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Pronouncing an Armenian (?) name

marc weber
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Lately, I've been watching the early films of Atom Egoyan. I'm wondering if anyone might know how to pronounce his last name.

The original spelling was "Yeghoyan," but his parents changed this to "Egoyan" when they moved from Egypt to Canada. He is of Armenian descent.



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Darya Akbari
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The ending "-yan" or "-ian" is typical for armenian names. If we go with the original name than it should be pronounced Ye-g-o-yan.

The Y is pronounced like the u in use .


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Paul Clapham
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    8

Perhaps his family name was rendered "Егоян" in the Cyrillic script that would have been used in Soviet days. This would be pronounced "Yegoyan" but it might well be transliterated into English as "Egoyan".

And if you Google "yegoyan" you get a lot of Armenian sites including this one which includes an article about "Atom Yegoyan".

But I don't know how he pronounces his own name. Immigrants often change the pronunciation of their names to fit in better in their new country.
marc weber
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Originally posted by Paul Clapham:
...an article about "Atom Yegoyan"...

That's interesting. His parents changed the name (or at least the spelling) when he was very young, so I've never seen him referred to as "Yegoyan." I wonder if this article went through some translation.

Darya Akbari, please bear with me, because I'm really bad at this sort of thing. So would the beginning, "Ego," be pronounced like the car, "Yugo"? And would the ending, "yan," be a single syllable rhyming with "pan"?
Darya Akbari
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Originally posted by marc weber:
So would the beginning, "Ego," be pronounced like the car, "Yugo"?


Yes

Originally posted by marc weber:
And would the ending, "yan," be a single syllable rhyming with "pan"?


Yes
Paul Clapham
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After a tiny bit of searching at www.cbc.ca, I found a clip dating from the Oscars when he didn't win Best Director and James Cameron did. The Oscars presenter pronounced it "Egoyan" and not "Yegoyan". (Accented on the second syllable. Sounds like "i-GOY-an".) That doesn't mean much, but the CBC reporter also pronounced it that way, and the CBC does like to get things like that correct.
Darya Akbari
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My experience is that reporters in general are not able to pronounce the right way. The opposite is also true for reporters of non anglo-saxon or european background.

I'm half german and half iranian and always smile when I hear each side pronouncing the other's side names in a wrong way . Iran has a great number of Armenians living in Iran and they are part of the iranian daily life be it inside Iran or outside.

A lot of the most popular iranian pop singers are Iranians of Armenian descent. Armenian belong to the well educated people and are mostly very successful in Iran and everywhere else.

I can tell you a story from a couple of Armenians who came from Lebanon to study in the U.S., they not only did their study in a minimum of time they also setup a big business in Dallas in the Telco sector and became billionaires by the end. Very professional guys.

Regards,
Darya
marc weber
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Thanks for the link! The Sweet Hereafter is considered Egoyan's "break through," but I haven't seen that one yet. I watched Speaking Parts 4 times last week (once with director's commentary). That's a film I'm going to be coming back to again and again.

Until you hear the name from the person themselves, I guess you can't know for sure.
Mapraputa Is
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All Armenian last names I ever heard had the stress on the last syllable.


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Paul Clapham
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
All Armenian last names I ever heard had the stress on the last syllable.
But speakers of English stress the second-to-last syllable: Sa-ROY-an, Kha-cha-TUR-yan, and so on.
Mapraputa Is
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Originally posted by Paul Clapham:
But speakers of English stress the second-to-last syllable: Sa-ROY-an, Kha-cha-TUR-yan, and so on.


:roll:

What is wrong with Sa-ro-YAN and Kha-cha-tu-RYAN?

Here is a clasic thread on the issue, Paul.
[ March 20, 2007: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
Mapraputa Is
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marc: The original spelling was "Yeghoyan," but his parents changed this to "Egoyan"

I would pronounce them the same.
Mapraputa Is
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Paul C.: Perhaps his family name was rendered "Егоян" in the Cyrillic script that would have been used in Soviet days.

I did some search, and it's actually ЭГОЯН (http://mega.km.ru/cinema/encyclop.asp?TopicNumber=13688), which is a different sound from "ye", like "e" in "enigma".

marc: And would the ending, "yan," be a single syllable rhyming with "pan"?

Russians pronounce "ya" as "yeah"....

[ March 20, 2007: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
[ March 20, 2007: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
marc weber
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
... What is wrong with Sa-ro-YAN and Kha-cha-tu-RYAN? ...

I'm from Minnesota. I think accenting the last syllable is illegal here.
Paul Clapham
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
What is wrong with Sa-ro-YAN and Kha-cha-tu-RYAN?
Nothing wrong with them, but that just isn't the way that English-speakers say the names. We don't pronounce Thabo Mbeki's name the same way that native speakers of Xhosa do either and neither do Russians, I'm willing to bet. And when we say the names of famous Chinese people we don't use the right tones.

Conversely if I moved to Russia I would tell people to call me Pavel.
Vassili Vladimir
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Yes, 100% Armenian.

Actually, I'm a subclass extending a Russian Father, and implementing an Armenian Mother, and i live in a Jordanian Heap what a combination yeah ?

Best regards ...


Vassili ...
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Mapraputa Is
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PC: We don't pronounce Thabo Mbeki's name the same way that native speakers of Xhosa do either and neither do Russians, I'm willing to bet.

Xhosa, I believe, contains sounds that are absent in both English and Russian, the same about Chinese tones. But a stress isn't an unfamiliar concept to English speaker, so why put it on wrong syllables?

One of LanguageHat posters said:

"We simply usually stress the penlultimate syllable in names we're unfamilliar with."

That't Ok for the names you heard for the first time, but the whole country can't be unfamiliar with Saroyan and Khachaturyan, so why the correct stress doesn't spread?
[ March 21, 2007: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
marc weber
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I'm not even going to mention the name of Atom Egoyan's wife: Arsin´┐Że Khanjian.

(Uh, whoops...)
Jim Yingst
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[Map]: But a stress isn't an unfamiliar concept to English speaker, so why put it on wrong syllables?

This way it gives Rooski expatriates something to whine about, which seems to make them happy. Personally I'm somewhat familiar with Khachaturyan and I've heard of Saroyan. But it's usually been in written form, not verbal. Even if it was verbal, chances are good that the speaker I heard a pronunciation from didn't know the correct pronunciation either. So unless I carefully reasearch each name I hear, I don't have any easy way to tell what's the correct pronunciation. Bear in mind that it's not just a matter of learning Russian pronunciation rules - there are many other languages and cultures that are equally worthy of my attention.

When I was an exchange student in Italy, I learned the language through immersion. Often Italians would import English words and phrases. The funny thing was, I couldn't always recognize them at first, thanks to accent, and the fact that my brain was in Italian-parsing mode rather than English-parsing mode. But I noticed that whenever the Italians would import an English word, they'd usually accent the last syllable. E.g. week-END, drive-IN. Maybe this makes sense in British English (does it?), but not in American. (I'm pretty sure drive-ins are an American idea.) And not in Italian. So whenever I encountered one of these imports, I would be confused for a minute. But I could tell that it didn't sound like an Italian word. And while it also didn't sound like an English word, I could tell it was being pronounced according to the whacky default Italian-pronunciation-of-foreign-words rules. So I'd take whatever weird set of phonemes I'd just heard, and try to re-parse them as a (poorly pronounced) English word. And lo and behold, it would (often) work. And yes, I would wonder why the Italians couldn't just learn to pronounce those words correctly Even Italians who could speak English with minimal accent would revert to that funky Italian English when speaking Italian. But I got over it.

Most people don't have time and interest to learn special rules for each language and culture they might want to reference. Those who do, usually still don't have time and interest to convince everyone else in the country. It's easier to just use a somewhat consistent set of rules for all "foreign" words, whether it's correct or not.
[ March 21, 2007: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]

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Dave Lenton
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One of the key differences I notice between the American accent and British accents is that Americans seem to emphasise different syllables. Here (UK) the emphasis is overwhelmingly on the first syllable, but it seems Americans have more of a tendency to vary towards the second syllable.
[ March 22, 2007: Message edited by: Dave Lenton ]

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Darya Akbari
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Here an example of Armenian professionalism



Ha-cou-pian (this is the correct pronounciation) is the best manufacturer of menswear in Iran.

Regards,
Darya
Frank Silbermann
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Twenty years ago there was a fad among news anchors in NYC to pronounce all Spanish names in using a Spanish accent, e.g. "Pwerto RRRRRico" instead of "Porter Reeko", or "Mehheekoh" instead of "Mekksiko". (Perhaps they still do it.) So there was a Saturday Night Live skit in which a bunch of newsmen were talking after work, and the writers managed to work in as many English words of Spanish origin as possible, with the players pronouncing every single one of them in an exaggerated Spanish accent.

By the way, when my oldest daughter was a toddler, my wife's parents were living in France. During one visit they bought her a picture book in French about a little puppy. I don't know French, so I would read it to her prouncing the French words using English phonetics. The grandparents thought it was hilarious! (Serves the French right for their bizarre letter-to-sound mappings.)

Mapraputa Is
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Jim: This way it gives Rooski expatriates something to whine about, which seems to make them happy.

I just fished out three mistakes from one sentence, not bad...

1. there is only one Rooski (Russian) expatriate "whining" (see below) about errors in American pronunciation in this thread;

2. I was not as much whining, as I was confused why these errors are so widespread;

3. whining didn't make me any happier.

Nice try, Jim. While I certainly sympathize with your attempt to cast my legitimate complains about a sorry state of American pronunciation of foreign names as whining of a freaky Rosski expatriate, I must to point out that venerable American linguists got there before me. See here , here ("One of the drawbacks of knowing Russian is constantly hearing Russian names butchered by English speakers. It doesn't bother me so much to hear KROOSH-chef for Khrushchev; let's face it, khroo-SHCHOF is hard for English speakers to say. But when the correct form is as easy as the wrong one, I get annoyed."), and here.

The last post is particularly informative. Turned out that World Tennis association, for one, has a pronunciation guide (!!!). Too bad that apparently many players submit their name already converted to wrong American pronunciation.

Most people don't have time and interest to learn special rules for each language and culture they might want to reference.

Of course. And I don't talk about rules, only about stress, which I think is simply part of a name. Perhaps it would help if in published production the correct pronunciation of little known foreign names were more often indicated.
[ March 22, 2007: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
Paul Clapham
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I have great sympathy for sports reporters who have to report on international sporting events, having to pronounce unfamiliar names. The Olympics are the hardest, with so many unfamiliar languages to deal with. On the other hand the most impressive performance I can recall was in the World Cup of Football in 2002. We got a British network feed (BBC?) and the announcer was absolutely flawless in reporting the Korean players: "It's Ahn Jung-Hwan, over to Park Ji-Sung, back to Ahn, he sends it forward to Choi Tae-Uk..." Now that was somebody who had done their homework. So it can be done.
Jim Yingst
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[Map]: Perhaps it would help if in published production the correct pronunciation of little known foreign names were more often indicated.

Yeah, that would be nice.
Darya Akbari
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Originally posted by Paul Clapham:
We got a British network feed (BBC?) and the announcer was absolutely flawless in reporting the Korean players: "It's Ahn Jung-Hwan, over to Park Ji-Sung, back to Ahn, he sends it forward to Choi Tae-Uk..." Now that was somebody who had done their homework.


Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Paul Clapham:
We got a British network feed (BBC?) and the announcer was absolutely flawless in reporting the Korean players: "It's Ahn Jung-Hwan, over to Park Ji-Sung, back to Ahn, he sends it forward to Choi Tae-Uk..." Now that was somebody who had done their homework. So it can be done.
The BBC have a special department just to help their presenters and commentators to pronounce foreign names.
Michael Matola
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Map,

Think about stress placement in some recent (last 20 years) Russian borrowings from English. See if you can formulate the emerging (descriptivist) rule. Magic pen to get the answer.

English: MOdem, FRANchaising, MARketing, SHAPing
Russian: moDEM, franCHAISing, marKETing, SHAPing


For polysyllabic borrowings not already stressed on the final syllable, shift the stress one syllable later in the word, unless that would result in the foreign suffix -ing receiving stress.
Frank Silbermann
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
[Map]: Perhaps it would help if in published production the correct pronunciation of little known foreign names were more often indicated.

Yeah, that would be nice.
It's not so simple; it's not just a question of telling the reader which sounds to use instead of those suggested by the letters in the name. Just as some clothes are dyed in colors that don't exist in nature, some foreign names use sounds that don't even exist in English. Imitating them is as difficult as imitating bird-calls, and the attempt makes people over the age of 18 feel silly.
Jim Yingst
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Sure. Personally I'd just want a reasonable approximation using English-language sounds. Tell me which syllable to accent, and what "standard" sounds are closest. That's good enough, in my opinion, for anyone not committed to learning the specific language in question.
Mapraputa Is
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MM: Think about stress placement in some recent (last 20 years) Russian borrowings from English.

Ha, I got some more, and probably more relevant for this thread's topic examples:

States names:
English: WAshington, Oregon, FLOrida
Russian: WashingTON, oreGON, FloRIda.

Now I am confused myself. Why the heck was it so difficult to borrow these NAMES together with the stress...
Darya Akbari
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Mr. Kirk Krekorian offers 4.5 billion US$ for Chrysler according to german magazine Der Spiegel.



Does anybody believe that Mr. Kre-ko-rian is 89 years old.

Excellent .
 
Don't get me started about those stupid light bulbs.
 
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