Marula? Marula? Marula?
June 22, 2009 12:13 AM   Subscribe

How do I pronounce "marula?" In space?

We are making a science-fiction film in which, at one point, a character mentions a marula tree. The film is in English, although it's set on a completely different planet and the cast are presumed to actually be speaking a non-English language (though they have various made-up regional accents). The scriptwriter, however, used some Earth plant and animal names so that glancing references would be clearer.

So, "marula." There are a couple of videos on YouTube where people say the word, but a person's accent and origins seem to make a big difference in its pronunciation, and I can't find any American voices so I don't know what the default American take on the word would be. I don't want the actor to say it wrong, but I increasingly have no idea what "wrong" is. Have you got any experience with this word? How do you say it, and where are you from?
posted by thesmallmachine to Writing & Language (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
In English: Muh-ROO-luh.

As in the tree or nut of the tree, or 'Amarula', the liqueur made from that nut.
posted by rokusan at 12:48 AM on June 22, 2009

I'm no good at phonetic spelling, so I won't try, but I most often hear it (and say it) with quite a short 'ru' sound. I've heard it with a slightly longer 'roo' sound too, I guess that might be more American. Why not phone up the distributors of Amarula in the U.S., mentioned on the Amarula Wikipedia page. Ask them for the name of the South African drink they import.

Here in South Africa, we have a story about how the fruit of the marula tree overripen and fall to the ground where they ferment in the summer heat. The elephants and other animals come eat from the fruit and get drunk. Sorry, I've never been much of a story-teller either.
posted by Gomez_in_the_South at 9:05 AM on June 22, 2009

I don't know what the default American take on the word would be.

It's "mah-ROO-la" or "muh-ROO-la". There's a lot of buzz about Amarula liqueur right now, so I've heard lots of people taking a shot at it, and that is the consensus pronunciation.

According to Gomez_in_the_South, that's not quite right, which doesn't surprise me, but I can guarantee you that the majority of people in the US would say "ROO".
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:09 AM on June 22, 2009

Thanks, everyone. That seems to settle it.
posted by thesmallmachine at 7:25 PM on June 22, 2009

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