Pronunciation guide?

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Pronunciation guide?

Postby Ryan Mazzocco » Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:15 am

It would be kind of nice if someone could set up a pronunciation guide for the many exotic woods and materials used in guitar making. If there are others out there like me, this is pretty much the only place in my life where woods like zircote, padauk, camatillo and others like this are discussed. Sure, I have my own made up version of how to say these things in my head but I never have to say them out loud and sound like an idiot by saying them wrong. but suppose someday I do run across someone that wants to discuss exotic instrument woods, I can't be taken seriously if I'm saying it wrong, can I?
Around here you only have to know two woods; Red Oak and Poplar (or the alternate pronunciation "popular" :roll: )
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Re: Pronunciation guide?

Postby Michael Lewis » Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:01 am

In general I think we should use vowels as most of the rest of the world does: a = ah, e = eh(usually), i = ee as in 'week', o = o, u = oo as in 'hoot', y = ee as in week. In Scandinavian speak j is sounded as an i or y.

Consider the language used at the origin of the material. From Latin America a double l is sounded as y (example- camatillo - cah mah TEE yo)

We tend to Americanize most everything and that is one of my pet peeves. Why can't we say Roma instead of Rome? Why do we say KAY po instead of KAH po for a shortened version of capotraste (kah po TRAS teh). It's a wonderful world we live in, just do your best.
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Re: Pronunciation guide?

Postby Simon Magennis » Sat Mar 03, 2012 7:40 am

Then if you pronounce it "correctly" you have the next problem: what does the name mean?

Is Rosewood Aniba rosaedora or Dalbergia X?
Which is Pau Rosa?
Or does it just depend on who is using it and for what?

We don't even have to go exotic. How many different timbers are sold with the name Maple which might of course be Sycamore if it came on a European trip although of course Sycamore coming from the US would probably be welcomed in Europe as lacewood or maybe just as plane tree.

At a guess pronunciation in the last 20-30 years has gotton much more homogeneous in any case. At least in Europe strong local accents have become much less common and less promounced.
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Re: Pronunciation guide?

Postby Michael Lewis » Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:21 pm

Larry Davis would be a good source of general information as he is a wood dealer. In general there can be many "common" names for any particular wood, many misleading and misapplied in the industry. The term "pau rosa" or 'rose wood' just means 'red wood' and can be applied to many woods, and means not much as far as identifying them. For actual identification you need the scientific name and sometimes the place the wood is from as it can vary in qualities depending on where it was grown.
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Re: Pronunciation guide?

Postby Paul Doubek » Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:42 am

If we include both pronunciation and common name <--> genus/species we could burn through at least a couple of threads! I agree that pronunciations can be confusing... especially in print. I always defaulted to "wenj" for wenge, but it seems like most folks in the know use "wen gee". Padauk is exactly as it doesn't appear... "puh dook", also known as vermillion although I haven't seen that term used for a few decades.
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