The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 06-02-2000, 12:55 PM
Boris B Boris B is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
And, how do you spell it, assuming I spelled it wrong?

Most Americans I know pronounce it "kuh REN in uh". I say it's "kara NEEN uh", for two reasons,
(1) It sounds better to my sensibilities, which admittedly are about as Russian as a bluegrass band eating bento while dancing the samba, and
(2) I remember hearing that you're supposed to put the accent on the second-to-last syllable of a Russian word (I suppose this only applies to words of three or more syllables).

So what's the dope? I looked at a Russian pronunciation guide online, but it didn't say nothin about no syllables, it only talked about pronouncing characters. Zut alors
__________________
Sorry, no, I don't have a cite for that.
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 06-02-2000, 01:00 PM
Ellen Cherry Ellen Cherry is offline
Equal bass/treble split
Moderator
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Near Eskippakithiki
Posts: 11,277
Here it is if you want to read it, Boris: http://www.bibliomania.com/Fiction/Tolstoy/Karenina/

This site spells it "Anna Karenina" but the link addy spells in your way.

I've always said it Ka-rin-nih-nuh, but I'm really not known for my ability to pronounce things!
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06-02-2000, 01:02 PM
Ellen Cherry Ellen Cherry is offline
Equal bass/treble split
Moderator
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Near Eskippakithiki
Posts: 11,277
Hey, Boris, I just remembered: I'm seeing a Russian friend tomorrow! I'll ask her and report back!
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 06-02-2000, 02:04 PM
sulla sulla is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Quote:

(2) I remember hearing that you're supposed to put the accent on the second-to-last syllable of a Russian word (I suppose this only applies to words of three or more syllables).
Believe me, there is absolutely no rhyme or reason involved when it comes to accenting Russian syllables. Sometimes it's the penultimate like you say, sometimes it's the first, as in the Russian word for "hi" - ZDRAST-voo-it-te. Sometimes it's the last, as in Vlad-i-vos-TOK. I still can't figure it out. It doesn't seem to matter whether they are proper nouns or not. And when Russians speak rapidly the accents are hard to discern, unless you ask them to pronounce a word singly.

FWIW, I've heard Russians (and Ukraininans) say Kah-REN-in-na.

-sulla
__________________
For some, the sky's the limit. For others it is only the beginning.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 06-02-2000, 02:07 PM
DRS DRS is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Quote:

(2) I remember hearing that you're supposed to put the accent on the second-to-last syllable of a Russian word (I suppose this only applies to words of three or more syllables).
If only it were so easy. You may be thinking of Polish, which does normally stress the penultimate syllable. Russian stress moves all over the place. There are some surnames which have multiple pronunciations: Mikhalkov and Ivanov, for example. Let me check my references to give you a definitive answer.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 06-02-2000, 02:16 PM
Eve Eve is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
I'd always heard "kar-EN-ia," but that doesn't mean it's right . . .
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 06-02-2000, 02:22 PM
notquitekarpov notquitekarpov is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
I have always followed DRS and pronounced it "Kah-REN-in-na" but was surprised when a girlfriend was reading it and it came up in conversation she said "Why are you saying Anna Karenina - the books called Anna Karenine", showed me the book cover and blow me down but the then latest UK Penguin Classics edition had changed the name on us.

The foreword explained (and this is from memory a few years ago) that the correct feminine form in Russian would be spelt that way. She pronouced it "Kah-REN-neen" by the way for what it's worth...

Is there anything in this or will (did?) the next edition change it back? I guess I could go and check out via a search on Amazon.co.uk and report back...
__________________
"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and Im not sure about the universe."
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 06-02-2000, 02:26 PM
Zhen'ka Zhen'ka is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: The AZV
Posts: 447
Re: Russian last names

Their varying pronunciation always confuses me. In regard to Mikhalkov, IIRC the family of Nikita Mihalkov (the director) changed the pronunciation so that it wouldn't be confused with some poet who was not in favor with the new government. This is described in his documentary "Anna," which chronicles his youngest daughter's life throughout 17 years of communism.

The premise is actually rather interesting (he asked her the same questions over the course of filming to see how her answers changed and if living under communism influenced them). I saw it a while back, so I'm not sure if I'm correct about all of circumstances surrounding the name change. I'm not a huge Mikhalkov fan, so the movie isn't one I would necessarily recommend.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 06-02-2000, 02:28 PM
QuickSilver QuickSilver is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
The correct way to pronounce it would be: ka-REN-ee-na

Her father/brother/paternal uncle/paternal brother would be: ka-REN-een

Trust me. It's right.
__________________
St. QuickSilver: Patron Saint of Thermometers.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 06-02-2000, 03:02 PM
Olentzero Olentzero is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Quote:
The foreword explained (and this is from memory a few years ago) that the correct feminine form in Russian would be spelt that way. She pronouced it "Kah-REN-neen" by the way for what it's worth...
I have a tremendous amount of respect for Penguin in that they try to make the best of the world's literary tradition available to a wide audience at affordable prices. But God, you'd think they could have hired SOMEONE with some sort of experience in Slavic languages to write the foreword!

Feminine surnames in Russian *do* undergo changes. For surnames in -ov and -in, the feminine adds an -a and declines like a feminine noun. So it would be Anna Karenina, with the a pronounced. You'd get some funny looks and plenty of correction if you went around Russia saying "Anna Karenin".

DRS: there actually is both rhyme and reason to the placement of stress in the Russian language, though it's not as straightforward as Polish. I've got a couple of textbooks from Georgetown - one of my senior-level classes was all about intonation, stress, and accurate pronunciation. What a head trip!

I'm assuming QuickSilver has some experience in Russian, but I'm always wary of someone who asserts something, provides no backup, and says 'Trust me'. Always reminds me of the following witticism:

How do they say "F*ck you" in Hollywood?

So what's all this got to do with the price of tea in China or how to pronounce 'Karenina'? Not a whole lot. So let me throw my $.02 behind ka-REN-i-na, simply because all the Russians I met whose names ended in -(n)in never stressed the last syllable, at least as far as memory serves.
__________________
"Heed the word of Olentzero. He is indeed wise." - Ponder Stibbons
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 06-02-2000, 05:43 PM
missbunny missbunny is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
In a related note, it's Sto-LICH-neye-a and Vlad-EE-mir.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 06-02-2000, 06:39 PM
Boris B Boris B is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Whoa, that's pretty darn close to

... consensus. Not exactly, but at least it blew away my bento-eating, banjo-picking sensibilities. I'll put the accent on the second syllable, but perhaps I'll retain the long E in the penultimate. Schwa sounds seem to creep into lot of anglicized foreign words, but I'm not sure they belong there so open.

Anyway, this means I'm going to have to go to the guy in inventory who pronounces it kuh REN uh nuh and tell him I WAS WRONG! I can do it. I will be strong. I will not cry. Until I get home.
__________________
Sorry, no, I don't have a cite for that.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 06-02-2000, 06:44 PM
manhattan manhattan is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 9,132
Quote:

I'll put the accent on the second syllable...
Wouldn't that be "the second syl-LA-ble?

::d&r::
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 06-02-2000, 07:01 PM
matt_mcl matt_mcl is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
When books have the title as "Anna Karenin", it's because they're trying to "translate" the name; if an Englishwoman had a father named Karenin, she too would be Karenin. Personally, I think this "Anna Karenin" business looks about as stupid as "The Karamazov Brothers" or "In Search of Lost Time".
__________________
Q: You are the nation's most popular fruit. What are you?
A. Humble.
- Bruce Vilanch, in Hollywood Squares
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 06-02-2000, 11:45 PM
bibliophage bibliophage is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Maine
Posts: 9,453
The Encyclopedia Americana has
Code:
ka RAY nyi na
vowels are as in father-APE-yip-add
__________________
Give me a roll of duct tape and a place to stand, and I can fix the world.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 06-03-2000, 07:38 AM
Olentzero Olentzero is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Quote:
Anyway, this means I'm going to have to go to the guy in inventory who pronounces it kuh REN uh nuh and tell him I WAS WRONG!
NO NO NO! For God's sake don't do that. The fellow in inventory is mangling the pronunciation!!! There is only ONE sound in the name that's vaguely reminiscent of the schwa, and that's in the first syllable - in Russian, an unstressed a becomes schwa-like.

I've just gone over the pronunciations provided here and, being a Russian speaker and somewhat unsatisfied with the results, will try to reproduce the genyoowyne Russian pronunciation. Ahem...

ka-RYE-nee-nah

I was gonna post a detailed explication on how to pronounce it but will limit myself to noting the accented syllable is pronounced like the word 'yet' with an r in front of it - and don't stretch the y out abnormally long.
__________________
"Heed the word of Olentzero. He is indeed wise." - Ponder Stibbons
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 06-03-2000, 10:59 AM
PunditLisa PunditLisa is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: 'burbs of Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 13,390
I've always heard it pronounced Kah-REN-in-ah. That includes the latest movie with Sophie Marceau as the lead.

In either event, this book has been in my "To Read" pile for years. Can't seem to get past the first 100 pages....
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 06-03-2000, 01:08 PM
DRS DRS is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Quote:
The Encyclopedia Americana has
Code:
ka RAY nyi na
vowels are as in father-APE-yip-add
Well, the Encyc. Amer. is just wrong.

The vowel sequence goes ah as in father--standard Russian a
eh as in bed--standard Russian e
ee as in feet--standard Russian i
uh, that is a schwa--standard Russian a that becomes a schwa after the stressed syllable.

So, best approximation is Kah-REH-nee-nuh

If you REALLY want to show off to your friends, pronouce Khrushchev and Gorbachev correctly: hroo-SHOFF and gurr-bah-CHOFF. No one will know what you're talking about, but you'll feel superior.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 06-03-2000, 04:31 PM
Shayna Shayna is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Slight correction to notquitekarpov, who said,
Quote:
...a girlfriend was reading it and it came up in conversation she said "Why are you saying Anna Karenina - the books called Anna Karenine", showed me the book cover and blow me down but the then latest UK Penguin Classics edition had changed the name on us.

The foreword explained (and this is from memory a few years ago) that the correct feminine form in Russian would be spelt that way.
Your memory is partly right. The Penguin Classic edition is, in fact, called Anna Karenin. And there is a note in the beginning regarding the spelling. However, the note does not claim that Karenin is the correct feminine form in Russian. In fact, exactly the opposite. I happen to have the book right in front of me, and here is exactly what it says...

Quote:
"Every Russian has three names: first name, patronymic (=father's Christian name plus a suffix meaning son of, daughter of), and family name. Although Russians never call each other by the family name but by Christian name and patronymic - thus, Oblonsky would be always Stepan Arkadyevich - for the sake of clarity I have used the surname wherever possible.

For the same reason I prefer the form Anna Karenin, since the feminine form (Anna Karenina) is not usual in English, where Countess Tolstoya appears as Countess Tolstoy, Madame Blavatskaya as Madame Blavatsky, and so on."
In other words, we Yanks are too stupid to figure out the relationship between Karenin and Karenina so the names always have to match or we'd just be too confused. Sheesh!

So Penguin never falsely claimed that Russian surnames didn't take on feminine changes. They just insulted the English.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 06-03-2000, 06:09 PM
dougie_monty dougie_monty is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Gardena, CA 90248-3235
Posts: 8,140
I went to high school with a girl who is still, at 50, as much of a knockout as she was then--and, as then, she still measures about 120" around the brain. She and her mother had both read Anna Karenina, and seen a movie version; both pronounced it "kah-RENN-ee-na." (The mother, since deceased, was a graduate of UCLA and eminently learned, and famed locally as a historian.)
Sidelight: In the movie, at least, was an incident in which Anna was struck by a train. The mother told the daughter she was thus "well trained."
The daughter reacted to this pun with an agonized shriek and said, "Oh Mom! No more puns!" or something like that.
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:21 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.