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mapguy
2012-Jan-19, 05:08 PM
Is there a resource that explains the correct pronunciation for star names? I think it's pretty cool that they're in Arabic (most of them), but for one who has no exposure to that language, pronunciations can be daunting. Surely I'm not alone in this? Unukalhai? Rasalhague? Zubeneshamali? Dubhe? Saiph? Those don't exactly roll off the tongue.

caveman1917
2012-Jan-19, 08:15 PM
Is there a resource that explains the correct pronunciation for star names? I think it's pretty cool that they're in Arabic (most of them), but for one who has no exposure to that language, pronunciations can be daunting. Surely I'm not alone in this? Unukalhai? Rasalhague? Zubeneshamali? Dubhe? Saiph? Those don't exactly roll off the tongue.

Wikipedia has with most articles on stars its phonetic spelling and a short audio clip of the name at the top.
ETA: after doing a couple of random searches i see that it usually doesn't have the phonetic spellings, i guess i must have been lucky in the past to get those that did

Jens
2012-Jan-20, 12:06 AM
Is there a resource that explains the correct pronunciation for star names? I think it's pretty cool that they're in Arabic (most of them), but for one who has no exposure to that language, pronunciations can be daunting.

I'm not sure really if knowing Arabic is important, because the star names aren't really Arabic, in the sense of modern Arabic. Rather, they are old Arabic names that have been mangled by various European scribes throughout history, so though they clearly originate from Arabic, I don't think they are proper modern Arabic words. Just for an example, you can look at the explanation in Wikipedia for the name of Betelgeuse (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betelgeuse#Name), which does derive from Arabic, but there is uncertainty about what exactly it derives from.

EDG
2012-Jan-20, 02:17 AM
I've picked up that there are a lot of "Denebs" up there - Deneb itself, Deneb Algedi, Denebola, etc. Turns out that "deneb" is arabic for "tail" :)

I love the arabic names for the stars, I've found a lot while doing my star catalogue searching. (It also amuses me to know that several US Navy ships are named after those "arabic" stars ;) ).

If you play WoW, there's a couple of ethereals in the Stormspire in Netherstorm who are called Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali, which are the arabic names of Alpha and Beta Librae respectively (they mean "Southern Claw" and "Northern Claw" respectively). That amused me no end when I saw them for the first time :).

Romanus
2012-Jan-20, 11:47 PM
I think few astronomers would agree on the pronunciation of many stellar names; e.g., I've heard that Fomalhaut can be pronounced "foamalot", "fomalhot" (my preference), even "foamalow", as if it were French. Go with your gut; when in doubt, stick to Bayer, Flamsteed, et al.

EDG
2012-Jan-21, 03:03 AM
I think few astronomers would agree on the pronunciation of many stellar names; e.g., I've heard that Fomalhaut can be pronounced "foamalot", "fomalhot" (my preference), even "foamalow", as if it were French. Go with your gut; when in doubt, stick to Bayer, Flamsteed, et al.

I pronounce it "foe-mel-hort", which is surprisingly accurate (as far as I can tell) according to the pronunciation guide on its wikipedia page. ( /ˈfoʊməl.hɔːt/, /ˈfoʊməlɔːt/, /foʊməlˈhɔːt/ )

mapguy
2012-Jan-23, 03:31 PM
I'm not sure really if knowing Arabic is important...

Go with your gut.
That's my point: I don't really have a "gut" instinct regarding words derived from Arabic. I don't know the Spanish language either, but since there are many Spanish toponyms in my part of the world, I have some reference points when trying to pronounce other Spanish words. But I have no similar exposure to Arabic words.


...when in doubt, stick to Bayer, Flamsteed, et al.
Well, that's sound advice... although there is a certain verbal economy in being able to confidently pronounce "Fomalhaut", rather than always having to resort to "Alpha Piscis Austrini"!


I think few astronomers would agree on the pronunciation of many stellar names...
This is good to know; thanks...

Tom Mazanec
2012-Jan-23, 05:18 PM
Wikipedia doesn't have a prononciation guide for my bugabear, Spica:

Is it "Spise-ah" or "Spike-ah"?

glappkaeft
2012-Jan-23, 05:57 PM
Wikipedia doesn't have a prononciation guide for my bugabear, Spica:

Is it "Spise-ah" or "Spike-ah"?

The (english) Wikipedia article on Spica does have a prononciation guide for Spica: /ˈspaɪkə/ (Spike-ah). Of cource that is for english pronounciation, other languages varies (speaking Swedish I'd say Speak-ah).

otakenji
2012-Jan-23, 11:32 PM
It no big deal. Even most astronomy professors in the Anglosphere cannot pronounce Tycho Brahe's name correctly. It is TEE-ko bra-HEE.

Uranus YOU-rah-nus is pronounced with the first syllable stressed, not the second, to the dismay of giggling scatological adolescents.

Here is a reputable link with many astronomy pronunciations:
http://www.starrynighteducation.com/resources_pronunciation.html

Jens
2012-Jan-24, 12:03 AM
That's my point: I don't really have a "gut" instinct regarding words derived from Arabic. I don't know the Spanish language either, but since there are many Spanish toponyms in my part of the world, I have some reference points when trying to pronounce other Spanish words. But I have no similar exposure to Arabic words.


What I meant to say was, even having an exposure to Arabic won't necessarily help to give one an idea of how to pronounce things. Just as an example, I'm not sure how Fomalhaut would be pronounced in Arabic, but there is no "o" vowel in Arabic so it certainly wouldn't be the way we pronounce it (properly in English). So I think that an Arabic speaker wouldn't be able to pronounce it "properly" (as in English). In the same way, since you brought up Spanish, what is the proper pronunciation of Los Angeles? I think that a hard "j" is the proper way to pronounce it (in English), but not in Spanish (at least in most dialects).

Jens
2012-Jan-24, 12:10 AM
It no big deal. Even most astronomy professors in the Anglosphere cannot pronounce Tycho Brahe's name correctly. It is TEE-ko bra-HEE.


This is sort of related to my last post, but is that really correct? What about Luther? Is it OK to pronounce it with a "th" sound, which doesn't exist in German, or should it be pronounced with a hard "t"? And what about Caesar? Can you pronounce it see-zer, or does it have to be "kai-sar" like in the original? I'm not sure how one is supposed to decide when you should go back to the original and when it's OK to have a modern version.

mapguy
2012-Jan-24, 04:16 AM
Wikipedia doesn't have a prononciation guide for my bugabear, Spica:
Is it "Spise-ah" or "Spike-ah"?

As a kid, I learned it as "SPY-kuh", and according to post #9 Wikipedians agree. And that pronunciation enables the memory device, "Arc to Arcturus, then spike to Spica".

However, the pronunciation guide referenced in post #10 claims it's "SPEE-kuh". But if you happen to prefer "SPY-sa"... well, maybe you can find a reference backing that up as well.

I think what I'm starting to pick up here is that people just muddle through it as best they can... (?)

EDG
2012-Jan-24, 07:35 AM
i always figured that Spica was pronounced "SPEEK-ah", like "speaker" but with less of an "r" sound at the end.

Wikipedia usually has a pronunciation guide for stars on its star pages too.

DonM435
2012-Jan-24, 02:00 PM
Are you supposed to pronounce the "major" in Ursa Major in Latin, or in English?

EDG
2012-Jan-24, 09:16 PM
Are you supposed to pronounce the "major" in Ursa Major in Latin, or in English?

There's a difference? (it seems one pronounces it the normal english way, either way)

DonM435
2012-Jan-24, 09:19 PM
There's a difference? (it seems one pronounces it the normal english way, either way)

If you’re gonna speak Latin, then speak Latin, I figured, but the few times I’ve carefully said "Oor-sah my-ore" I’ve had people look at me strangely. "You mean "Ur-sah may-jer?"

EDG
2012-Jan-25, 05:56 AM
If youíre gonna speak Latin, then speak Latin, I figured, but the few times Iíve carefully said "Oor-sah my-ore" Iíve had people look at me strangely. "You mean "Ur-sah may-jer?"

That's what I was asking about - did latin not have the hard "J" sound? (Should we really be calling him "Yulius Caesar"?)

otakenji
2012-Jan-25, 06:41 AM
I just go by the link I posted. Good 'nuf for me.

Peter B
2012-Jan-25, 12:13 PM
That's what I was asking about - did latin not have the hard "J" sound? (Should we really be calling him "Yulius Caesar"?)

Nope. "J" is a fairly modern invention, along with "W". And "C" was always a hard sound. So Julius Caesar's name would've been pronounced something like Yulius Kiser.

We use a lot of Latin terms today, but we generally pronounce them quite differently from the way the Romans did. For example, the legal term sine die (without a day), is pronounced "sign dye" in English, but the Romans would've pronounced it "SEE-nay DEE-ay".

Incidentally, and I apologise for the off-topic drift, I'm fascinated by the process by which Latin turned into Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and a few other languages. It's a very good linguistic example of speciation. In 100AD people from what's now Italy, France, Spain and Portugal could all have understood each other's Latin, and for the next 900 years everyone had no trouble speaking to their parents and children. Yet by 1000AD the people from these locations were unable to understand each other.

Jens
2012-Jan-26, 12:15 AM
Nope. "J" is a fairly modern invention, along with "W".

Just a clarification, but when you say "a modern invention," you mean in the context of Latin, right, in the sense that pronouncing Latin words with those sounds is modern? I assume you don't mean to say that there were no ancient languages that used those sounds.

Peter B
2012-Jan-26, 08:06 PM
Just a clarification, but when you say "a modern invention," you mean in the context of Latin, right, in the sense that pronouncing Latin words with those sounds is modern? I assume you don't mean to say that there were no ancient languages that used those sounds.

Yes. Well, in languages using the Latin alphabet.

Sorry!

Hence, for example (I understand), the lack of a J Avenue in Washington, something which dates from the late 18th century.

Jens
2012-Feb-08, 02:58 AM
Maybe this should be a new thread, but in a related question, how do people pronounce Fermat in English. According to French rules one shouldn't pronounce the final T, but the problem comes up with "Fermat's last theorem." In French they don't make a possessive by putting an S at the end of the word, so there isn't a real rule about how to pronounce it. Would it be pronounced like "Fair-maaz"?