Wednesday, August 6, 2014

How do you spell Ximenean in Hindi?

This question came up while Kishore and I were working on our latest Hindi crossword (yes – coming up very soon on the blog!) I suggested a change to Kishore's 15a with the reason "The grammar isn't Ximenean", and he shot back "Try writing Ximenean in Hindi".

To write "Ximenean" in Hindi, one must know how to pronounce the word. Here was the snag: since I've only ever seen the word written, not used in conversation, I wasn't sure of the right way to say it aloud. So I turned to Google. The search brought me to a rec.puzzles.crosswords thread from 1999, in which someone had asked: How do you pronounce "Ximenean"?

The response from Peter Biddlecombe was:

If you were following proper Spanish principles then I think you would say something like "Himanayan".  I'd say "Zimanayan", and I think I have
heard others pronounce it this way. Using a 'Z' sound certainly seems to be the norm when saying 'Ximenes'.

Here's an audio clip that supports the "Himanayan" pronunciation.

Going by all the data above, "Ximenean" spelt in Hindi would be:

हिमेनेयन or ज़िमेनेयन

Or, since we are converting to Hindi anyway, shall we say हिमेनेज़वादी instead?

That would make the setters in the other camp इच्छास्वातंत्र्यवादी.

Have you used the word "Ximenean" in conversation? How do you pronounce it and how would you spell it in Hindi?

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3 comments

Kishore said...

Stretching it further,if one accepted the Spanish pronunciation just like we pronounce Mexico, not as commonly done as Meksiko, but as the valid Mehico,i.e. as Himenes, imagine how a Cockney would pronounce it. 'I mean ees

Chaturvasi said...

To answer your question -

Yes, I have pronounced the word Ximenean.

Not in everyday conversation at home or elsewhere but in gatherings where fellow-setters or crossword enthusiasts were with me during the periodic meetings that we have had here in Chennai that was Madras and Bangalore.

Don't ask me how I got to it. Not by any immediate look-up, anyway. Maybe from resonances of my study of English literature with its foreign influences.

The need to pronounce - or, more properly, read the word - or rather Ximenes - stared me in the face in the late Sixties or very early Seventies when I bought a hard-bound copy of the first edition of the book.

My pronunciation of Ximenes may have been from the fact that I knew how to pronounce Euripedes and several other words (boatswain, e.g.) from constant look-up with Daniel Jones's English Pronouncing Dictionary - one of several books scattered about in our home. My dad was a book-collector.

Bhavan said...

I wasn't sure if I was saying it the right way or not. But was somewhat reassured when I heard Don Manley pronounce it in a similar way - Xi as in zi of zigzag and menes as in minis (rhyming with finis)