‘An oo-koo-ley-ley’ or ‘An ukulele’?

An Ukulele rests by a musical stream in Cades Cove, TN.

If you read my previous post, you’ll know the question came up.  The next day I happened on Kris’ blog where she addresses that question.  I guess from the title you know the answer.  And, as I read her post, I see she is related to Live Ukuele editor/webmaster.

Grammar has its place — certainly.  One has to keep a sense of perspective about it.  I do believe meaning is most important (note I did not say ‘more’).  Heaven forbid that we get so caught up with the mechanics that we lose sight of the meaning.

When it comes to ‘a’ or ‘an’ ukulele,  the important point really is to play, to strum, to write, to share stories of how the ukulele affects one’s perspective.  As for example, we find Celeste sharing from her Wanderlust Blog.  Here is meaning.  Celeste writes,

“When I began my freshmen year at Stanford, I had a hard time adjusting and some how began to think that playing the guitar would make things better. I’m terrible at guitar. The frets hurt my fingers and I can never stick with it (I’ve tried, many times). My neighbor at the time, Adam, also had a ukulele, which I began to play with and soon fell in love with. I taught myself my own version of “Moon River” (a la Holly Golightly) and it was a constant source of joy.”

That more people would discover the ukulele and learn how the ukulele can be a great source of joy.

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2 Responses to ‘An oo-koo-ley-ley’ or ‘An ukulele’?

  1. “That more people would discover the ukulele and learn how the ukulele can be a great source of joy.”

    I totally agree! My dilemma with the grammar of “an ‘ukulele” or “a ‘ukulele” stems from the written word. No matter how you pronounce it, one of those phrases above looks wrong to you. So, how do I write it? I write is as I would say it (oo-koo-ley-ley), hence “an ‘ukulele,” because it begins with a vowel sound. (And then I explain the pronunciation issue to my editor!) Someone who pronounces it “you-ka-lay-lee” would likely say “a ‘ukulele” and be grammatically correct because it sounds as though the word starts with a consonant.

    Nice to meet you!


    • jlr7 says:

      Nice to meet you, Kris — as I guess I indirectly say in my post. Do you play ukulele or do you work with the music of words and help us all speak ukulele better. ; )


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