When you see the word “bokeh” written, you probably see an image in your head to associate it with the word. But when you read it out loud, how do you do it? Is it “boh-key,” “boh-kuh,” “boo-kay” or something else?
Guys from Photogearnews asked photographers at The Photography Show how they pronounce it. There are so many different answers, that you may wonder whether yours is the right one. Well, in the video you’ll also hear what the correct pronunciation is from a reliable source. Ryu Nagase, Canon’s Product Management Director, will tell you the right way to say it.
I found this topic interesting both as a linguist and as a photographer. It’s amazing how some foreign words get into our language and we adapt the pronunciation without a problem and make it universal. Yet some other terms, like “bokeh,” get so many variations that you can’t tell which one’s correct.
In the video, you can hear all these variations and realize how many of them there are. Some pronounce it as “bouquet,” some as “boo-key,” sometimes it’s “bok-uh” and so on. But I’d say a native Japanese speaker and a Product Management Director of Canon is a pretty reliable person to tell you the right pronunciation. And it’s “boh-keh,” or /boke/ if you prefer phonetic transcription.
It’s funny that yesterday I told my boyfriend something about bokeh, and I said three variations of the word one after another. At that moment, there was an almost visible question mark above my head. I found it really fun to see that other photographers, speakers of different native language from mine, also have that “question mark” when asked to pronounce “bokeh.” How do you pronounce it? Have you been using the correct way or some other variation?