Friday, February 17, 2006

Re: Usage of Maria, Maria and Mariah

Dear America,

While we're on the subject of Mariah Carey, let me remind you of the differences between the proper names Maria, Maria and Mariah. Apparently we, the American public, still do not know the difference between these proper names.

Maria, spelled with or without an accent over the I, is a Spanish name meaning "bitter sea" (according to One acceptable usage of Maria, for example, is the proper name Maria Callas.

Maria Callas is a soprano from Greece and a diva in the old opera tradition.

Maria, without an accent, is part of the title of the song "They Call the Wind Maria" from the Lerner/Lowe musical Paint Your Wagon (yes, it also was made into a movie as well, and yes, that same song was used in the movie, but the Lerner/Lowe musical and the movie are two different creatures). The "they" in this song are the miners, and, well, they call the wind Maria because they want to personify the wind and give it a name. Note that there is no H in the title of the song, and several typists tend to forget that when they mention this song. Although the name of the song is spelled Maria, it is, in fact, pronounced Mariah.

Maria/Maria/They call the wind Maria.

And the song lyrics are protected under someone's copyright, I just don't know whose.

Mariah is also a proper name, meaning "bitter; God is my teacher" (also from and duh, this is the name of Mariah Carey. Before you go crazy on me, yes she was named after the aforementioned song, although an H was added so anyone pronoucing her name wouldn't get it confused with Maria (def. 1).

The Friends of Mariah Messageboard requests that you "Repect Mariah," but it's okay to trash Jennifer Lopez there.

I hope that clears things up for you, America.


Penny Woods

(Pictures: The Open Source Gallery, Wikimedia Commons,, Mariah Daily, MS Special)

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