Nike?

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Hi people!

The topic of today's lesson was "Brands", so while my students and I were going over different expressions and vocabulary related to this, this question came up: Why is it that Americans pronounce "Nike" (the brand) as /naiki/, while here in Argentina we pronounce it just /naik/ (without the final /i/ sound)? Is there any reason for this being so? If there's not an agreed reason for this, could you just come up with some suggestions?

Thanks a lot!!

Mara.

PS: Sorry, but I don't have phonetic symbols on this computer!Emotion: wink
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Hi,

Why is it that Americans pronounce "Nike" (the brand) as /naiki/, while here in Argentina we pronounce it just /naik/ (without the final /i/ sound)?

I don't know, so let's guess. Perhaps Americans, with /naiki/, feel they should give it a 'foreign' pronunciation. Perhaps people who say /naik/ are just trying to anglicize the sound, guided by analogy to an English word like 'like'.

Here in Canada, I hear people saying it both ways.

Nike is actually a Greek word. She was the goddess of victory, in war, in athletics, etc. My understanding is that the classical Greek pronunciation is actually 'neekay'. I never hear anyone saying it that way.

Then again, if you want to extend the discussion, there's the Nikkei, the Japanese stock exchange. Japanese readers, how do you pronounce that?

Best wishes, Clive
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Thanks a lot for your insightful comments, Clive!

Now, I was wondering if the reason weren't one of closeness or affection, i.e., as "Nike" is an American (national) brand, and certainly, one of the brand leaders, I thought that Americans may want to show or express a certain liking or closeness through the addition of the sound /i/, as they do with other words to evince this type of feelings:

E.g. cutie/cutey, kitty, sweetie, even Tweety (the fictional Warner Bros. character). All these words show a feeling of closeness or affection towards the object.

I know that the pronunciation of the sound /i/ at the end of all these words comes from their very spelling, which is different from that of "Nike", but couldn't this be done by extension?

Maybe, some Canadians say /naiki/ as well for their country's nearness to the US, where they hear it pronounced that way.

What do you think about this, Clive?
CliveThen again, if you want to extend the discussion, there's the Nikkei, the Japanese stock exchange. Japanese readers, how do you pronounce that?

Ahaha… I have never imagined one might mention "Nikkei" in talking about "Nike". We Japanese pronounce "Nikkei" like "Nick quay [kèi]".

By the way, OED says the exactly same thing Clive said here. It is likely Nike had been pronounced as "nigh-key" before the sneaker maker began to use it as their brand.
Nike
[naiki:] (Gr. νίκή :victory.)
1. In Greek art: a winged statue representing Nike, the goddess of victory.
[1867, H. M. Westropp, Handbook. Archæol]. Nike—Victory. Victory is represented in a short tunic, with wings, and usually carries a palm. She is also represented writing on a shield, and frequently sacrificing a bull. [1924 A. D. Sedgwick, Little French Girl] She's a Nike … on the prow of a Greek ship. [1960, R. Carpenter Greek Sculpture] The running Nike is an interesting study in formal drapery. [1968, V. Ehrenberg From Solon to Socrates] There are the figures of a number of winged Nikai.

paco
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Hi Riglos,

Now, I was wondering if the reason weren't one of closeness or affection, i.e., as "Nike" is an American (national) brand, and certainly, one of the brand leaders, I thought that Americans may want to show or express a certain liking or closeness through the addition of the sound /i/, as they do with other words to evince this type of feelings:

E.g. cutie/cutey, kitty, sweetie, even Tweety (the fictional Warner Bros. character). All these words show a feeling of closeness or affection towards the object.

I very much doubt this, in this case. I think it's a huge stretch too far. Nice try, though! I can't think of any brand-name or company where people use this form of affectionate reference.

Best wishes again, Clive
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Anonymous:
We live in England, and some of us say naiki, but everyone says its naik. But the Nike coporation pronounce it naiki.
Anonymous:
Ya. Same here
Anonymous:
i personally pronounce it NiKee, but im sorry to say the other way annoys me sometimes.
I am almost 100 percent sure that it is the correct pronunciation, since nike inc. got its name from Nike the greek goddess of victory, and that name is pronounced the same as the above mentioned. =)
Anonymous:
Nike/Naik. I'm English, I don't understand why anyone would want to add the "e" sound to that word. Nike, Pike, Trike, Like. Pikey? Trikey? Likey? No! x
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