How do you pronounce "Ghibli?" If you're talking about Miyazaki's anime studio, there's only one way (video)

Over the weekend I was talking to an out-of-town relative who is in her 20s about music from Japan's Studio Ghibli films — specifically, about the anime studio's music composer, Joe Hisaishi, who will be playing some of his popular scores at the Hollywood Bowl in August. But before I could ask if she'd be interested in getting tickets to the concert, she interrupted me to correct my pronunciation of "Ghibli."

"It's 'Gi-bli, not 'Ji-bli," she said.

"Are you sure?" I asked, running both words through my head, a little embarrassed for possibly having mispronounced the name for about two decades.

"Yep, I'm sure."

I've seen many Ghibli films, starting with the magical Spirited Away in the early 2000s, and have even visited the Ghibli museum in Tokyo twice. I remember questioning the way it was pronounced in the early days, and thought I had learned to say it the right way. But, after all, was it actually Gi-bli, with a hard "G"? My young relative certainly thought so, and I almost believed her, but something (my ego) made me head straight to Google. And it turns out, the word itself is pronounced both ways, depending on the way you use it.

According to various sites, the word "Ghibli" comes from at least three different places: 1) a word for "hot desert wind" in Libyan Arabic; 2) the name (model) of a Maserati car; and 3) the name of a 1937 Italian airplane, also known as a Caproni Ca.309. This third meaning is what inspired the studio's co-founder and director, Hayao Miyazaki, to name it Studio Ghibli.

But, although all three of these meanings are pronounced with a hard "G," Miyazaki decided to pronounce his Studio as Jiburi, or Ji-bli, for us non-Japanese speakers. That's right, with a "J." However, so as not to seem like a know-it-all, I kindly let my relative think we were both kind of right.

Here's a 5-minute video by StoryDive to help clarify the Ghibli pronunciation in more detail:

Oh, and in case I got your hopes up about Joe Hisaishi's outdoor concert in the Hollywood Hills at the end of summer, sorry, but don't bother looking for tickets. Sadly, as I found out last night, it's already sold out.

See more Boing Boing posts about Studio Ghibli here.