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PAX, LUX ET VERITAS SINCE 1965
Post This Morning's Tongue-Twister: Antetocounmpo
Created by John Eipper on 12/17/20 4:26 AM

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This Morning's Tongue-Twister: Antetocounmpo (Edward Jajko, USA, 12/17/20 4:26 am)

Our founder Prof. Hilton had an interest in names, which I share, and might have enjoyed the coincidence of the phrase "it's all Greek to me" and a Greco-African name in the news of sports. Yesterday's New York Times says that "For $228 Million, Antetokounmpo Announces He'll Stay in Milwaukee." (For that money, I'd stay in Milwaukee, too.)

Antetokounmpo was born and raised in Greece, the son of Nigerian parents. His full name, minus the accent marks that I am unable to add, is Γιαννης Σινα-Ουγκο Αντετοκουνμπο, which is Yannis Sina-Ugo and, in Wikipedia's romanization, "AhntehtuhKoompoh."  According to Greek orthography, this should be pronounced "Adetokunbo."  Sports announcers and commentators will likely have cheat sheets but will stumble anyway.

Further research confirms that rules of Greek orthography apply and the name is pronounced "Adetokunbo." 

There is an "Adetokunbo Ogundeji," of Nigerian parentage but from Michigan, who is on the football team of Notre Dame University--which makes him Irish. The mind reels. 

JE comments:  I'm curious about the "nt" to "d" pronunciation shift in Greek.  The letters t and d are the same sound, one devoiced and the other voiced, and the Slavic languages, for example, often switch the two (the same rule applies to k and g, with dog becoming "dok," which sounds like "duck").

Still, I'm at a loss with Antetocounmpo, other than the suggestion that it might mean before Tocounmpo.  (!)

Regardless, greetings from sleepy Valladolid, in Yucatán.  Our travels yesterday were exhausting but safe, with many hand disinfections and takings of temperatures.  A day of museums and cenotes awaits.


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  • A Word on Greek Pronunciation, Field Marshal Modgomery (Harry Papasotiriou, Greece 12/18/20 5:21 AM)

    In response to John's comment on being curious about the "nt" to "d"
    pronunciation shift in Greek, the Greek alphabet lacks the letters d and
    b, which are thus replaced by "nt" and "mp." This sometimes has
    unfortunate consequences. Some students of mine pronounce Montgomery as
    Modgomery.


    JE comments:  Harry, this is ideresting!  No d?  Any survivor of a fraternity or sorority knows the letter Delta, but it's now pronounced as a "th" sound (as in then).  We've now solved the riddle of Antetocounmpo.  It's pronounced with a "d" for the nt, and a "b" for the mp.

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