Brigid Daull Brockway is technically a writer

Brigid Daull Brockway is technically a writer

A blog about words, wordplay, and etymology, with slightly more than occasional political rants.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Lost in translation: vowel edition

I've bee pronouncing Björk wrong. Turns out. Apparently that umlaut makes the o into an e, so it's pronounced b-y-erk (bjɜrk). 
I may be saying her name wrong,
but she is using swans wrong, and that's the real crime.
Another word I pronounced incorrectly for an embarrassingly long time is Phở. Pho, otherwise known (in my house) as soup of the gods, is a Vietnamese soup, and it's supposed to be pronounced like phah
I recently heard that oolong tea is pronounced wulong, but I'm not sold on that one. As some posters point out on this site, it's not really pronounced exactly like oolong or wulong, it's Chinese, so no matter how you pronounce it, you're probably pronouncing it wrong (also, apparently there are oolong discussion forums with boards devoted entirely to the pronunciation thereof).
Tolkien. Seems the second syllable is stressed and pronounced like a long e. I know this, but intentionally pronounce it with the short i sound because it doesn't feel right in my mouth and it makes people look at me like I'm some sort of geek poser who doesn't even know how to pronounce the name of the guy who wrote our Bible. 
Seuss. I just found this out on Mental Floss. Seems a friend of the good doctor made up a rhyme to demonstrate the correct pronunciation: 
"You’re wrong as the deuce/And you shouldn’t rejoice/

If you’re calling him Seuss/He pronounces it Soice"
Also, while it's okay to pronounce fungi with a long i at the end, in Latin, the word would be pronounced with a long e sound - fungee. Why? Well because ae makes the long i sound, silly. Also, I have no idea how we know how any Latin words are actually pronounced, what with all its original speakers being dead. 

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