pronounce Olena

Discussion Forum on Andys Collection

Started by anonymous at 24,Dec,04 22:15

My daughters name is Olena.What is the correct English pronounciation? Is it a long "e " sound (EE) or a short sounding "e" as in Helen

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By CameraMan at 25,Dec,04 07:52 Hide
Well. Actually the Russian name is Lena which is a short of Elena. Elena is an analogue of Helen. It's actually pronounced like - first part like "ye" in "yeld", second like "lea" in "lead" and the last part like "nar" in "nark". The stress is on the second part.

Olyona (may be written Olena) is a Ukrainian equivalent of Elena (Helen). It's pronounced like this: "O", "l", "ear" in "early", "nar" in "nark". It's used in Russia some times, but it's mostly Ukrainian name. In Russia also exists a name Alyona, with "ar" instead of "o", and the rest is pronounced as Olyona.

I'm not sure what is your case. But in Olyona, there is no sound "e" at all. It's like "ear" in "early", not like "e" in "Helen". And it's relativally short.


The multiple spellings exist because latin letters are inappropriate for Russian words. We use Cyrillic letters (and there are 32 of them, which create more sounds than 26 latin letters even when combined). So some people are trying to write it as a simple analogue of Russian letters which gives a completelly incorrect sound picture, some are trying to express an actual sounding. Like many people write latin E in place of Russian E or A in place of Russian A, but those letters have different prononcing in English and in Russian. "A" always sounds like "ar" in English it's just can be shorter or longer depends on the byte, usually shorter than English "ar", but it never sounds like English "a". And E can be like "Ye" or "e" in men depending on a byte. But it's never like "e" in "eagle", we have separate letter for this sound, which doesn't look like any of latin letters. And finally, the Russian "e" in Olena is not a simple Russian "e", it's an "e" with two dots above it (most of people do not care to write dots because it's quite rarely used and everybody knows the difference even without dots). It's another independent letter, which sounds deifferent than simple "e". It sounds like "ear" in "early" or "yo" in "yodel" depending on a byte.



Honestly to show how to say it I should record an mp3 with it. Many Russian sound patterns are never used in English, so native English speaker cannot naturally pronounce them as they pronounced in Russian without live example. For instance, most of native English speakers are trying to pronounce "Ol ' yona" when actually it must be solid with softened "l".

Andy.

[%sig%]

Post Edited (12-25-04 06:59)
By CameraMan at 25,Dec,04 08:18 Hide
I forgot some things...

First, in Russian sound "O" when without stress can be reduced in many cases to Russian sound "A". So "Olyona" is a different name than "Alyona" - it's written with Russin "O" when "Alyona" with Russian "A", but their prononcing is very similar in most areas. They both sound "Alyona" in most cases.


And second, which is more important, the name Olena in Ukrainian language is really pronounced more like HELEN than Russian Olyona. It's like "O", "LEN" like in "HELEN", and "AR" on the end.

I just thought that it can be your case. But it's a really correct Ukrainian pronouncing, in Russian it's not correct. In Ukraine, in areas where people speak Russian, everybody pronounce this name like Russian "Olyona", only in Ukrainian speaking areas it's pronounced "Olena".


All what I wrote must be looking kinda weird...

Andy.
By anonymous at 26,Dec,04 10:44 Hide
THANKYOU SO MUCH FOR GETTING BACK TO ME. BUT IF I MAY ASK A MORE SPECIFIC QUESTION REGARDING OLENA ESPECIALLY ALONG THE UKRAINIAN LINE OF PRONOUNCIATION- YOU STATED IT IS PRONOUNCED O LEN AR . I'M NOT QUITE SURE ABOUT THE AR VS. JUST A SOUND. PLEASE COMMENT ON THAT. ALSO HOW WOULD A PURE BREAD AMERICAN SEEING THE NAME OLENA FOR THE FIRST TIME USUALLY PRONOUNCE IT? I HAVE SOME PEOPLE SAYING OLEENA OTHERS OLENA (WITH A SHORT E SOUND AS IN HELEN). WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO PREVENT THE EE (LONG E) SOUND IN THIS NAME? IS IT A MATTER OF PRONOUNCING IT YOUSELF TO THEM OR A MATTER OF CHANGING THE SPELLING OF THE NAME? I BELIEVE THE SPELLING IS CORRECT FOR A "UKRAINIAN" WAY OF PRONUNCIATION PLEASE ADVISE. I APPECIATE YOUR EXPERTICE
By CameraMan at 28,Dec,04 08:59 Hide
Sorry for a delay with the reply.

As for the "ar" I was just trying to express a correct sound. Again, Russian or Ukrainian "A" sounds like English word "are" without even slightest "r" rumbling at the end, just a vowel. But it doesn't sound like English "A". May be it would be better to compare Russian/Ukrainian "A" with the first vowel sound in english word "update". But it's usually longer.

Honestly I'm not sure what pure bread american pronounce Ukrainian name Olena first time. I've never heard this.

Again, I'm not sure what you mean with long "E". I think "E" in name Olena is qute similar to second "E" in Helen but just a little bit longer. It's just like pronouncing Olen instead of Helen, but due to Russian "A" sound at the end "E" becomes a bit longer and the stress is on "e" not on "O". O-len-a with a stress on "e".

Try to say Olen as Helen, then try to change stress from "O" to "e" and then add russian "a" at the end. I guess this can help. Though I'm not really sure if this means for you what it means for me. As I wrote - it's not a good way to explain russian or ukrainian sounds with English letters...


I should really record those prononcings and place them as mp2 file, but I do not have microphone at the moment and I doubt I can get one before New Year. Shops are closed here now.

Andy.

[%sig%]

Post Edited (12-28-04 08:03)
By anonymous at 28,Dec,04 20:20 Hide
I appreciate all the help you have given us. We have decided to go with the pure Ukrainian pronunciation of O len a. THE E AS IN HELEN!
By anonymous at 12,Jan,12 13:32 Hide
Our daughter was given the Ukrainian version. No doubt about it is pronounced O len na soft e sound as both e sounds in Helen. It's a beautiful and unique name.







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