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MMD > Archives > December 2004 > 2004.12.19 > 01Prev  Next

Pronunciation of Reproduco
By Mark Chester

D.L. Bullock writes: "Is it 'Re-pro-du-KO' or 'Re-pro-du-SO'?" which
is an excellent question.  Robbie's reply [per Art Reblitz] points out
the emphasis on the word "REPRODUCE" in the manufacturer's advertising,
and it seems pretty clear that the intent was a pronunciation of
"Reprodu-so" just like "Rinso" and I have always assumed it to be so
(no pun intended!)

But Rinso uses an 's' and Reproduce uses a 'c', and confusion will
result to English speakers, because unless the spelling were changed
to "Reproduso" (which looks silly) then we have this little rule of
phonetics in English that a C followed by an A, O or U is a hard C
(the "K" sound) and a C followed by an E or I is generally a soft C
(the "S" sound.)  I believe that French uses the same phonetics except
that they use a cedilla beneath the letter C (as in garçon) to indicate
a soft C sound in such cases, and the only words used in English that
I can think of that are spelled with a cedilla are imported from French.

The manufacturers are thus left with the dubious position of having
a trade name that conveys to the eye its significance but is prone to
mispronunciation, or modifying it to facilitate pronunciation but lose
the visual impact.  Most of the time, then as now, visual impact
prevails, and we have a few trade names out there that I have noticed
from time to time which defy rules of phonetics, though I can't think
of any right now!  But I am positive that the intent here was
"Reprodu-so," and those who pronounce it otherwise are merely reading
it as written, and not as intended. ;-)

For what it's worth, I know nothing about the product itself except
that it is some type of reproducing piano.  My reply here is not as
a Reproduco expert, but merely because I think language is fun!
I guess I must be "hooked on phonics!"

Reproduço, anyone?

Best regards to all for happy holidays!

Mark Chester

 [ Matthew Caulfield adds:
 [   "I would have put my money on the pronunciation as 'Ree-pro-doo-ko'.
 [ I have a pretty good sense of pronunciation, but in this case we are
 [ at the mercy of idiocy at Operators Piano Co.  Nobody in their right
 [ mind would look at the coined word and pronounce it they way
 [ Operators intended.  But these piano and piano roll companies were
 [ not great at language other than their own -- and sometimes not even
 [ at that.
 [   "What influences me in thinking of the 'co' syllable as 'ko' is
 [ its unavoidable association in a commercial name with 'Co.,' the
 [ abbreviation for 'company.'  Live and learn."
 [ We old-timers recall the tear-jerking serial stories on the radio
 [ and the adverts for Rinso soap (from which sprang the appellation
 [ "soap opera"!), but 'Rinso' seems derived from the verb 'rinse',
 [ itself derived from French 'rincer', to rinse.  So the soap name
 [ could be spelled 'Rinço' except we'd miss the connotation of
 [ washing the dishes!  -- Robbie

(Message sent Fri 17 Dec 2004, 16:06:06 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Pronunciation, Reproduco

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