Therese Walsh

FAQ’s about Javanese Mysticism and the Keris

If you’ve wondered how “keris” is pronounced, then you’ve stumbled upon one of my personal obsessions. The western world almost always spells the Indonesian dagger as “kris” and pronounces it as the common name “Chris”; but the Javanese spell the blade “keris” and the pronunciation is different when using the Javanese dialect—though most of the western world would default to the western pronunciation of “kris.” I wanted to know the authentic pronunciation, though, so I dug a bit (wouldn’t Maeve?).

I’ve seen several arguments: Sounds like “crease” or “kâris” or “kâris.” Recently, I read a few accounts that may point to the true pronunciation: “kâris,” with a little trip over the r. Or maybe I just like it because it rhymes with Therese.