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How to pronounce Basquiat?
March 8, 2011 6:50 PM   Subscribe

How do you pronounce Basquiat? Is it bah-ski-ow? Bah-ski-aht? Bah-squee-yat? Bass-ski-yacht?

Referring to Jean-Michel Basquiat.
posted by pwally to Society & Culture (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
The second one, more or less.
posted by tau_ceti at 6:51 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's one way.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:53 PM on March 8, 2011


apparently the internet can't make up its mind

http://www.rightpronunciation.com/details.asp?id=272&id1=7
http://www.pronounceitright.com/pronuncia.php?id_pronuncia=2278

but... i believe it's the second.
posted by matt_od at 6:54 PM on March 8, 2011


BAH-skee-ott.
posted by mykescipark at 6:54 PM on March 8, 2011


ah damn.. beat me to it, Obscure.
posted by matt_od at 6:55 PM on March 8, 2011


I've always heard it BAH-skee-ott, and this is also how it's pronounced in the film.
posted by katillathehun at 7:08 PM on March 8, 2011


BOSK-YAH, with the final T being pronounced only if the following word starts with a vowel, or, as in most cases, if saying it correctly feels too pretentious.

Here's one way.

LOL.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:10 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sys Rq, your answer would be correct if "basquiat" were an ordinary French word, but it's an American last name (with all the implications of pidgin and americanizing that implies).

Bas-kee-ott is how the art world says it, and the biographical film.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:37 PM on March 8, 2011


but it's an American last name (with all the implications of pidgin and americanizing that implies).

First generation American, dude. I'm pretty sure his Haitian father knew how to say it. Like I said, though, Anglos tend to feel weird about the trailing consonant thing and ignore it. Totally fine.

(And, really, it's not as if "the art world" is any authority on pronunciation. For example.)
posted by Sys Rq at 7:51 PM on March 8, 2011


I pronounce it with the squee. This might be horribly incorrect, but I am a fan of the squee.
posted by that girl at 8:04 PM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


They seem to pronounce it slightly differently each time in the trailer for the bio pic but it's basically Bas-Key-At to my English ears
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:41 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


(And, really, it's not as if "the art world" is any authority on pronunciation. For example.)

Sys Rq, they are if they comprise 99% of the people saying his name.

Name pronunciation is not tied to the dictionary pronunciation of non-proper nouns, the rules of a language, or even the last generation's pronunciation. If Jean-Michel pronounced it "bas-kee-ott", "bas-kee-ott" it was. And if the world at large pronounces it "bas-kee-ott", "bas-kee-ott" it is.

What this thread is missing is an example of Jean-Michel pronouncing his own name. Barring that, the next-best authority is the world's best authorities on him... who are in the art world.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:01 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, as a card-holding member of "the art world," I suppose I'll appeal to my authority, then.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:56 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I happen to know someone who was a personal friend of his*, and he says BAHZ-key-aht. Just like pretty much all the art world people I've known have said it.

The correct French pronunciation, though, would be a little different. Definitely the "t" would be silent, and there might be some subtle differences in vowel pronunciation and which syllable should be accented.

*Speaking of an appeal to authority!
posted by Sara C. at 10:50 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


> What this thread is missing is an example of Jean-Michel pronouncing his own name. Barring that, the next-best authority is the world's best authorities on him... who are in the art world.

IAmBroom is absolutely correct, and it annoys me that people feel no qualms about jumping in with "I've always said..." or "The correct French pronunciation would be..." This is not an opinion poll, there's a right answer, and that answer is how the man said his own name, which need have nothing to do with correct French pronunciation (or even with how his own father said it). Thanks to those people who posted links to relevant films and of course to Sara C. for passing on the pronunciation of a friend of his.
posted by languagehat at 10:58 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Right, so I found Jean-Michel saying his own name. It's still a little unclear, but after replaying a thousand times I'm leaning towards thinking he is indeed saying Bahz-key-aht.
posted by pwally at 7:17 PM on March 13, 2011


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