Kiri who?

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa
[ˈkɪri tɪˈkɑ:nəwə]

It was fall-off-my-seat-spluttering-time again. I can no longer remember in what connection, but the continuity announcer on ITV1 last night mentioned the name of the New Zealand opera singer Kiri Te Kanawa. The pronunciation that she perpetrated was [ˈkɪri ˈtɪkəˈnɑ:wə]. Look! If all you do is talk, if that is what you are paid for, why don’t you


5 thoughts on “Kiri who?

  1. No, I’m not going to make any comparisons between the pictures of Dame Kiri and JM, Esq. Rather, I should like to know how “Te Kanawa” is pronounced in Maori.

  2. For stress in Maori, I found the following:
    ‘Maori Stress

    According to Harlow (2001), all Maori words and most particles (i.e. grammatical words) contain a stressed syllable. Stress is not phonemic.

    The stressed syllable is never more than four morae from the end of a word. Main stress usually lies on the first long vowel. If there is no long vowel, the syllable containing a diphthong is stressed (for some speakers this rule is any non-final diphthong). If there is no long vowel or diphthong within the last four morae, then the earliest syllable is stressed.

    These rules are general guidelines and there are words which are stressed in less predictable ways. Also in natural speech word boundaries can sometimes be blurred resulting in changes in stress patterns.’

    From: accessed 14 May 2010

  3. Wikipedia gives /ˈkɪri tɨˈkɑːnəwə/ which I suppose is about right for NZ English. Maybe the /ɑː/ would be better as /aː/. I guess the /ə/ vowels would be /a/ in Maori.

  4. Just survived a day long series of graduation ceremonies (only good point: Nicole and my PhD robes are so much more colourful than the drab black zip-front American ones!). Among the usual numerous mangling of foreign names, two interesting mis-pronunciations from senior academics involved with announcing various parts of the proceedings:
    1. in absentia /ɪn æbˈstɛntʃə/ (two different people produced this form)
    2. Lagos /ˈlɑgoʊs/

    No. 2 (Lagos) is listed in LPD as a form used by those unfamiliar with Lagos, Nigeria. What was interesting was that the Alumni Association Rep found no problem with /ˈleɪgɑs/.

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