Frustrated with pronunciation in Lord of the Rings/Tolkien's work

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Luc, Jul 16, 2002.

  1. Luc

    Luc Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, I've finished reading lord of the rings and got through the names the best that I could, sounding them out the way it's spelled. But everytime when having a discussion with someone, names come up and they pronounce it differently. First off, I'm not good with pronunciation of names as is, adding on to that Tolkien's pronunciation rules are different (e.g. Celeborn is pronounce as Keleborn, Cirdan is Kirdan). As I understand it from the experts of Tolkien language, even the film made errors in pronunciation.

    Now I'm reading Silmarillion and what really preventing me from enjoying the book and finishing it are the names.

    I'm looking for a guide to pronounce names. I spent some time looking through the net and all I get are loads of information about Tolkien's language, pronunciation guide that pretty much teach you his language, but I can't find a list of Lord of the Rings/ Silmarillion names and pronunciation of them. I don't want to spend hours learning his language. I just want to be able to get through the books with a close pronunciation of some of the names/places. Can anyone help? I hate to go through reading cirith Ungol and later someone tell me that it's pronounce Kirith Ungol.

    I have complete guide to middle earth, atlas of middle earth and none have a names/places pronunciation guide.

    Here's some maybe some of you can help off the bat.

    Eomer/Eowyn (' on top of the e)
    Amon Lhaw
    Anduril (' on top of U)
    Anorien (' on top of o)
    Rohirrim
    Manwe (there are two dots on top of the e)
    Smeagol (' mark on top of e)
    Denethor

    I guess I could go on going through the books but I'll top here. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Leo Hinze

    Leo Hinze Stunt Coordinator

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    There is some very useful information at the end of Return of the King. I know that Tolkien explains how to pronounce Elvish, and I'm pretty sure he explains other languages, too, although it's been a while since I read the appendices.
     
  3. Danny R

    Danny R Supporting Actor

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    I believe most of the accents mean to use the long form of the vowel.
    In the case of Eomer/Eowyn, the EO is a diphthong also representing the long sound of both vowels. So they would sound something like YO-mer, YO-win I believe.
    LH represents a softer form of the L sound, as in the prefix "sl-" and is not the harder L found in "let"
    Two dots at the end of a final "e" indicates that it is not silent, as you might find in an english word.
    As indicated above, the E and F appendix of Return of the King have lots of info about how to pronounce words.
     
  4. Bill Catherall

    Bill Catherall Screenwriter

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    Luc - I've experienced the same frustration. I just finished Return of the King and throughout my readings I tried using the pronounciation appendex, but found it somewhat useless. It's just not clear enough (for me at least).
    I too just want a run-down of each name and place. As in:
    Sauron SOW-RON
    Eomer YO-MER or EH-O-MER
    (or whatever they are, I still don't know.)
     
  5. Luc

    Luc Stunt Coordinator

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    YO-mer and YO-win.
    Thank goodness you've told me that or else when I see TTT, I'm like who the hell is YO-mer?
    I just looked at the appendix and find it's no more useful than the websites I found. Yes, it can be useful if I take some time and learn it but all I want to do is be able to pronounce some names. Me not a diehard Tolkien fan [​IMG] and am not interesting in learning a fictional language.
     
  6. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    Learning how to pronounce the letters is quite simple. Much easier than English where there are so many rules and rule exceptions. And that is the real problem. You have English pronunciation rules stuck in your head.

    Most Tolkien names and places have straightforward pronunciations unless there are 2+ vowels next to eachother. That's the only time it gets complicated. But the appendices tell you exactly how those are pronounced too.
     
  7. Ron Etaylor

    Ron Etaylor Second Unit

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    I'm not even sure how to pronounce Tolkien. "Toll-kin", "Toll-Kee-In"? "Toll-kyen"?
     
  8. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Although his was originally a German name, Tolkein himself always pronounced it approximately "Tuhl-kin"
    As for pronouncing things correctly to yourself as you're reading a book, who cares. Read and enjoy the book, pronounce the names any way you like. (Or don't "pronounce" them at all. I've read translations of foreign works that left the character names intact, and I just learn to recognize the "shape" of a given name on the page and read it "silently" - or arbitrarily assign a name like "Jones" to it and read merrily on.)
    Granted, if I plan to discuss a work I will try to learn to pronounce things correctly, or I'll frankly tell the people I'm talking with that I don't know how to pronounce a character's name and ask how they pronounce it. If you found Eomer pronounced "Yo-mer" in the film version of The Two Towers you might be surprised, but you certainly wouldn't be confused about which character he was. That would be clear from the context - and you'd have learned the pronounciation by watching the film.
    But I can't imagine the issue ever spoiling my enjoyment of a good read. Maybe I'm just not anal enough. [​IMG]
    Regards,
    Joe
     
  9. Luc

    Luc Stunt Coordinator

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  10. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    I still prefer Smog to Smowg [​IMG] It just souds more dragony
     
  11. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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  12. Luc

    Luc Stunt Coordinator

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