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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Pronunciation Guide to Some Difficult Authors' Names

With references! Reputable ones! Yay!

Chinua Achebe (CHIN-wah uh-CHEH-beh)
The author pronouncing his own name

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (chih-muh-MAHN-duh en-GOH-zee ah-DEECH-ee-ay)
BookBrowse.com, verified by the publisher
"The 'ay' is soft, not quite a diphthong."

Isabel Allende (ah-YEN-day)
National Library Service, verified by listening to Chilean radio

Maya Angelou (MY-uh AN-juh-loh)
TalkingBooks

Jean Anouilh (zhahn anooy)
Wikipedia

Avi (AH-vee)
TalkingBooks

Mary Balogh (BA-log)
This interview with the author
she says it rhymes with "Kellogg", but then doesn't quite rhyme it with Kellogg....anyway, the "g" is pronounced

Roland Barthes (roh-LAHN bart)
standard French pronunciation

Sarah Ban Breathnach (bon brannock)
BookBrowse

Chris Bohjalian (bo-jale-yen)
BookBrowse.com; does anyone have a better source?

Jorge Luis Borges (BOR-hayss)
Merriam-Webster

Ann Brashares (brah-SHARES)
TalkingBooks

John Buchan (BUH-kun, or if you're Scottish, BUH-khhun)
Merriam-Webster

Meg Cabot (rhymes with "habit")
TalkingBooks

Albert Camus (ahl-BEHR kah-MOO)
standard French pronunciation

Michael Chabon (SHAY-bon)
New York Times

C. J. Cherryh (like "cherry")
National Library Service

Pema Chodron (PEH-muh CHOH-drun)
This video interview with Oprah Winfrey
(thanks to our customer who pointed out that the National Library Service has the wrong pronunciation!)

Paulo Coelho (POW-loo KWEH-lyoo)
standard Portuguese pronunciation from Wikipedia

J. M. Coetzee (KOOT see, first syllable rhymes with "foot"; this is the author's preferred pronunciation)
BBC

Eoin Colfer (first name like "Owen")
His website

Robert Crais (rhymes with "grace")
National Library Service

Michael Crichton (KRY-tun)
National Library Service

Junot Diaz (JOO-no DEE-as)
BookBrowse, verified by the publisher

Cory Doctorow (DOC-tuh-roh)
TalkingBooks

John Donne (dun)
Merriam-Webster

W. E. B. Du Bois (duh BOYCE)
National Library Service

Andre Dubus (du-BYOOS)
National Library Service

Jeffrey Eugenides (yoo-JIN-ee-dees)
The Houston Chronicle, as reproduced on this blog

Richard Feynman (FINE-man)
Merriam-Webster

Ken Follett (rhymes with "wallet")
The author's website

Cornelia Funke (FUN-kuh, kinda)
TeachingBooks

Diana Gabaldon (English pronunciation: GAB-uhl-dohn, last syllable rhymes with "stone")
The author's website

Neil Gaiman (GAY-mun, rhymes with "Cayman" as in the islands)
TeachingBooks

Johann Wolfgang Goethe (YO-hahn VULF-gahng GUH-tuh)
National Library Service
Note that the first syllable in "Goethe" does NOT have an "r" in it. The actual German vowel is not found in English; it does sound a little bit like "ur" to our ears. Hear it spoken out loud on Howjsay.com

Elizabeth Goudge (last name rhymes with "rouge")
National Library Service

Seamus Heaney (SHAY-muss HEE-nee)
New York Times

Robert Heinlein (like "hine line")
National Library Service

Carl Hiaasen (HY-uh-sen)
New York Times
(see correction at the bottom)

Brian Jacques (like "jakes")
The author's website

Erica Jong (zhong)
This interview with the author

Carl Jung (yoong, with the vowel as in "book")
standard German pronunciation

Jack Kerouac (like "care uh wack")
Merriam-Webster

Lisa Kleypas (like KLY pus)
This interview with the author

John Le Carré (luh kah-RAY)
Merriam-Webster

Fritz Leiber (LYE-bur)
The introduction to his Selected Stories

John Lescroart (les-KWAH)
National Library Service

Jonathan Lethem (LEE-thum)
Syntax of Things

Debbie Macomber (may-cumber, rhymes with cucumber)
Her assistant, as quoted on Goodreads (message #8)

Peter Matthiessen (MATH-uh-sun)
Random House Dictionary

Caroline Myss (mace)
Wikipedia

Vladimir Nabokov (vlah-DEE-mir nuh-BOH-koff)
An interview with the author

Kenneth Oppel (same as the gem "opal")
TalkingBooks

Chuck Palahniuk (like "Paula nick")
USA Today

Christopher Paolini (pow-LEE-nee)
TalkingBooks

Orhan Pamuk (or-HAHN pah-MOOK)
Inogolo (can anyone confirm?)

Samuel Pepys (peeps)
Merriam-Webster

Jodi Picoult (pee KO)
National Library Service

Tamora Pierce (rhymes with "camera")
TalkingBooks

Annie Proulx (proo)
National Library Service

Thomas Pynchon (PIN-chun)
Merriam-Webster

Ayn Rand (first name rhymes with "mine")
National Library Service

Mary Renault (REN-olt)
Mary Renault: A Biography, as cited on Wikipedia

Rainer Maria Rilke (RY-nur mah-REE-uh RILL-kuh)
National Library Service

Rick Riordan (RY-ur-dun)
TalkingBooks

J. K. Rowling (like "rolling")
Merriam-Webster

Louis Sachar (rhymes with "cracker")
TalkingBooks

Jon Scieszka (SHES-kuh)
National Library Service

Shel Silverstein (SIL-ver-steen)
National Library Service

Donald J. Sobol (SO-bull)
TalkingBooks

Henry David Thoreau (like "thorough")
Sidebar on this article from NPR

Paul Theroux (thuh-ROO)
Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature, as cited on The Millions

J. R. R. Tolkein (TOLL-keen)
The Return of The Shadow, as cited on Wikipedia

Abraham Vergese (like "vur GEESE")
National Library Service

Penny Vincenzi (VIN-shun-zee)
National Library Service

Evelyn Waugh (EVE-lin wah)
National Library Service

Jennifer Weiner (WY-nur)
The author's blog

Elie Wiesel (elly vee-ZELL)
National Library Service

P. G. Wodehouse (like "woodhouse")
Merriam-Webster

Herman Wouk (like "woke")
American Heritage Dictionary

Patricia C. Wrede (REE-dee)
The National Library Service

And if you can't find what you're looking for here, you might want to try:
TalkingBooks (worth browsing just for fun!)
The National Library Service
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary

22 comments:

  1. The surname Gabaldon is pronounced Ga-bal-DON, accent on the last syllable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Though that is the original pronunciation, she does not say it that way: http://www.dianagabaldon.com/about-diana/

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