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how do you pronounce tapir?

Discussion in 'Zoo Cafe' started by Ned, 24 Mar 2015.

  1. Ned

    Ned Well-Known Member

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    How do you pronounce 'tapir' ? I swear years ago tapir was pronounced tay-pur however these days every man and his dog pronounces it Tay-pee-ur (at least they do here in the UK). Having looked on line at the Oxford English Dictionary, the Cambridge English Dictionary and Wikipedia it seems it is pronounced tay-pur. I increasingly feel self-conscious about the way I pronounce the word so does anyone else pronounces tapir as I do? And where did the unnecessary extra vowel sound come from?
     
  2. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    what extra vowel sound? I say tay-peer (which I'm presuming is the same as you are spelling tay-pee-ur). The word comes from a Tupi name tapira or tapyra, of which the i is pronounced as a long e.

    I had a look on some online dictionaries and they do all say the pronunciation is tay-per (like the word taper) which I cannot agree with.
     
  3. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    I also pronounce it tay-peer. I don't think I've heard it pronounced any other way actually...
     
  4. Ned

    Ned Well-Known Member

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    Interesting; thanks for the explanation. Just to be clear, do you pronounce it as a three syllable word because most people seem to. Taper is exactly how I pronounce it, thanks, I should have explained it like that.
     
  5. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    tay-peer. Two syllables. Although I can see how certain accents could add an "uh" sound due to a rise at the end
     
  6. AverageWalrus

    AverageWalrus Well-Known Member

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    I pronounce Tapir "Tay-Purr", and also, on some kids show, i heard it pronouced "Tap-Ear"
     
  7. mazfc

    mazfc Well-Known Member

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    I say Tay-peer
     
  8. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    Tay-pee-yah. Have said it that way since the sixties or seventies. I think I heard Marlin Perkins pronounce it that way.

    And in a similar vein, I've always pronounced Jaguar as Jag-yoo-ar, but I remember Perkins pronounced it Jag-waa which I'd never heard before.

    :p

    Hix
     
  9. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    jag-wah is actually the correct pronunciation, which is kind of wierd because that's how Americans say it and Americans are renowned for not being able to pronounce anything correctly.

    It is from a Tupi word, the same as animal names like iguana. The "ua" is always pronounced "wah" (although very many people mispronounce tamandua as if the last three letters are two syllables). On the other hand, "oo-a" is almost like a long extension of "wah" anyway so I don't suppose it really matters.
     
  10. PAT

    PAT Well-Known Member

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    You've had me saying tapir out loud for the last five minutes. I think I fall into the 3 syllable category (tay-pee-ur). If it's any help I say peer (and pier) with two syllables.

    On a related note, I paid special attention to the douc langur talk at Singapore zoo and the presenter pronounced douc like book.
     
  11. Macaw16

    Macaw16 Well-Known Member

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    I say Tap-eer.
     
  12. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    I say "jag-u-uh" for jaguar and I'm also guilty of pronouncing tamandua with "oo-ah" at the end.
     
  13. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    funnily enough, I occasionally hear iguana mispronounced as "ig-yoo-ah-nah", which I'm sure is something Zoochatters would never do!
     
  14. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    All together now

    You say tam-and-wah and I say tam-and-you-ah
    You say pot-or-oo and I say potto-roo
    Tam-and-wah! Tam-and-you-ah!
    Pot-or-oo! Potto-roo!
    Let's call the whole thing off

    Alan
     
  15. azcheetah2

    azcheetah2 Well-Known Member

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    I pronounce it "tay-purr"

    As for jaguar...I heard somewhere that it's pronounced "jag-you-are". Same with penguin that it's actually "pen-gyoo-in"(not real heavy on the 'y') but I say "jag-war" "penn-gwenn"
     
  16. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    I have never, in more than 50 years, heard penguin pronounced as anything other than 'peng-gwin'.

    :p

    Hix
     
  17. azcheetah2

    azcheetah2 Well-Known Member

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    Well, you have me beat with your more than 50 years, but in more than 40 years, I've heard it pronounced both ways. :D
     
  18. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    it is not pronounced that way. It is pronounced peng-gwin.
     
  19. azcheetah2

    azcheetah2 Well-Known Member

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    And I suppose you are the self-appointed pronunciation police for animals? I respect you being a moderator and all, but to come out and say basically "you're wrong and I'm right" is kind of...I don't know...ridiculous.
     
  20. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    well there's this thing called "how words are actually pronounced". The correct pronunciation of penguin is "peng-gwyn" (or "pen-gwyn" depending on how one's accent works). It is not pronounced as if the u is a separate syllable. Some words have more than one legitimate pronunciation. Penguin is not one of those words.