaking with. I also noticed in my all-too-few conversations with MGM that he often alternated between both pronunciations, but I think that was also based on who he was talking to.

So, how are you holding up, Tony? I notice that Bango is still on your instrument list - hope you still have/play him.

-Kurt​

Oh yeah, that one too. I have heard it pronounced that way also. I'm doing great brother. Unfortunatly, I don't have Bango anymore. I passed most my ukes on to specific folks that wanted to learn, or play. I do still plinker, but can't play much anymore due to that stroke I had a couple years ago. I spend most my time, teaching a kid to play, or listening to my daughter play her guitar, or drums, and helping her with hints, tips etc. So, I'm still getting to share and enjoy music, and the uke none the less, and just as content with it.. ;) Hope you have been doing good? Drop me a line every so often. I still come and read threads every morning even though I don't post much. God Bless brother..
 
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It's made up of two words - ʻuku or flea and lele or jump. There is a glottal stop at the begining of the word, signified by the ʻokina. Then it's followed by ooh-koo-lay-lay. Ric

Yes, which means it is more correct to say "a 'ukulele" rather than "an ukulele".

If you really want to get somebody's goat, call it a toy guitar.
 
How about letting the country of origin decide the pronunciation? (Where the instrument was made that is).

So if you have or own a "K" brand or Moore Bettah, use the Hawaiian pronunciation. Martin and other US mfg. owners use the "yoo". If you own instruments from multiple origins, you can use any pronunciation.

German, British or "fill in the blank" pronunciations too.

What's the Southeast Asian pronunciation?
 
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Yes, which means it is more correct to say "a 'ukulele" rather than "an ukulele".

If you really want to get somebody's goat, call it a toy guitar.


Nah DougF ...that's what I would call a Guitarlele .......(dives for cover laughing)
 
Exactly. When a haole tries to adopt the speech of a native Hawaiian outside of Hawaii, it just sounds artificial and pretentious and is likely to get you mocked.

I am not a haole (though I am hapa haole) but in Hawaii I try to say it the proper way. And whether it is the way we say it on the mainland, the Hawaiian pronunciation is the proper way, as the word os Hawaiian. To me it is far more offensive to make no attempt to say a word as it is meant to be pronounced in the presence of people that speak it that way. I also make an attempt to speak French words in France, German words in Germany, Korean in Korea as best I can when I travel.

I am sure I butcher it but I try. I had friends that went to France with me. I made every effort to speak French as best I could while there - they did not. They had many "rude" French people interact with them, I did not. To me it is disrespectful to not even try.

So when many locals (Hawaiian and haole alike) have called it an ook-oo-lay-lay to me, I am not going to call it a You-koo-lay-lee in response. Now attempting to speaking pidgin, yes, I agree with you could be disrespectful and may offend.

Different people have different circumstances. When I used to say "you-koo-lay-lee" in my Hawaiian music classes, I was literally offending the people who taught those classes because, they believed, I was telling them I didn't respect their language enough to pronounce words properly. It may have been Miss Manners (Judith Martin) who said that manners was the art of making others feel comfortable without becoming uncomfortable oneself. I prefer to say "oo-koo-lay-lay" in the company of some people out of respect for those people.

Ditto, I would press the like button if one existed.
 
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How is the letter "U" generally pronounced in Hawaiian ? There is no disrespect at all in calling an instrument that which you call it in your own native tongue.....a German will refer to a box of strings and ivory and ebony keys as Ein Klavier....I call it a Piano...you do not hear the country that invented the piano thing getting all cross because it is not called the name that they gave it and pronounced as they do...(who actually did invent the Pianoforte btw?)

I think that this is one of those topics where we will be at loggerheads and all have different opinions...I pronounce it "you kerlay lee"....if I was in Hawaii and in the prescence of Hawaiian players it might be best to explain that in English that is how we pronounce it and I accept that whilst Ookoo may be the Hawaiian pronounciation I mean no disrespect by not using that pronounciation as to me it sounds stilted and odd particularly as I obviously will not be pronouncing any other words in a Hawaiian manner..unless I am learning a few basics like please ,thank-you etc ...which is polite........

........and I get tetchy when people tell me what I should say think and do ......so there may be a bit of strop monster to this as well:)
 
I am not a haole (though I am hapa haole) but in Hawaii I try to say it the proper way. And whether it is the way we say it on the mainland, the Hawaiian pronunciation is the proper way, as the word os Hawaiian. To me it is far more offensive to make no attempt to say a word as it is meant to be pronounced in the presence of people that speak it that way. I also make an attempt to speak French words in France, German words in Germany, Korean in Korea as best I can when I travel.

I am sure I butcher it but I try. I had friends that went to France with me. I made every effort to speak French as best I could while there - they did not. They had many "rude" French people interact with them, I did not. To me it is disrespectful to not even try.

So when many locals (Hawaiian and haole alike) have called it an ook-oo-lay-lay to me, I am not going to call it a You-koo-lay-lee in response. Now attempting to speaking pidgin, yes, I agree with you could be disrespectful and may offend.



Ditto, I would press the like button if one existed.

Good point! Before I visited Paris, I knew its reputation as being full of rude people who hate tourists. But the only rude person I encountered the whole time I was there was a crazy Italian lady at the Eiffel Tower--a fellow tourist. I also think it was because I did my darndest to speak French wherever I went. I did have some "panic" moments where I used English, but not often. I showed my respect for the locals and their culture by trying to speak the language.

Now, when I say "ukulele," I don't pronounce it the Hawaiian way if I'm talking to non-Hawaiians outside of Hawaii. They're not familiar with the pronunciation, so they think it's some weird instrument they don't know. Among those "in the know" so to speak, I would pronounce it oo-koo-leh-leh. Likewise, I don't say "Pair-ee" when I'm talking to Americans about Paris, but I would in France.
 
I love philology. Nothing I say here is meant to be pejorative. Please forgive me if I misquote someone as well. 5 pages of posts are hard for me to bounce back and forth through.

@hybread I guess you spell the way you pronounce words. I spell and pronounce it hybrid.

@gyro I pronounce it "hear o" with a sub-vocalized g at the beginning.

@ my Hawaiian friends: you have what 5 vowels and seven consonants. Do you use diacritical marks to vary how a spelled word is to be pronounced? The teacher who indicated they were criticized for their "improper" pronunciation illustrated her/his point with a word where the same letter combination had two sounds in the same word. I like the way the Japanese and Spanish do it: the same letter always has the same pronunciation.

@Oley from Minersoter, Do you still have any whales in the great lakes? Me I'm from Noith Joisy, exit 1.

@ you Kanaka, When a whaler uses the term Kanaka is this considered pejorative? And what about you Canucks?

In Louisiana In Baton Rouge they say New Or leans. In N'awlins they say Bataw rue. Cajun French, Creole and French are as mutually intelligible as Gullah English and Cockney is.

As for you CeeJee: "Why can't the English teach their children how to speak?" I speak and understand intelligible Glaswegian. That is, if the words "intelligible" and "Glaswegian" can have any possible relationship when used in the same sentence.

The pianoforte is attributed to Bartolomeo Cristofori, an Italian. around 1700. He called it a fortepiano. A percussion instrument. The harpsichord was a contemporary to the pianoforte but is a plucked instrument. The hammered dulcimer supplanted both in the 19th century, in the parlor at least. In the mid to late 19th century it was replaced by the modern piano; which required sufficient metallurgical advances to allow economically viable frames of sufficient strength to handle the tension from all the strings. BTW organs and accordions are aerophones.
 
"In Louisiana In Baton Rouge they say New Or leans. In N'awlins they say Bataw rue. Cajun French, Creole and French are as mutually intelligible as Gullah English and Cockney is."

With all due respect, in Baton Rouge, the locals don't say "New Or leans." We say "New Or-Linz." Cajuns pronounce things in their own unique way, and my favorite is a family that spells their name "Leaux," and pronounces it "Lear."
 
In my neck of the woods we pronounce ukulele (you-ka-lay-lee) and don't particularly care if Hawaiians get their panties in a bunch about it.
 
What's interesting about that one, in the US it's spelled aluminum and pronounced ah-lumin-num, in Britain it's spelled with an additional i, aluminium, and pronounced al-you-min-nee-um. In this case it's actually different because of the spelling.

My pet peeve is pronouncing jalapeño as halah-peeno (of all people chef Emeril Lagasse) when it should only be ha-lah-pen-nyo.

My pet peeve is when people pronounce 'nuclear' as nucular. What are they thinking?
 
As many that know me know, I have no right to critisize grammar, or spelling. But one of my pet peeves, and I even seen a segment on it on a news show a while back. It is common among teenaged, to young woman (15-30), is not pronouncing "t"s, like the word "Button" pronounced "bah-in", "Mitten", "Meh-in", etc. That drives me CRAZY. My daughter is 17, and (Thank God) doesn't I think because even if she started, I would have chastized her over it. But so many girls, and young women do it. Also, a thing they do with their voice inflection, most evident as the sentence ends, they're voice drops to a breathy growl. In that news segment that was talking about that awhile back said that there is no geographic explanation for it, and it is wide spread thoughout the USA with young women. And seemed to have started suddenly 10-15 years ago. They have no idea why. My daughter in laws do it, and I tease them over it. But I am thankful my daughter doesn't.. lol..
 
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When "you" say Ukulele do you stress the first syllable UK u le le or the third syllable uk u LE le?

OO + KOO + LEH + LEH not OOK + OOO...
 
I think I may defect to the Machete or Cavaquinho as the instrument that was boarded and plundered and kicked this debate off......but Oi don't parley Portugee nor 'ave Oi ever sailed the Spanish Main...Ooo Arrrrr......Jim Lad..............
 
When I was a teenager, I used to go on canoe trips with my brother Bob and our friend Larry. Larry pronounced "portage" to rhyme with "cottage" and Bob pronounced it to rhyme with "garage". (If you're one of those people who pronounces "garage" to rhyme with "cottage", you can ignore this post.)
I would notice that their conversations would use the word as often as possible using what they considered the proper pronunciation.
Bob: "We've got a long portage coming up at the end of this lake."
Larry: "Yeah, that portage is gonna be wicked."
Bob: "What time do you think we'll be done this next portage?"
Larry: "I think we can finish this portage before dark."
Me: "Yeah, I think we will be able to carry our gear and the canoe overland to the next lake before dark."

A phrase that I've noticed creeping into the vocabulary of people from the northern states and even Canada is "Y'all". This sounds strange coming from my fellow Canucks, even those from Southern Ontario.

By the way, I say, "You-koo-lay-lee" and have been known to call it a "Yuke".
 
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As long as we're sharing grammar and usage pet peeves, I've noticed a big increase in the use of the phrase "play a factor" (as in "the weather played a factor in the outcome of the game"). It's an unfortunate amalgam of "play a role" and "is a factor." Something can BE a factor, but it can't PLAY a factor. It's become accepted usage, or so it would seem, among sports reporters, but I've heard other types of media people use it as well.
 
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