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Harry Potter Pronunciations

I've decided that I'm going to pronounce "Hermione", "HER-mon-ee". That sounds the best. It's a bit like "harmony" and I could open up that first vowel just a bit. I went to school with twin girls named Melodie and Harmonie. Both of them kicked tremendous ass on the piano.

I'll keep a lookout for where she talks about this in The Goblet of Fire. I didn't think "her-mee-OWN" was right, but I didn't know what to do with all the extra vowels... =P I didn't like the way "her-my-OWN-knee" sounded either.

And it's slitherin' and kidditch. What else? HAY-grid and loo-PAN (I knew he was a werewolf as soon as they said his name on the train).


Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
ntang
Dec. 17th, 2001 10:10 pm (UTC)
I like qwidditch better... and Hah-grid, not hay-grid. Actually when he says it himself I pronounce it "ah-grid" as I picture him with an accent like that where he drops the H sound, sort of a scottish/cockney mix, full of bluster and dropped h's and rolled r's, very big and full sounding.

The problem with Hermione pronounced her-mon-ee is that it seems to ignore all precedent. I can't think of any other words or names that are spelled and pronouned in that way. Anyways, Harmony (or Harmonie or whatever) is a cheesy name. ;)
bride
Dec. 18th, 2001 09:53 am (UTC)
Re: ignoring precedent

Yeah, but this is before I've heard it for myself though... I'll see what the movie says. I wish I could see the IPA transcription of how JKR says everything.

The problem with all of these pronunciations that people are posting is that not everyone can hear all the sounds that are contained in words even if it's their native language (sometimes it's especially because it's their native language that they can't tell different sounds apart).

I took a Phonetic Transcription course (transcribing in the IPA standard all the sounds that make up words in languages that we specifically did not understand). I took it with special permission because it was a 4th year course reserved for Linguistics Majors. It was a real eye-opener because I always knew I had an affinity for hearing "how to make sounds in different languages". It amazed me that people Just. Couldn't. Hear. It. and that's where accents come from.
ntang
Dec. 18th, 2001 10:13 am (UTC)
Re:
I haven't seen the movie, or heard her read it, so this is before I've heard it for myself, too. :) The only person I've heard say those names are myself, when reading to my son.

The precedent I was referring to was just in names/languages up until this point. Specifically, the spelling of it reminds me of greek names; if it was based off of (or was a) greek name it would likely be pronounced something like what I wrote earlier.

"not everyone can hear all the sounds that are contained in words"

I wonder how much of it is a case of people being unable to hear the sounds, and how much is just a case of people not caring enough to hear them? It's easier to slur words, to let them run together, to adopt an accent than it is to actually take the time and effort to pronounce everything correctly. It's also easier just emulating what you've heard, or guessing at a simplistic pronunciation, than it is to actually learn the correct way to say many words/names/etc.

So while I have no trouble believing that you are more discerning than the average person, I wonder if most people don't "handicap" themselves even further through sheer laziness. People are stupid that way.
bride
Dec. 18th, 2001 10:39 am (UTC)
how much is just a case of people not caring enough to hear them?

Of course it's easier to speak in terms of your own native phonetic inventory. But I'd say only part of that laziness comes from a lack of respect for others. Part of it is that it takes at least a couple thousand repetitions in different examples, of hearing a sound that's not in your native phonetic inventory to re-learn how to recognize it. And you can't practice listening for it for more than about 1 hour at a time or you'll lose it. It's very very hard to re-learn to recognize a sound that you were never consciously aware of.

The best English example is the glottal stop. Are you aware that the word "apple" actually begins with a consonant when you say it? Most people aren't. We were never taught to distinguish between ['apple] with a glottal stop amd [apple] without a glottal stop. And even if people heard the different pronunciations side by side, they would tell you that it was the exact same pronunciation.

All the languages in the world put together do not completely cover all the sounds a human vocal system can make. And given that not everyone finds it easy or interesting to sit there listening to someone droning "apple" a thousand times, heavy accents are understandable.
ntang
Dec. 18th, 2001 11:13 am (UTC)
Re:
Well... ok, being that I've been up since 1 am I think I'm not representing myself quite as well as I want to.... :)

I'm not blaming accents on laziness - as you mentioned, people do have a native phonetic inventory. If all of your family and friends and neighbors pronounce something one way, it's not an accent to you, it is the correct way of pronouncing it, by your frame of reference, and I think that's important to stress.

I'm not arguing that people sticking to their frame of reference is wrong or even lazy, I'm saying that I think that the laziness (or carelessness or whatever) can be seen when someone is presented with a new, foreign word and renders it in their own terms rather than learn the other way of pronouncing it, as one example.

Regarding the glottal stop (which I will freely admit I had never even heard of before, but a quick trip to google corrected that) - nope, I wasn't aware of it, and don't remember having seen anything like that in any dictionary entry's pronunciation guide, although that could just be my memory at fault. However, I'm willing to bet most people don't pronounce it with a glottal stop, most people have no idea what a glottal stop is, or that apple has one in front (or if it doesn't and that was just a hypothetical case, whatever), but that's ok with me - you can only be mindful of something that you're conscious of.

It's that mindfulness - or lack thereof - that bothers me. Being ignorant of the correct pronunciation, or how the pronunciation scheme works, because you've never been exposed to it, is one thing. Being informed and too lazy to "do the right thing" is another, and that was what I was criticizing in my earlier reply.

In other words: even if presented with the glottal stop, even if given the opportunity to learn how to distinguish and recognize it, most people wouldn't, because they couldn't be bothered.

Anyways... I'm losing coherence by the moment, so don't mind me. ;) Maybe after some sleep I'll make more sense, but at this point I'm barely making sense to me let alone anyone else. :)
bride
Dec. 18th, 2001 12:21 pm (UTC)
It's that mindfulness - or lack thereof - that bothers me. Being ignorant of the correct pronunciation, or how the pronunciation scheme works, because you've never been exposed to it, is one thing. Being informed and too lazy to "do the right thing" is another, and that was what I was criticizing in my earlier reply.

That I agree with. I hate it when people go, "whatever..." when they're corrected. ={

Re: glottal stop

It's the opposite, we almost always pronounce the glottal stop and we're unaware when someone drops it. But you're absolutely right that most people can't be bothered because it doesn't make a difference in English, there's no meaning attached to the sound - this is exactly why the Japanese can't tell 'r' from 'l'. If the sound makes a difference in the meaning ("election" versus "erection"), you bet people would know it. =D

You're also absolutely right that even when they should learn the difference, people don't.
mayna
Dec. 18th, 2001 06:37 am (UTC)
Well in the movie (which JKR supervised) it's pronounced kwidditch... I'd been pronouncing it kidditch and when Bill & I were talking about the books he said he thinks it is kwidditch and that was the first time it'd even crossed my mind that it could be anything but kidditch :-) but I'm glad I"m not the only one!

I think I've been pronouncing Hagrid and Lupin the same as you. I've got a French background in school. And Lupin is SO OBVIOUS that it's derived from something dog-related so it's a pretty obvious guess that he's a werewolf, I thought, at least. I doubt most kids would get the reference.

I think that the herm-o-nee must be the way it sounds when it's pronounced quickly in a british accent. Maybe it's like Louisville... pronounced "low-vull" by the locals. (I don't even think that's totally correct. I always pronounce it loo-ee-vill, but the closer you drive to Louisville (Kentucky) the less and less you'll see anyone pronouncing it like that!)

How about Belle Fontaine, Ohio? (bell fountain is how the locals pronounce it). Or Milan, Ohio (not MEE-lahn, but MIE-lun).

There is also Wooster Street in Bowling Green, Ohio, and Wooster, Ohio. Wooster Street is "WOO-ster" and the city is "wusster" (u as in book). People who live in Wooster get all up in arms if you pronounce their town WOO-ster. :-)

I think some Canadian pronounciations are funny. Like "drama"... the Canadians I've met pronounce it with a short a to rhyme with cram. Americans pronounce it "drah-mah" (but you probably knew that).
bride
Dec. 18th, 2001 01:55 pm (UTC)
I pronounce it drah-ma too. I think there's a difference between East coast and West coast pronunciations too. =)
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