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Rubik's cube

English translation: ru:bik

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16:09 Mar 22, 2002
English to English translations [Non-PRO]
/ game
English term or phrase: Rubik's cube
I need to know how to pronounce the "u" in "Rubik".

Is it like "cut" or like "bush"?

And I suppose the "i" is a schwa, isn't it?

Thanks a million times!!!

Nat
Nat
English translation:ru:bik
Explanation:
This is a native Hungarian commenting. As a reference, I would rely on my adored "The New Oxford Dictionary of English". "Rubik" is not an entry, but "Rubik's cube" is. The (English)pronunciation of the inventor's name is given as ru:bik, where the "i" is without a dot, you all know this IPA character.

And yes, the Hungarian pronunciation is slightly different, with a short "u" sound.

The point is: no language can adopt the *correct* pronouncation of any word/name that is native to another language. THere are tens of thousands of examples, of which I am going to cite only a few:
"Roosevelt" is usually pronounced incorrectly in Hungarian as "ruzvelt". Names of classical Athens and Rome and pronounced in each language slightly diffrently, but probably never as they were pronounced originally. The Czech president in French is "vaklav avel", the composer from Salzburg is "mozar". Etc, etc, etc.
One more well-known Hungarian example: the name of the multi-millionaire philantropist, Soros, is most of the time pronounced as "soros" in English, whereas correctly it should be "shorosh", without diphtongs, of course.

Each language evolves. Words are taken from other languages, so are names. Whenever a name becomes more than just a name, i.e. it starts to function as a label, as a trademark, then the original pronunciation may also be also corrupted, just as in the case of any ordinary word.

And when we discuss such issues on this forum, we are only thinking of European languages, with more or less similar phonetic sets. The Chinese also use Rubik's cube, and talk about Kosovo and Dick Cheney and may travel to Stockholm, but they corrupt these proper nouns in such a way that none of would ever recognize them. In fact what they do is that they use a best possible approximation to the original pronunciation. Just as what we do between our European languages...

The world of languages is just like Rubik's cube: If you are crafty enough to match one side of the cube, all the others are still in a mess... You don't have to master the skills to be able to match all six sides - but you should be aware that there are millions of possibilities out there, just as there are with languages.
Selected response from:

Csaba Ban
Hungary
Local time: 08:14
Grading comment
Dear all,

First of all, I would like to thank Mats Wiman for unsquashing my question and giving me the possibility of deciding what to do with it.

Second of all, I chose Csaba Ban's answer not only because he provided the English (mis)pronunciation - which was what I needed - but also because he cited the source of the phonetics information. But what I liked most of Csaba Ban's answer was his last paragraph, which I am personally going to cite when teaching my ESL students. I recommend you all to read it.

Once more, I want to thank you all for taking the time. I'll take into account Attila's pronunciation option if I happen to be in Hungary and if I happen to mention Rubik's Cube while visiting that surely wonderful country.

Thanks again a million times and see you some other time!
Regards,
Nat
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +10Roobik's
Mary Worby
4 +4ru:bik
Csaba Ban
5 +2Pronouncing foreign namesErika Pavelka
5This whole discussion is sooo ridiculous!bochkor
4 +1boy, boy I am ashamed
Andras Szekany
5 -1it is like "bush" almost like "you"
Michael Deliso
5 -2As in `book’
Attila Piróth
5 -3On pronouncing foreign namesJohn Kinory


  

Answers


2 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +10
Roobik's


Explanation:
It's a long 'u' almost like a 'oo', if you pronounce it as you would 'root' you can't go wrong.

The 'i' is a short 'i' as in 'sticks'

HTH

Mary

Mary Worby
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:14
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 164

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Andrea Bullrich
2 mins
  -> Thank you!

agree  Ellemiek Drucker: you are absolutely right!
4 mins
  -> Thank you!

agree  Heather Starastin: Crumbs, that's going back a few years! :-)
5 mins
  -> Yes ... a little bit of nostalgia that's got us all thinking back to the early eighties! (-:

disagree  Olga Simon: It should be a short sound. Rubik is Hungarian, his name is pronounced with a short "u". See Attila's answer below.
9 mins
  -> As this is an English question, I presumed the asker wanted to know how to pronounce it in English. We English have a habit of adopting our own pronunciations for foreign names, cf. Braun, Lowenbräu, etc. (-:

agree  Margaret Lagoyianni
14 mins
  -> Thanks!

agree  athena22: Mary's absolutely right. This was a total craze about 20(?) years ago and is (mis)pronounced in English exactly as she said. Olga and Attila's info. is interesting to know, though.
16 mins
  -> Definitely an early eighties thing ...I remember it well! (-:

agree  Ulrike Lieder: Might have been mispronounced, but that's how it WAS pronounced here in the US. My, that goes back a ways...
26 mins
  -> And in the UK as well - unbelievably, you can actually play it online now! (http://www.rubiks.com/) Some people just have too much time on their hands!

agree  Sheila Hardie: yes, and some people even simply called it a Rubik cube - I know a guy who can do it in no time with his eyes closed!:)
31 mins
  -> Now that's impressive!

agree  Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO): Yes, and in English it is a long "oo", regardless of what some non-English speakers are trying to make you believe.
50 mins

disagree  Sven Petersson: Who gives a hoot about how the British mispronounce most foreign names?
1 hr

agree  John Kinory: Sven's rudeness notwithstanding, and as a native Hungarian speaker, I agree!
1 hr

agree  Alex Lane: "Roo-bik" is the way the name is communicated orally in AE. Long 'oo'; short 'i'.
1 hr

agree  Erika Pavelka
2 hrs

agree  Sue Goldian
5 hrs

neutral  Maya Jurt: Here we go again!
5 hrs

disagree  ildiHo: I have only one thing to say about all this discussion: how does anyone know better the pronounciation, then a NATIVE Hungarian? I agree Olga, being also a native speaker!
1 day6 hrs

agree  Tatiana Neroni
2 days11 hrs
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7 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): -2
As in `book’


Explanation:
Rubik is a Hungarian name. It should be a short sound, like in `good’. Long ones like in `cool’ have an accent (as in `fúj’


    Native Hungarian
Attila Piróth
France
Local time: 08:14
Native speaker of: Native in HungarianHungarian
PRO pts in pair: 184

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Theodore Fink: Nice to know the original pronunciation...
3 mins

agree  Olga Simon: Absolutely!
5 mins

disagree  athena22: This is very interesting--thanks for the info! But in English as it is spoken in the US, where this was a craze in the '80s(?), it's (mis)pronounced as "cool"
9 mins
  -> Would you say the same about Kirkegaard? (Central question in Therapy by David Lodge.)

neutral  Sheila Hardie: I agree with Athena22, it's great to know the original, but in the UK it is not pronounced that way:)
27 mins

disagree  Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO): Yes, and in English it is a long "oo", regardless of what some non-English speakers are trying to make you believe.
46 mins

agree  Rossana Triaca: for what it´s worth: Here in Uruguay it´s with the short u, more like the original pronunciation. There´s little respect in English for foreign diversity...
1 hr
  -> As underlined by the previous comment...

agree  Sven Petersson: Give them hell!
1 hr

disagree  John Kinory: Sven's usual rudeness notwithstanding, and as a native Hungarian speaker, I disagree!
1 hr

disagree  Erika Pavelka: Regardless of how it's pronounced in Hungarian, in English the 'u' is pronounced 'oo' (Bocs, Attila, de igaz).
2 hrs

disagree  Sue Goldian: In English the 'u' is pronounced 'oo'
5 hrs

agree  Maya Jurt: Any European pronounces it this way. And Hungary is in Europe, as far as I know.
5 hrs

disagree  ildiHo: But in Europe almost every language has a different pronounciation. So we, Hungarians, also have ours! Even if it hurts some other people!
1 day6 hrs
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): -1
it is like "bush" almost like "you"


Explanation:
I don't have an explanation. Rubik's cube was a game popular in the 60's/70's

Michael Deliso
Local time: 08:14
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in ItalianItalian
PRO pts in pair: 15

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Csaba Ban: nope. The cube was invented in 1974 and became popular around 1981
22 hrs

neutral  John Kinory: Somewhat excessive use of the Disagree button by CB, perhaps? The question/answer relate to pronunciation, not to when CB thinks it was invented.
23 hrs
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4 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): -3
On pronouncing foreign names


Explanation:
Leaving aside the rude and semi-racist comments ("Give them hell!", "Who gives a hoot about how the British mispronounce most foreign names?", "There´s little respect in English for foreign diversity"), the fact is that the speakers of most languages mispronounce most names foreign to them. How many Swedes correctly pronounce 'London'? How many French people correctly pronounce 'New York'? How many Hungarians correctly pronounce 'Jules Verne'? (I wonder how Olga pronounces it: I bet she'll say 'Vern-e Gyula', and so will Erika, of course). So all this laying into the British only exposes the writers' hypocrisy/ignorance/whatever.


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-03-22 20:39:03 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Oh, yes: and Attila, of course.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-03-23 11:58:39 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I am amazed that so-called intelligent language professionals cannot see that the references to Olga, Erika and Attila were purely illustrative: to show by analogy that Hungarians do not pronounce \'Jules Verne\' the way the denizens of the Rive Gauche do.
The mind boggles.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-03-23 14:52:53 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

It\'s been pointed out to me that I may have been too polite not to mention, specifically, that the sentence above (\'So all this laying into the British ... ignorance/whatever\') was directed at Sven who started the unprofessional rudeness and worse, not at anyone else. Some people do jump to conclusions: is it because they read what they expect to read? Certainly, their reactions speak for themselves.

John Kinory
Local time: 07:14
PRO pts in pair: 48

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Olga Simon: Olga pronounces it 100% right and she is not sure you are able to do the same. What a stuck up guy you are, God! You need some serious treatment. And please stop picking at me, this is not the 1st time!!! Get a life, man!
29 mins
  -> Please note, everyone: this is Olga being polite and civilised, and answering to the point. You don' t want to meet her when she is being rude.

disagree  Mike Sekine: who's being racist here? how many SWEDES correctly pronounce "London"?
54 mins
  -> You tell ME who is being racist, Mike: it wouldn't be you, now, would it?

disagree  Maya Jurt: Continentals mispronounces (sometimes) by inadvertance. The English and Americans by total ignorance. why shoukd they care? Get a life, man! good advice. ;-)
1 hr
  -> This is Maya being completely non-racist, everyone. And of course, she is a native Hungarian so she knows how Hungarians pronounce Jules Verne. I take off my hat to her.

neutral  Barbara Østergaard: You have a point John, but you have to bear in mind that most translators answering kuduZ questions have an academic degree (and many years of experience) in translation. However, this does NOT justify the rude comments. So let's keep the party clean!
2 hrs
  -> Since I have been translating for 40 years, I don't see the relevance of that comment.

disagree  Sven Petersson: Supporting Maya's "disagree".
12 hrs
  -> You would.

neutral  Ursula Peter-Czichi: Now, all this is about the correct pronounciation of 'Rubik'. Attila gave us the insight of a native Hungarian speaker. So now we know the correct way. Still, we are free to adjust to local gusto. International collaboration takes tolerance.
17 hrs
  -> Attila has, indeed. But it's relevant that Erika, another native Hungarian speaker, agrees with Mary and with me. It's nice to see that there are some civilised linguists in this forum, not just infantile mud-slingers: thanks! :-)

agree  Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO): Monolingual questions should be open only to native speakers of the respective language. No "non-native input" required here.
20 hrs
  -> Let's wear our 'native' badge with pride :-) Just as I wouldn't tell CB how to pronounce Katona Jozsef utca, even though that was one of my earliest words ...

agree  ildiHo: Fully agreeing Werner. John Kinory does not talk about the essential of the question. And anything happens: Hungarian language has its own characteristics. John, who do you think you are?
1 day2 hrs
  -> I know who I am, thanks: someone who can follow a logical argument. The question is, who are you? I must admit, I have no idea what you are waffling about.

disagree  Tatiana Neroni: Supporting Maya's opinion. And John, each time I disagree, please, don't write nasty letters to my e-mail, as you always do. Really, get a life.
2 days7 hrs
  -> Since you are supporting a nasty and racist comment, winding it up by making a nasty comment of your own, it's really rich that you accuse me of being nasty. Learn to write civilised comments before you join a translators' forum.
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23 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +2
Pronouncing foreign names


Explanation:
I believe the asker was a native English speaker, so naturally he or she was asking how one would pronounce Rubik in English (which is Roobik). And I say this as a person whose first language is Hungarian!

It's impossible to expect people to pronounce a foreign word correctly. A perfect example is how people pronounce "Moulin rouge". It's completely distorted, but they don't care. FWIW, the pronunciation of Rubik in English is still quite close to the Hungarian.

There are tons of foreign words in every language that are surely mispronounced. In English I can think of connoisseur (it's even misspelled...), smorgasbord, goulash... But it can't be expected that the native speakers of one language (who have no or very little knowledge of another language) will pronounce those words correctly, especially if the sounds don't exist in their own language.

My two cents,

Erika


Erika Pavelka
Local time: 02:14
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  John Kinory: At least 22 cents, Erika! :-)
47 mins

agree  Fuad Yahya: I salute your sanity and charity.
1 hr

agree  Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO): All those people (non-English speakers) have done the asker of this question a great disservice. Nat wanted clarification on English, not Hungarian or anything else.
1 hr

disagree  ildiHo: If the asker would have asked how to pronounce Rubik in English, he/she would have to ask for that version!
7 hrs
  -> The question was posted under English monolingual, so I assume they were looking for an English pronunciation. Please read more carefully.
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1 day1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +4
ru:bik


Explanation:
This is a native Hungarian commenting. As a reference, I would rely on my adored "The New Oxford Dictionary of English". "Rubik" is not an entry, but "Rubik's cube" is. The (English)pronunciation of the inventor's name is given as ru:bik, where the "i" is without a dot, you all know this IPA character.

And yes, the Hungarian pronunciation is slightly different, with a short "u" sound.

The point is: no language can adopt the *correct* pronouncation of any word/name that is native to another language. THere are tens of thousands of examples, of which I am going to cite only a few:
"Roosevelt" is usually pronounced incorrectly in Hungarian as "ruzvelt". Names of classical Athens and Rome and pronounced in each language slightly diffrently, but probably never as they were pronounced originally. The Czech president in French is "vaklav avel", the composer from Salzburg is "mozar". Etc, etc, etc.
One more well-known Hungarian example: the name of the multi-millionaire philantropist, Soros, is most of the time pronounced as "soros" in English, whereas correctly it should be "shorosh", without diphtongs, of course.

Each language evolves. Words are taken from other languages, so are names. Whenever a name becomes more than just a name, i.e. it starts to function as a label, as a trademark, then the original pronunciation may also be also corrupted, just as in the case of any ordinary word.

And when we discuss such issues on this forum, we are only thinking of European languages, with more or less similar phonetic sets. The Chinese also use Rubik's cube, and talk about Kosovo and Dick Cheney and may travel to Stockholm, but they corrupt these proper nouns in such a way that none of would ever recognize them. In fact what they do is that they use a best possible approximation to the original pronunciation. Just as what we do between our European languages...

The world of languages is just like Rubik's cube: If you are crafty enough to match one side of the cube, all the others are still in a mess... You don't have to master the skills to be able to match all six sides - but you should be aware that there are millions of possibilities out there, just as there are with languages.

Csaba Ban
Hungary
Local time: 08:14
Native speaker of: Native in HungarianHungarian
PRO pts in pair: 4
Grading comment
Dear all,

First of all, I would like to thank Mats Wiman for unsquashing my question and giving me the possibility of deciding what to do with it.

Second of all, I chose Csaba Ban's answer not only because he provided the English (mis)pronunciation - which was what I needed - but also because he cited the source of the phonetics information. But what I liked most of Csaba Ban's answer was his last paragraph, which I am personally going to cite when teaching my ESL students. I recommend you all to read it.

Once more, I want to thank you all for taking the time. I'll take into account Attila's pronunciation option if I happen to be in Hungary and if I happen to mention Rubik's Cube while visiting that surely wonderful country.

Thanks again a million times and see you some other time!
Regards,
Nat

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  John Kinory: Admirable exposition :-)
12 mins

agree  ildiHo: Exactly, Csaba!
5 hrs

agree  xxxivw: Hats off, Csaba. :-)
14 hrs

agree  Tatiana Neroni
1 day10 hrs
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1 day8 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
This whole discussion is sooo ridiculous!


Explanation:
First of all, most of you misunderstood the purpose of KudoZ. If you want to drag out a question, you should place it in a forum. But since you've opened up the party already, I'll be no better and add my 2 cents, as well.

Secondly, just by placing this question under "English (monolingual)" Rubik does not become English or American. But perhaps the asker did not know that Rubik is a Hungarian word, which is okay (!), but Csaba was also right to treat the question as a question about the Hungarian language (since he knew it was Hungarian!).

Well, to take the sharp edge off the issue, it would have been proper for the asker to specify in the first place, whether he was interested in:

1. the way it's pronounced in English or
2. the language of origin (in this case Hungarian) or
3. both.

See, we already have 3 options! Yes, for some people posting it as "English (monolingual)" is enough explanation, but for some (rightfully so) it isn't, because it's just not English. So in my opinion the asker should have been more specific as to what he wants. After all, requiring context in KudoZ is a well-known practice (and the only thing that makes sense).

To make a long story short, for Hungarian it's correct with a short "u" as in "foot", but in English it's correct with a long "u" as in "rude".

Now about the "oo", I wouldn't quote it so freely as the long English "u", because if you really know languages, you are aware that "oo" can be short also as in "foot" (not just long as in "root"), plus there are the 4 famous exceptions: door, floor, blood, flood.

But anyway, by now we all know what's going on about "Rubik's cube" (more, than we ever wanted to know), so I think this discussion should be closed.

bochkor
Local time: 02:14
Native speaker of: Native in HungarianHungarian, Native in GermanGerman
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1 day15 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
boy, boy I am ashamed


Explanation:
ashamed for all of you a bit. 1. The question was an easy, simple one, for which (theoretically) correct and incorrect answers are possible. Since the name "Rubik" is a name of a person, the pronounciation may be really different (depending from the owner). (Just for the example: I President Bush a bush? (I beg your pardon). I worked many time with swedish and japanese people together (mostly steel mill erection sites) we spoke english (it was the hell mishmash) but we understood each other - especially (being electricians) the understanding was more important, than to put some (academic) phrases or pronounciations right (you know electricity is a dangerous thing). That much educated people, as you all are, should - I think - have that flexibility and understanding, not to run out against each other for this scrap of a problem.
------
I think - and do not want any KudoZ thing for it - as the Hungarian langauge accentuates always the first part of the word, keeping it short, the right pronounciation for Rubik would be somewhat like bush, cut.
-----
Hey Swedisch people, I liked to be in Stockholm, Vesteras, Eskilstuna, and so on, and did not care for any kind of pronounciation. And so was it also in London, though the speaking out of London seems to be a big magic. Seeya

Andras Szekany
Hungary
Local time: 08:14
Native speaker of: Native in HungarianHungarian

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Mats Wiman: only 'Västerås'
9 hrs
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