Let me start by saying that I don't have much face to face interaction with people who have the same level of knowledge or interest in photography and cameras that I have. Most of the information I get now is from Nikonians and other sources that I read.
So, while I'm sitting here thinking about Nikon cameras, I'm wondering if I'm saying the model names correctly since I haven't heard anyone say those names - only read them.
I have a D300 and have always pronounced it "d three hundred" which we'll assume is correct. I've been pronouncing the D300s as "d three hundred ess" or is it "d three hundreds"? And then I've assumed that the D7000 is "d seven thousand", but is the D7100 "d seven thousand one hundred" or "d seventy one hundred"? And so on.
Life would be easier if the cameras had names rather than numbers - or would it? What's the right way to pronounce Nikon?
I have found that in English speaking Europe they pronounce it Nee-kone. In the United States I always hear people say Nigh-con. In Spanish it is also Nee-kone from what I have heard. Does it matter? If you are buying probably not, if you are selling try to pronounce it so the customer doesn't think you are a hack.
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It's also pronounced Nick-un in many parts of the English-speaking world. Words vary in their pronunciation or usage depending on where you are in the world. When you pronouncing them differently than the standard in your dialect or language, it can start sounding artificial and affected. The same holds true with "Nikon". In other words, don't worry about it too much.
In the 1930ies, Zeiss-Ikon was a highly regarded German camera. Carl Zeiss was one of the first makers of scientifically designed lenses and Ikon (EEkon) is the the Greek word for "inage". The Japanese wanted to compete with the Zeiss Ikon camera and named their product Nikon, short for Nipponese Ikon, since they obviously could not use the name of Carl Zeiss.
Here in Eastern Europe it sounds like "nee-kon" and no one can figure out what a "Nigh-kon is. When I go back home for more than a few days, the first few days no one can figure out what this "nee-kon" is that I am talking about. It is interesting that such similar sounding words baffle people who seem to understand that a camera is being discussed, not which if a long or short "i" sound is used. Stan St Petersburg Russia
I agree in spirit, but that's not the way languages generally work. If I start referring to Finland as Suomi, I'm going to get strange reactions from most English-speaking people. There's a practical dimension with all of this where larger conventions overcome anything discussed in this forum.
BTW, what I hear in the recorded pronunciations of Nikon by Japanese native speakers (what was linked above) is not Nick-On, but Nee-kone, which is what I've assumed in the past. Phonetical spellings are tricky things because they're only useful in one dialect. You have to use more sophisticated representations of the sounds (IPA) to really get them right.
Wow, this started out about the numbering nomenclature but it looks like we’re all on the same page on that one. As far as the brand name goes… I’ve been calling it Nigh-Con since One thousand, Nine hundred and Seventy-Seven.
Wed 29-May-13 08:43 AM | edited Wed 29-May-13 06:45 PM by jrp
Nathan, It is not an imposition. It is a difficulty for the monolingual to process foreign sounds. And by foreign I mean, those sounds not used in our own language or heard very infrequently and when we are not really paying attention.
So foreign names, their pronunciation and true meaning is always subject to the interpretation of the foreigner who may later further disseminate it in their own turf. And when it becomes a custom it is law in that region.
Take for example the Arabic term 'Sahara' It means desert. So to say the "Sahara desert" is an involuntary pleonasm by the Colonial British Empire and the French Foreign Legion.
In Australia, someone asked an aboriginal "What is that animal named" and the answer was "gangurru". The inquirer said "I got it! Kangaroo it is!" And that was the then Lieutenant James Cook, a British subject.
In Mexico, Cancun is not even Mayan. A Spaniard asked a native what the place was called and his answer was "Can cun"; which meant "I am not from here". Yet, as the name stuck, it was later 'idealized' to mean "Place of the Gold Snake", of 'possible' Mayan origin.
In Japan the "R" has a very different sound, closer to "L" than to our "hard" R. And the "L" sounds closer to a soft "R" than to our plain "L" So I am called over there: "Lamon Paracios" instead of Ramon Palacios.
German is extremely hard for me, almost impossible, because of the very very different sounds of vowels, compared to Spanish, Italian, or Portuguese and even Japanese.
When in Thailand some years back, we were offered "flied lice" for dinner at our "guess how" (guest house).
But, somewhere down the line, I have this strong feeling that proper names should, within the speaker's phonetic possibilities, be pronounced as closely as possible to the way the owner of said name would pronounce it. Hence knee-kon. Is there anywhere, other than where American is spoken, that it is pronounced differently?
>> But, somewhere down the line, I have this strong feeling that proper names should, within the speaker's phonetic possibilities, be pronounced as closely as possible to the way the owner of said name would pronounce it.
It is pronounced, in the USA, consistently with many similarly spelled words. Nitrate, night, kite...
"Nikon" is a brand name, and the English spelling was chosen by Nikon Corporate, not "us". I would argue that if they wanted it pronounced "knee-kon", they should have spelled their brand that way. And given the peculiarities of English language, they would have had several choices... Kneekon, Neekon...
And given further peculiarities of our language, it could as easily been pronounced similar to nickel. Pronunciations of words starting with "Ni", but pronounced "nee" are rare exceptions.
The fact that the USA pronounces it differently than other countries of British origin is not unique. We would have a long thread indeed if we got into a discussion of all the different USA/British pronunciations of various words in our language. And when we were done with that, we would have to dissect all those very different Australian pronunciations
Yes, most of the English speaking world pronounces it differently than it's pronounced in Japan and differently than in the US. Where it's pronounced more similarly to Japanese is also where the standard vowel sounds more closely align with the Japanese pronunciation (although they're still subtly different).
Nathan, Not to my knowledge. Although drawn from a small sample of UK members with whom I have conversed, they say Nikon as it is pronounced in Japan or very close. However, we must remember than in Europe, nations been so small in territory makes them very close to one another. So they are used to different languages at a very early age. It is not uncommon for Europeans to speak at least three languages at a tender age. This in turn leads to further train a musical ear or improve mimics and stimulate imagination.
Well, "no problemo" instead of "no hay problema" ....? I have been called Mr. Pal-a-key-oz and not infrequently. Italians are "Eye-talians" in most of the USA. But it is the same for us Spanish talkers, we tend to pronounce very differently so many words.... like when 'when' becomes 'Who-en' for us.
I am reminded of the story of the two older women on the upper deck on a London bus. One is telling the other of all her woes. The other nods sagaciously and then, after a while, says: "Be philosophical about it, dearie. Don't give it a thought!"
How To Say Iraq Email0Smaller FontTextLarger Text|Print Jan 19, 2009 6:18am By MIKE GUDGELL, ABC News, Baghdad Bureau Chief I’m not a linguist. I’m not very good with languages. I have to admit, I’m still working on English. I can ask a question in French, but sadly, I rarely understand the answer. I do know some important Spanish phrases, including how to order a beer and ask for directions to the bathroom. One is useless without the other. If I had one wish it would to be able to speak several languages.(Wish No. 2 would be able to sing on key.) I’ve tried to learn Arabic. Not being able to speak to the Iraqi staff has limited my ability to learn about their lives, and it has been an obstacle to covering the war. I suspect I’m like many of you. (Apologies to those who CAN sing on key) But at least I know how to say "Iraq." If you are not sure whether it’s "EYE-RAK" or "e-RAK," well, it’s not your fault. It’s neither. Actually, it’s "ae-rock." The Arabic language has its own alphabet, and there are a few letters and sounds that just don’t exist in English. One of the most impish tricksters is the letter "ein" or "ayn." It is a unique combination of a soft "a" and a soft "e" together. It’s sounds like "ae" but goes deep into the neck and comes out as a throaty, constricted sound. There’s some risk in trying for the "ein." If you pronounce it with a hard "E" you are going to mean "fighting" or "E-RAK." If you say it with a soft "a" like the "a" in a-round, you’ll be asking for fermented palm syrup, or "ah-Rak." If you drink that stuff the chances of pronouncing Iraq will be lost for hours. You have to be careful not to focus just on "ein." If you don’t hit the rest of the word, you’ll turn "ah-Rak" into "ah-RAQ", which means sweat which could be accurate if you drank too much ah-Rak). The military here has some of the worst offenders. I still cringe when I hear a Southerner who is used to hitting the vowels hard give a speech and talk about "a historic day in EYE-RACK." The origins of "Iraq" are not clear, and the meaning of the word is the subject of scholarly debate. The top contender is a variation on the name of an ancient Sumerian City, Uruk. The favorite of many here is that Iraq is a form of the Arabic word for "many races." The combination has a certain irony in these modern times: Iraq — an ancient nation of many races. So if you hear someone talk about "Eye Rackees," the first thing you should know is that they are more like us than you’d think. They certainly have a well-developed sense of hospitality. I’ve never heard anyone correct Americans for mispronouncing the name of their country. The second thing you should know is they’d probably appreciate being called "ae-rock-ies." They have another word I like, "Khalis." It’s pronounced with a soft "k" and an airy "h," almost like "holis." It has a powerful combination of meanings — done, finished, completed, gone, etc. Let’s start working on that one.
Memories, memories! The mention of the letter "ayin" reminds me of the first time I came across it, in my student days in the early 1960s, in what must have been the driest book I have ever had the misfortune to hold in my hand, a book on Biblical Aramaic Grammar. The only memorable line in the whole thing was the author's description of the said letter as "the sound of a camel vomiting". Nathan