#1
Old 06-17-2004, 11:58 PM
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Name question: Chaim

How does one pronounce the most often seen as Jewish name Chaim? I've always looked at it as being pronounced with a long a, as we would pronounce the word "claim." But I'm suddenly struck with the possibility that the two vowels might form their own syllables, and I've never known a Chaim IRL with which to discuss it.
#2
Old 06-18-2004, 12:07 AM
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I'm pretty sure it's pronounced "Haim", rhyming with "time". That's how I'm told the late Chaim Potok pronounced his name.
#3
Old 06-18-2004, 12:10 AM
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I always thought it was like the song in Fiddler on the Roof. ("To life, to life, L'chai-im!")
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#4
Old 06-18-2004, 12:11 AM
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You're probably screwed before you start, as the 'Ch' represents a phoneme most English-speakers can't pronounce. Think the ch in 'loch' or 'Bach', a kind of gutteral h-with-other-untranscribably-stuff-added. If you speak German or Russian, you know what I'm talking about. (When I worked in a lab here in New York full of Germans, they were all amazed by my ability to pronounce Jochen's name properly, as they'd never met an American who could do that.)

Getting beyond that, it's got two syllables, Cha-yim. The first syllable rhymes with Hah, ie has the same 'a' as 'father.' The second syllable is pretty much like I wrote it, rhyming with 'Jim.'
#5
Old 06-18-2004, 12:12 AM
DMC DMC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rilchiam
I'm pretty sure it's pronounced "Haim", rhyming with "time". That's how I'm told the late Chaim Potok pronounced his name.
I thought it was more drawn out than that and had a guttural "k" sound at the beginning, much like the "ch" sound in German.

Take the word Chai (that nasty tea drink), but start with a guttural "k", instead of a "ch", then add an "em" sound on the end. I'm sure someone of Jewish descent will come along shortly to tell us both how wrong we are.
#6
Old 06-18-2004, 12:14 AM
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Oh, and in America, at least, the accent's on the first syllable. (I've never heard an Israeli pronounce the name, but in many words, they accent a different syllable than Americans do.)
#7
Old 06-18-2004, 12:20 AM
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In Hebrew, it's pronounced Chai(to rhyme with 'eye')-eem(rhymes with beam). It's the masculine form of the Hebrew word for 'life' and it's my Hebrew name. ;j

The Ch sound in Hebrew is generally made by puffing a short, forceful burst from your lungs and simultaneously pushing the very back of your tongue (the part closest to where food goes down) backwards to gently touch the back half of your esophagus. It takes practice, but I find it easier than rolling your tongue for Spanish words.
#8
Old 06-18-2004, 12:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMC
I thought it was more drawn out than that and had a guttural "k" sound at the beginning, much like the "ch" sound in German.

Take the word Chai (that nasty tea drink), but start with a guttural "k", instead of a "ch", then add an "em" sound on the end. I'm sure someone of Jewish descent will come along shortly to tell us both how wrong we are.
Well, ah...:::Rilchiam blushes and stumbles feet::: I did know that, about the guttural "k" sound. But it's so hard to explain in a written medium, I just focused on the central vowel...And now I find it doesn't even rhyme with what I said it did...:::Rilchiam scurries away:::
#9
Old 06-18-2004, 12:35 AM
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Thank you, Rufus. And all others. I'm going to meet a Chaim next week, and I preferred to know how to pronounce his name.
#10
Old 06-18-2004, 08:22 AM
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Chai-IM (although most Americans emphasize the first syllable, this is technically incorrect). The "Ch" is as in the German ach.

That's my middle son's name.

Zev Steinhardt
#11
Old 06-18-2004, 08:49 AM
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Hello? MY name is Chaim. We don't need to resort to sons' names here.

That's all I have to contribute. Everyone else is right about the pronounciation of the name...but make that last syllable "im" as in "Slim Jim" rather than the "eem" that was suggested by Rufus Xavier.

Chaim Mattis Keller
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#12
Old 06-18-2004, 09:18 AM
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On the 'ch' thing, my German teacher at schooll always said to imagine you've got a little fly stuck at the very back of your mouth - what sound do you make trying to get it out?
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