Silly question...pronouncing 'Chennai"

#1 Aug 7th, 2010, 05:31
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#1
I am going to visit Chennai in December, and I am having a dispute with a friend about how to pronounce Chennai...I say chee-nai and he says kan-nai..which one is correct?
#2 Aug 7th, 2010, 05:34
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#2
I think it is Chen-nai
#3 Aug 7th, 2010, 06:16
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"Madras."
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#4 Aug 7th, 2010, 07:40
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#5 Aug 7th, 2010, 08:08
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'Mad-Dress' or "Chin-High" will work in a pinch.
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#6 Aug 7th, 2010, 08:42
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Don't worry about it.. Any self respecting chennai-ite would pronounce it madras.
#7 Aug 7th, 2010, 08:59
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#7
You're both wrong.
Madras is much easier to pronounce.
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#8 Aug 7th, 2010, 09:02
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#8
Chennai(pronounced many times in this video):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFF6eP_vfcU

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#9 Aug 7th, 2010, 14:44
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#9
pronounce it just as it is written. I have no clue where your friend is getting his "k" from! Chee is wrong too, it is not a long syllable. You can honourably settle your dispute with your friend as both being wrong!

With South Indian names, keep it simple, and you are most likely to be right.

ch as in cherry

chen rhymes with men

nai rhymes with eye
#10 Aug 7th, 2010, 15:22
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i like nich-H's formula sounds flawless
#11 Aug 7th, 2010, 15:47
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#11
I have some experience in pronouncing "Chennai"

Even so --- I won't claim that I say it exactly as a Tamil speaker would!
#12 Aug 7th, 2010, 15:56
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#12
Chennai=Chen+naeye
Chennai=Chen+I,Chenn+I
I think the tamil pronunciation sounds more like Sennai or Cennai, h is silent.
#13 Aug 7th, 2010, 18:45
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I have been told by an insider (OK, he's a Tamil Brahmin) that Chennai is the non-brahmin pronunciation. Brahmins pronounce it Shennai as do Telugu speakers who are no small minority there.
#14 Aug 7th, 2010, 18:49
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#14
I wondered about this, too. This post has been very helpful!
#15 Aug 7th, 2010, 20:26
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#15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golghar View Post I have been told by an insider (OK, he's a Tamil Brahmin) that Chennai is the non-brahmin pronunciation. Brahmins pronounce it Shennai as do Telugu speakers who are no small minority there.
Oh, so many versions of Tamil!

I don't think I've ever heard anybody call it shennai and, althought the Brahmin community is a small minority, I mix with plenty of them, being a carnatic music fan. For other reasons, I have a number of Telugu friends too. Perhaps your Brahmin friend equates "Brahminical" with "correct" . B P Prasad... we need you here!

Yes, I doubt very much that my English "ch" (as in cheese) is exact and proper in Tamil*, but it will be understood. It was some years before auto drivers, when told where I wanted to go, just took me there, instead of saying, "what?". The difference was not so much in the sounds, but in the nuances and stresses.

It remains very much easier to an English speaker than, say, French names. In Pondicherry, neither I nor my Tamil-speaking wife can make auto drivers understand us


*UPDATE: just asked Mrs N, and she says that it is the same, and that, yes, even when speaking in Tamil, Ch-ennai is as in ch-eese. And Brahmins just ...talk different. Well, ok I paraphrased that last bit.

As it is meaningless to me, I don't follow threads on the rasikas forum (yes, mostly Brahmin) about these things, but I do, from time to time, notice (in passing) great controversies going on, and one of them is the ch- sh- thing with certain words.

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