Pronunciation of "Ngaio"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat May 9 23:53:55 UTC 2009

At 7:52 PM -0300 5/9/09, David A. Daniel wrote:
>There is a(n) (in)famous poker player named Scotty Nguyen. He pronounces his
>name Scotty Win - could be more marketing than etymocultural. (Hmmm. Appears
>I may have just coined etymocultural. Remember: you saw it here first.)

Yes, I remember Scotty Nguyen (with the
pronunciation you note) from WSOPs past.  There's
also a Dallas Cowboys linebacker and now coach
named Dat Nguyen from Vietnam (although he grew
up in Texas).  According to the wiki site for him
at the
name is pronounced Vietnamese style with initial
velar nasal (note the IPA transcription at the
beginning), but I seem to recall that was not the
standard practice by announcers when he was
playing.  Another web site suggests "[win]",
which I suspect is intended to represent [wIn] as
in Scotty.  Kudos to wikipedia for the old
college try, though.


>-----Original Message-----
>From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
>Jim Parish
>Sent: Saturday, May 09, 2009 6:56 PM
>Subject: Re: Pronunciation of "Ngaio"
>James Harbeck wrote, of "Nguyen":
>>  Lucky you! Here in multicultural Toronto, I've heard the same name
>>  said [juN] and [nudZEn] and [nugEn]. [NaI at n] isn't quite a match to
>>  the Vietnamese, either, but it's much closer (ISTR it's more like
>>  [Nujn] - according to what I was told by one person bearing the name).
>>  Nonetheless, I agree that the trend is towards being able (or should I
>>  say willing) to pronounce the velar nasal word initially.
>I remember, back in the '60s, hearing the name pronounced [nwIn].
>Haven't heard it (in any pronunciation) much since the end of the
>Vietnam War, but then this area hasn't attracted too many Indo-Chinese
>Jim Parish
>The American Dialect Society -
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