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Author Topic:   Stieff Silver
silverspurs

Posts: 15
Registered: Apr 2006

iconnumber posted 06-03-2006 02:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for silverspurs     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Can anyone tell me how to pronounce Stieff? Is it "Steef" or "Styf"? Thanks.

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IJP

Posts: 326
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 06-03-2006 03:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for IJP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've always said (stēf)... This is the only way I'd heard it, but my personal reasoning: The name looks Germanic to me, and in German the i-e vowel combination always makes a long e ( ē ) sound.

Having some familiarity with many western languages, I often let their phonetic rules determine my pronunciation of names (both silver manufacturer and otherwise) which clearly derive from that language of origin, which isn't always "correct", albeit probably more source-accurate.

For example, I tend to pronounce Schofield as (shōfēld), although I've heard plenty of people pronounce (skōfēld). In much the same way, I allow German phonetic rules to determine the pronunciation of Mauser as (mauzer) with an a-u diphthong rather than (mäzer) with "a" as in "father" or "bought".

On the other hand, when it comes to Marquand & Co., I usually pronounce (märkand), with the last syllable rhyming with "hand" or "land", rather than (märkä~) where the final "n" is nasal as it would be pronounced in French. As to Grosjean & Woodward, I say (grōjēn) rather than the more French-consistent (grōzha~), but I suppose I do this for the sake of grace and fluidity in my speech, as it sounds strange to break into absolutely correct French pronunciation while speaking in English. I certainly don't approve, however, of saying (grōsjēn) or (grōsja~), which is both cumbersome and "gros"-ly incorrect. Another tendency of mine is to say Redlich as (redlik) rather than (redlikh) with a final velar fricative as in "Chanukah", again for reasons of fluidity... So perhaps I'm not as consistent in my pronunciations as I might have earlier claimed.

[This message has been edited by IJP (edited 06-03-2006).]

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silverspurs

Posts: 15
Registered: Apr 2006

iconnumber posted 06-03-2006 04:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for silverspurs     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
IJP, thank you for your value-added response. Hopefully, now I'll sound somewhat informed when I ask questions about some of the specific makers you mentioned.

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IJP

Posts: 326
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 06-03-2006 05:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for IJP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
silverspurs, I'm glad you appreciate my response—Sometimes I go on for much more than is asked, or necessary. But do keep in mind that the above pronunciations are just my own best guesses or simply reasonable pronunciations I've heard frequently used. The truth is, the most correct pronunciations would be those used by the makers and firms themselves, of which I am often not terribly sure. Thus my suggestions may not be the standard-use pronunciations. Then again, the original way to say things may no longer be standard-use. Note, for example, that because Peter Carl Fabergé was of French Huguenot heritage, his surname was likely pronounced originally with the accent on the final syllable. Nonetheless, like many other English-speaking person, I usually speak of him and his firm with the accent on the initial syllable. Things, unfortunately, are not always consistent.

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FWG

Posts: 845
Registered: Aug 2005

iconnumber posted 06-03-2006 07:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FWG     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As Emerson wrote,
quote:
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.

Personally, in the Middle Atlantic region of the US I hear both pronunciations of Stieff almost equally. As Ian notes, from German it should be a long e sound, to rhyme with beef, but I suspect I say it more often to rhyme with knife, having heard that more often when I was first learning about silver. But I know I use both; probably depends on mood, and whom I'm around....

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IJP

Posts: 326
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 06-03-2006 08:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for IJP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
FWG, I certainly do love an apt quotation when available... Exactly why I rather like the "Grissom" character in the original (Las Vegas) CSI wink

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tmockait

Posts: 963
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 06-03-2006 09:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The basic rule of thumb in German is to pronounce the second letter in the dipthong.
Stieff is Steef (long e) and Stein is "Stine" (long i).

Tom

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silverspurs

Posts: 15
Registered: Apr 2006

iconnumber posted 06-04-2006 01:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for silverspurs     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"You say toe-ma-to and I'll say toe-mah-to. Let's call the whole thing off." Guess I'll just be a chameleon and adapt to the siuation at hand. Thanks, everyone.

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Kimo

Posts: 1597
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 06-05-2006 05:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kimo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Around Baltimore I've always heard it pronounced to rhyme with knife. Given that it was a Baltimore company I assume this is the "correct" way, but then one might want to take into account that the standard pronunciation of Baltimore by locals is "BAL-mur" followed by the standard form of address which is to call everyone "Hon". biggrin

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