The Naming of Cats

L-Marie   Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:28 pm GMT
Can anybody help with pronunciation of these 'effanineffable' names:
? :)
(IPA will do nicely)

In most cases I can guess but I really want to know for sure. Ordinary pronunciation dictionaries don't help.

If there is any recording of the whole poem available, I would be happy to have one as I have some doubts about rhythm as well (as for the musical, I have it).
Uriel   Tue Sep 30, 2008 3:43 am GMT
Ah-LAHN-zo, PLAY-to, DEM-eh-ter, JEL-lee-LOR-um.

The first three of those are at least well-known names; the rest are completely the invention of the author, so I can't help you there! You would probably need T S himself voicing the recording....
TomJimJack   Tue Sep 30, 2008 8:48 am GMT
Why don't you call your cat just Pussy? In this case you won't have to rack your tongue each time you want to call it.
DOG Lover Damian   Tue Sep 30, 2008 10:40 am GMT
Some of those names listed sound pretty unpronounceable to me - Tiddles is so much easier - a name commonly used for a moggy* here in the UK.

Here are the names of the few cats that I know personally through family, friends and neighbours, with genders known to me. My family prefer dogs.

Samson (m) - he doesn't live up to hs name - a wee bit of a wussy pussy

Arthur (m - obviously) - no idea which Arthur he was named after - I personally don't know any bloke called Arthur

Leekie (f) - I believe she had problems with learning what a catflap was for, the same with a litter tray

Pookie (f) - no idea where she got that name

Most of my mates go for dogs, like me. You always know where you stand in a dog's affection, loyality and faithfulness. Not so with cats - they show you affection when the want something from you....when they don't they ignore and spurn you and just don't want to know......hisssss.....miaoooow!

*Moggy - a Britslang term for a domestic cat.

Here in Scotland, in the forests of the Highland Region, we have feral wild cats which really are wild beasties and can be quite dangerous when cornered. Sadly they have declined in numbers over recent years. The one pictured in the following link looks pretty tame - quite like a domestic moggy really, but in reality they can look very fierce especially when the spit and arch their backs ready to pounce and bite and scratch like the true hellcats they can be. Have your audio system swtitched on to get the full flavour of the Scottish accent:
Dog Lover Damian   Tue Sep 30, 2008 10:51 am GMT
Other British (English) accents were featured in that clip, as you no doubt discovered if you followed the link.

The Grampius part of the Latin name for this particular species of cat refers, of course, to the Grampian Mountains, which form the major part of the Highland region of northern Scotland, to the west of Aberdeen and to the south of the Moray Firth.

I don't think anyone bothers to find names for all those 400 or so wildcats roaming about up there in the fastnesses of the Highlands.
Uriel   Wed Oct 01, 2008 3:13 am GMT
I have had cats named:

Tiger (hey, I was five...)
TC (stood for either Tango Charlie or Top Cat, depending on my mood)
Xymox and Mnemosyne (they were kittens, and I'm pretty sure the people we gave them to didn't keep those names!)
Cat (well, she never came when called anyway)
Stinky (clean mouth, nasty butt...)
And another one who never got a name, but was very personable and loved dog food inordinately!

I've had a ton of dogs, but my current crew are:

and Cactus Jack

I'm much more of a dog person as well!
John Cowan   Wed Oct 01, 2008 4:01 am GMT
I think the rhythm of the line "Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter" makes it clear that "Demeter" has penultimate stress like the rest. TSE was an American, after all; it's a very rare name for a human being here, and the name of the goddess is commonly pronounced following the Latin/Greek pronunciation, with penultimate stress.

(Indeed, I wonder where the antepenult-stress version of the name comes from?)
Uriel   Wed Oct 01, 2008 4:35 am GMT
I don't know. I've just always heard DEM-eter. Never De-ME-ter.
L-Marie   Wed Oct 01, 2008 3:57 pm GMT
I've suspected something like that;)
So there is no way to know for sure how a word is pronounces if it is not in use. Then how do you hadle it? If one wants to read such a poem aloud, what should he/she do?
John Cowan   Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:28 pm GMT

The rhythm of the poem often gives the answer, as in this case: "such as PLA to ad ME tus el EC tra de ME ter" is perfectly regular, two slacks before every stress, whereas "such as PLA to ad ME tus el EC tra DEm et er" limps.
Uriel   Fri Oct 03, 2008 2:14 am GMT
Trust me, there are plenty of English words that even native-speakers have only ever seen on the page and may never have heard said aloud. I know I've found that I was "mentally pronouncing" unusual words wrong for years until I finally heard someone actually SAY them!

There are a few basic patterns to pronouncing most English words, and we unconsciously follow them to figure out strange words -- sometimes it lets us down, but usually it lets us hazard a guess. Where stress falls in a word sort of depends on the number of syllables in the word, but occasionally Americans and Brits stress different syllables even in the same word, so nothing's ever easy!

Am: or-REG-a-no
Brit: OR-re-GA-no

Am: ga-RAHZH
Brit: GARE-ridge
L-Marie   Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:10 am GMT
Thanks to all for usefull tips.
Actually, stress patterns isn't the greatest problem, because the poem itself may give an idea of the correct stress. I'm mostly concerned about correct vowels.
For ex., 'Coricopat'. I quess it shold have double stress like 'cOricopAt'. But what vowels would sound more naturally in it? Would the following pronunciation sound OK /"k{rik@%p{t/?

As for 'Quaxo', should I pronounce /ei/ in the first sillable?

And this one- 'bombalurina'. I'm pronouncing it like /"bOmb@lU%rIn@/. Is than OK?

As for 'garage', I've always thought 'ga-RAHZH' is a British pronunciation and the stress pattern came from French.
L-Marie   Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:12 am GMT
By the way, the next poem in the book is called An Old Gumbie Cat. What is 'Gumbie'?
Guest   Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:41 am GMT
>>As for 'garage', I've always thought 'ga-RAHZH' is a British pronunciation and the stress pattern came from French.<<

Well, you thought wrong.
L-Marie   Sun Oct 05, 2008 9:45 am GMT
You are too fast to judge, guest :)
The word did came from French and all the doctionaries I bothered to check put pronunciation GA-rahzh before GARE-ridge. So my only mistake was about stress in British variant.