Pronunciation of Moriah
February 25, 2015 1:10 PM   Subscribe

Up until five minutes ago, I've always pronounced the word/name Moriah the same way you would say Mariah Carey's name. But Baby Name Voyager says the correct pronunciation is mo-RAY-uh. Am I in the wrong here? (Biblical experts, or just name experts, help me out!)
posted by roomthreeseventeen to Religion & Philosophy (14 answers total)
Mt Moriah is the name of both a street and a band where I live (NC), and everyone seems to pronounce it like Mariah Carey. I mean, with a little more of an O sound in that first syllable, but definitely not mo-RAY-uh.
posted by leesh at 1:16 PM on February 25, 2015 [3 favorites]

I know a Moriah pronounced More-ah-yah fwiw.
posted by ramix at 1:17 PM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

I agree with my fellow Tarheel. Not exactly like Ms. Carey's first name, but quite similar.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:18 PM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

I have climbed Mt. Moriah in New Hampshire and everyone has always pronounced it More-EYE-ah.

Also, I once got yelled at by a woman named Deborah for pronouncing her name as Deb-Ra rather than "Deb-OR-ah" so really names are pronounced however the hell people decide to pronounce them, even if they're wrong.
posted by bondcliff at 1:19 PM on February 25, 2015 [4 favorites]

I was gonna say what leesh said. It's pronounced similar to Mariah, but as if you had slightly more-i-ah than Mariah.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:22 PM on February 25, 2015

Thanks, everyone.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:35 PM on February 25, 2015

Linguistically there's no way for a bible expert to chime in. You would have regional and cultural pronunciations that have changed through time, so at best you would get answers like above. There's no way to know for certain how many biblical words were historically pronounced.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:49 PM on February 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

For what it's worth, the Hebrew pronunciation (and the way Orthodox Jews named Moriah pronounce it - we have two in our family, named for an ancestor) is Mor-EE-ya. The nickname is generally Mori (MORE-ee).
posted by Mchelly at 1:58 PM on February 25, 2015 [3 favorites]

Baby Name Voyager can take a hike: Moriah-the-girl's-name rhymes with Mariah-as-in-Carey. Always has been, always will be. (Mo-RAY-uh can be grouped with the spate of purposely-misspelled abominations parents have seen fit to dump on their kids: no kidding, I recently saw a Knatilyn, pronounced like Natalie with an n stuck on there.)

And for what it's worth:
For the song "They Call the Wind Maria" from the musical Paint Your Wagon, the songwriters, Lerner & Lowe, specifically stated that the pronunciation is to be ma-RYE-a, with a strong accent on the middle syllable, rather than the softer ma-ri-a. And, for the trivia buffs among us: Mariah Carey was named after this song.
posted by easily confused at 2:01 PM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

I guess it's also possible I'm reading it wrong. Baby name voyager says mo-RAYH-uh, which I guess could be pronounced Mariah. I dunno. I was just being cautious because there are girls out there named things like Neleh, which is pronounced Nuh-lee-uh.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:14 PM on February 25, 2015

mo-RAYH-uh? Say ah i together several times. It becomes the long i sound. The site used a questionable form of diacriticalization. Oops, I think I just made up a word.
posted by Cranberry at 3:41 PM on February 25, 2015 [3 favorites]

Phonetic respellings can be kinda tricky with the long i diphthong. When I worked in educational publishing, we rendered it as "EYE," which I thought was stupid. But yeah, I'm assuming that the "AYH" phonetic respelling is meant to indicate that it's pronounced to rhyme with "eye" not "hay."
posted by holborne at 3:52 PM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

Ummm, my name is Moriah and yes, it's pronounced just like Mariah. Except I also get to be mo, momo, and moems :) best name ever!!
posted by Rocket26 at 7:38 PM on February 25, 2015 [3 favorites]

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