This should be a quick one.

Calliope was a Greek goddess, I think. (Pardon me for not looking it up.) It’s also a musical instrument. I’ve always heard it pronounced “ca-LI-o-pee”. But there is a Calliope St. in New Orleans and the locals pronounce it “CALLY-ope”. Why is that?

(There’s also a street called Burgundy that they pronounce “bur-GUN-dee”. I assume the accent on the second syllable is from the French influence; but in that case, wouldn’t it be “bur-gun-DEE”?.)

Think about the way they pronounce thier own city name. I wouldn’t use them as an example of how to pronounce anything.


Hardly, it’s “Bourgogne” in French.

Calliope is the muse of music. There are other muses, but I reckon they are more like metahporical figures rather than goddesses per se.

Actually, Calliope was the muse of epic poetry.

That would be the french pronunciation of the word Calliope.

So if Calliope is the Muse of Epic Poetry, and Euterpe is the Muse of Music, how come the thing got called a Calliope instead of a Euterpe?


1 - J. C. Stoddard’s incomplete classical education? (J. C. Stoddard invented the damn thing).

2 - “Calliope” was more euphonious. Look, at least he didn’t call it a “terpsichore”.

BTW, the calliope qualifies as the loudest non-electronically amplified instrument ever invented. There are reports of them being heard at a range of 12 miles.


Correction - Stoddard invented the steam version we are all familiar with. He could have taken the term “calliope” from an earlier air version, I suppose.

Probably the namer of the instrument was influenced by the literal translation of the name of the Greek muse: “Calliope” means “beautiful voice.” That the the instrument does not in fact have a beautiful voice is immaterial.

So how DO they pronounce New Orleans?
Or-leens (english) or or-leh-ahns (french)?

LaurAnge said: So how DO they pronounce New Orleans?

That would be “Nawlins”.

shakes head Those wacky Americans…

The pronounciation depends on where it’s located. The location of the calliope determined the pronounciation. A land based one, or a river boat one, each had a different pronounciation. I have to research, because I can’t remember which was which, and I don’t want to WAG.