Very Off Topic -- Pronunciation of Ubuntu

I often learned words before I knew how to say them. For example, when I was in the 1st grade, I though the word debris (dɛbɹi:) and the word debris (dɛbɹɪs) were different, as I had read the latter and only heard the former in normal conversation.

Now I am wondering how you say Ubuntu. I have been saying it ju:bu:ntu:, and one of my friends calls it ɐbɐntu:, which I know is wrong, but reading the wikipedia article, it says uːˈbuːntuː, with no j in front. What’s more, it seems to put the stress on the first syllable and not the second.

What do y’all think?

And just so you know, I try to use IPA.

Oo bun too (to add an undiacritical version of it - just to make it more “legible” …) was how I always thought it was pronounced … this was confirmed when I heard a (black) South African say the word (from whence it came) …

i thought it was “You Bun Tu” instead of “Oo Bun Tu”

I don’t know where you get the j from though…

As a South African from the region of the Xhosa, I can assure you that it is pronounced “ūbūntū” all long “u’s”!:D;) And yes, there is more stress on the first syllable.

I call it OOO - BOON- TOO (Spanish pronuntiation.) That’s the adventage of Spanish, as far as I know for all my life, all words are pronounced as they’re read, unlike in English… XD

Between all the people I’ve talked to, we can never decide between ‘you-boon-too’ and ‘oo-boon-too’.

All I know is that the middle syllable is NOT ‘bun’. Long ‘u’, long!

It is pronounced with long u’s, but I know I have said it with a short u in the middle.

My excuse is that I am from Indiana where we have all kinds of weird ways to say words. We often drop syllables completely out of words. I know many people who say the word wash as “warsh”. I have this feeling the reason we call Indianapolis, our state capital, “Indy” is because we can’t say the full word.


as a south african who’s heard this word for the past 14 years (not just as an OS) it’s pronounced oooh boohn tu (long oooh, long boohn, short tu). I’ve included the h for effect,

ah ha u just pwned this entire thread:D

j is the symbol for the English sound y in IPA.

Could you transliterate it in your native language (if it is not English)? This way I can get an idea of how it is actually said, as ooo could be any number of sounds. If you speak Afrikaans, are the vowels you are trying to tell me oe, ooi, oo, u, uu, û, ui, or something else?

So is it ooBOONtu, or is OOboontu, i.e. where is the stress? Also, from your orthography, I take it there is no j (y) commencing the first syllable.

lol didnt mean to pwn anything kay_Eva
Well my first language is English, so not an expert on Zulu or Xhosa (only know a few keywords) but the emphasis is on the BOOHN, so pronouncing it you have to feel a certain resonance in your skull when saying it. So as you would say Doom or Boom with some base in your voice.

EP1 had it technically correct, but I thought that it would be hard for you to do it without picking up an accent. My apologies for simplifying it. Actually it is a Xhosa(don’t even ask about that pronunciation) word. It would be ooBOONtu.

Edit: Ha! Me and EP1 posting at the same time, or close to it!

thanks RedJay, maybe, if possible, you should do a quick voice recording and post it. Me thinks it could be stickied.

Do you have a place I could upload it? Cause I think I could do it.

I pronounce it like u-bun-tu; u, as in “ooh-ahh” or “doo”, bun as in “boone”, tu as in “two”

@ redjay not sure, maybe we should ask the admins if it would be possible to host it here, I have a googlepages page so maybe we could stick it there too, if you record it, send me a pm,

OK, I’ll try. Waiting for my radio to have 0 listeners, though. Not sure that they’d like to be listening to me saying Ubuntu. :wink:

In every ubuntu live cd there is a video of Nelson Mandela speaking about the Ubuntu philosophy, there you have the right pronouciation, if you dont have the live CD here is a copy of the video

I’ve always pronounced it as Oo-Boon-Too, but I’ve always thought the right way is Oo-Bun-Tu.

I always say “oo-BOON-tuh”