On names, changing them, and pronunciation

Jenwa Hsung jenwahsung at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 5 15:08:27 EST 2003


--- johanna <johanna at nobrandheroine.net> wrote:
> Someone--I think Melissa, although I was too quick
> w/the delete key--said
> that people in her area would likely say "ma-ree-a"
> because there were
> lots of Latinos in the area. I was surprised to hear
> that, as I've always
> thought of, & have seen/heard, ma-ree-a as the
> normal way to pronounce it,
> divorced from any particular ethnicity. I'd expect
> "Mariah" if I heard it
> ma-rye-a. Anyone else from the US want to chime in
> on this? I'm curious
> now.

I'm from the US (grew up in Minnesota, now in Boston)
and I agree with you entirely -- ma-ree-a for Maria
and ma-rye-a for Mariah.  Although, I also agree with
Melissa because I've always thought that Maria is
usually the Spanish/Hispanic form of Mary.

The first time I realized that Maria is sometimes
pronounced ma-rye-a was in the wonderful YA novel _The
Taking of Mariasburg_ by Julian F. Thompson, where the
protaganist explains that she uses the alternate
pronunciation.

Incidentally, I didn't know that Black Maria was a
term for police vans, but now that I do, the Tom Waits
song "Big Black Mariah" makes a lot more sense.  And I
had always seen the Lerner and Loewe song listed as
"They Call the Wind Mariah", though looking online, it
looks like "They Call the Wind Maria" is used just as
often.  I wonder which it actually is.

--jenwa.

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