How to pronounce your favorite director's name

Discuss films and filmmakers of the 20th century (and even a little of the 19th century). Threads may contain spoilers.
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denti alligator
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#1 Post by denti alligator » Wed Jan 03, 2007 11:57 pm

Let's not kid ourselves, we mess this up a lot.

Of course there are the names that exist in Anglicized versions: Lang, Murnau, Herzog come to mind. But what about Naruse? Erice? (listening to the docus on the CC disc didn't help)

I'm sure others will step up and plead ignorance, and then the native or near-native speakers can help us all sound better when we're chatting with out film snob friends.

I'll start by pointing out that Marguerite Duras (filmmaker, author) is pronounced with an s: du*- rahss. (*that's a French u, with no equivalent in English: pucker lips and speak "u"--the sound, not the letter).
Last edited by denti alligator on Thu Jan 04, 2007 12:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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domino harvey
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#2 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jan 04, 2007 12:15 am

gotta remember to do the tongue roll on Von Stroheim

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#3 Post by emcflat » Thu Jan 04, 2007 12:38 am

Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

Anybody?

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#4 Post by denti alligator » Thu Jan 04, 2007 12:48 am

domino harvey wrote:gotta remember to do the tongue roll on Von Stroheim
No tongue roll! The "r" has to be in the back of the throat, but without sounding like you're coughing up something. And remember: it's "sHtro-heim," not "stro-heim."

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#5 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jan 04, 2007 12:57 am

I want my tuition back, I was basing that on my professor's pronunciation.

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Michael Kerpan
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#6 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Jan 04, 2007 1:10 am

More or less....

Ozu == OH zoo

Naruse == NAH rue seh (Nah being the accented syllable)

Mizoguchi == mih ZOE guh chee (or -- also heard -- mih ZOHg chee) not MIH zoe GOO chee (as we say in the US)

Kurosawa == kuh ROE sah wah (not KOO roe SAH wuh)

Miyazaki == mee YAH zah kee (not MEE yuh ZAH kee)

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#7 Post by Cinesimilitude » Thu Jan 04, 2007 1:12 am

I've always been excellent with pronunciation, but could I get some help with Carl Th. Dreyer?

specifically the Th. and the Dreyer? is it a Th with an eo or ao, or more along the lines of Tay-o-dor phonetically.

and for the last name are we saying it like a household appliance or not?

thanks.

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#8 Post by justeleblanc » Thu Jan 04, 2007 1:30 am

A running database may not be a bad idea.

Bunuel? Is it Boon-well? Robert Osbourne says otherwise.

Eric Rohmer..... elh-REEK row-MEh?

Michael Haneke... is it really Hannukah?

Wong Kar Wai... What's his last name and why does the order keep changing? Are the w's pronounced as w's? Is it Vim Venders?

Breillat.... Bray-LAH?

I wonder how much time it would be to set up a chart.

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#9 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jan 04, 2007 1:31 am

I seem to remember ol Casper on the Passion of Joan of Arc commentary pronouncing it Carl Theodore Dryer, but my cred's already been shot in this thread

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#10 Post by miless » Thu Jan 04, 2007 1:56 am

justeleblanc wrote:Bunuel? Is it Boon-well? Robert Osbourne says otherwise. Is it Vim Venders?
from what I know, Buñuel would be Boon-you-ell (as an ñ gives an n-y sound when pronounced)

and yes, it is "Vim Venders"

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#11 Post by toiletduck! » Thu Jan 04, 2007 2:14 am

miless wrote:from what I know, Buñuel would be Boon-you-ell (as an ñ gives an n-y sound when pronounced)
Anyone feel free to correct me, but I believe the n-y sound would be extremely subtle, to the point where Boon-well would be closer to correct than giving 'you' its own syllable. I don't know how to phonetically spell that, though.

-Toilet Dcuk

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#12 Post by Cinesimilitude » Thu Jan 04, 2007 2:24 am

bun-well (where the u is french and said with puckered lips as decribed in the first post in this thread) is how I've always said it. so phonetically it'd be boonwell... or maybe poonwell, which I think he'd prefer.

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#13 Post by miless » Thu Jan 04, 2007 2:25 am

toiletduck! wrote:
miless wrote:from what I know, Buñuel would be Boon-you-ell (as an ñ gives an n-y sound when pronounced)
Anyone feel free to correct me, but I believe the n-y sound would be extremely subtle, to the point where Boon-well would be closer to correct than giving 'you' its own syllable. I don't know how to phonetically spell that, though.
it might not be a full on YOU, but more a yu... meaning it's just a slight u-el after the n

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#14 Post by Ledos » Thu Jan 04, 2007 3:06 am

SncDthMnky wrote:I've always been excellent with pronunciation, but could I get some help with Carl Th. Dreyer?

specifically the Th. and the Dreyer? is it a Th with an eo or ao, or more along the lines of Tay-o-dor phonetically.

and for the last name are we saying it like a household appliance or not?
Dreyer is pretty much straight ahead, but the R is pronounced further back in the throat than what is usual in English, and the name is shorter than the household appliance. Theodor is more along the lines of 'tay-o-dor'. And, as you indicate, there is no th-sound, just a straight T. Often his middle name is just given as the two letters pronounced separately: 'Carl T-H Dreyer'.

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Derek Estes
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#15 Post by Derek Estes » Thu Jan 04, 2007 3:13 am

So, Pedro Almodovar.
Almo-Doe-var?
Al-Moe-dovar?
Other?

I hear them both so much I can't remember what used to think it was.

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#16 Post by Highway 61 » Thu Jan 04, 2007 3:43 am

It's the former, if my native Spanish speaking friend isn't messing with me that is.

Krzysztof Kieslowski I've heard two different pronounciations of. A friend of mine whose parents are Poles who immigrated to America told me to pronounce it: "Cush-toph Kyaysh-whoav-shki." My native-speaking French teacher who also knows some Polish told me it's: "Cush-toph Kees-whoav-shki." Also, Andrezj Wajda is supposedly "Ahnd-jay Vida"

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#17 Post by Feast on me » Thu Jan 04, 2007 3:51 am

Luis Buñuel

lou-ease Boo-nyou-L

It's a bit different, but i cant find an English sound for the 'el', so just like the letter "L", very small and almost insignificant difference.

I'm from México, so I'm telling you the Spanish way of saying it, still the ñ is a difficult sound to figure.

If you have the Viridiana or Discreet Charm DVDs you can hear how Spanish or Mexican actors say his name in the documentaries and interviews, the easiest one to hear is Silvia Pinal in the Viridiana interview.

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#18 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Thu Jan 04, 2007 4:07 am

emcflat wrote:Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

Anybody?
Ah-pee-chart-pong Weer-uh-sayt-ah-koon seems to be a decent approximation. The "r" in his first name might be a soft "r," I'm not sure. Just stick with "Joe."
justeleblanc wrote:Wong Kar Wai... What's his last name and why does the order keep changing? Are the w's pronounced as w's?
The w's are pronounced as w's, not v's. I'm not sure what you mean by "why does the order keep changing," but if you mean "Kar-wai Wong" (as the IMDb has it) or something similar, that's because some writers reshuffle Chinese names so as to follow a given name-family name order. Wong is his family name.

Okay, here's mine: Wisit Sasanatieng. Please?

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#19 Post by Feast on me » Thu Jan 04, 2007 4:28 am

Derek Estes wrote:So, Pedro Almodovar.
You can say it like Pay-dro Al-Moe-doh-bar and it would be fine, but to get the correct sounds the syllables are the same but it's a bit more difficult.

This will be weird, so i hope you can follow me.

Pe (Like Penn minus the nn) -dr (like drop without the op) o (like oh but without the u sound at the end)

Al (like Ahh then an L sound like leech but just the L sound) -mo (like moe but without the last u sound) -do (like door without the r sound) -ba (like scuba but just the ba sound at the end) r (just a medium arr sound)

This may be too confusing, so I apologize beforehand.

Really the best way would be to record an mp3 and share it here. If you get all the names of the directors from Spain, México or any Latin-American country you are interested in I could do it, but I would wish to do this in one sitting and not have to record a new file every time a new name comes up. So make a substantial list and I will do it.

Some ideas:
Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu
Guillermo Del Toro
Alfonso Cuaron
Buñuel
Almodovar
Alejandro Jodorowsky (though his last name is not of Spanish origin, thus i would only tell you how he is called in Latin America)

Just remember that they speak Portuguese in Brazil, so i can't totally help you there, even though pronunciation is similar.

When i see a substantial number (say, 15 or more names) I will post the mp3 as soon as i can, since i don't enter college until the 15th of January. After that it may be more difficult to find the time

Hope I can help.

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#20 Post by nyasa » Thu Jan 04, 2007 5:27 am

In years gone by, when I was a contributor to the, um, other forum, I started a thread that encompassed this very topic.

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#21 Post by wiljan » Thu Jan 04, 2007 5:49 am

justeleblanc wrote:Eric Rohmer..... elh-REEK row-MEh?
At DVDBeaver they got some french guy on wav that pronounces his name: here

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#22 Post by Jun-Dai » Thu Jan 04, 2007 5:54 am

Wong Kar Wai
I certainly can't pronounce it the way it's supposed to be pronounced, and if I could, I wouldn't be able to articulate it in writing in English letters in any way that would be sensible (as people have been trying to do with some, er, easier? names). If you want to know how to pronounce it correctly, you have to find someone that speaks Cantonese and get them to work you through it slowly. Then, having accomplished that, no one in either language will have any clue what you're talking about. In any case, the wai seems closer to wei than wai, and the kar seems somewhat closer to ga than kar, but none of these really come that close, if my attempts at mispronouncing it and being understood have been any indication.

Also, I'd always pronounced Jules Dassin as though it were French only to find out that the proper way to pronounce it is apparently the same way that one would if it weren't a French name.

I'd also like to add to Kerpan's post: the r's are flipped, almost exactly halfway between an English r and an English l (you could as effectively transliterate Naruse as Naluse--they are about equally far off--but that would definitely deviate from standard pronunciation). Also, it's an odd thing but Chinese names are usually family name first, whereas Japanese names are usually family name last. An exception is when the "given" name being used is a Western one, e.g., Maggie Cheung.

Another point about the Japanese names: the vowels don't wobble around the way that English, especially American English, ones do. When you say Ozu, for example, the o is the same all the way through. It's pretty similar to the o sound of the letter o in gold at the midpoint of pronouncing it. And all Japanese os sound like that. The u is pretty close to the u sound you make halfway through the ew in lewd, and all Japanese us are like that (unless they are silent). The i is like the opening of evil. The a is like the a in large, but towards the beginning, just after you've left the l, and way before you've started to come round to the r. The e is something like the midpoint in let.

Not sure how much that helps, but once you get the pronunciation down, Japanese names are pretty easy and almost consistent. You can't always tell where the stresses are, but they are far more subtle than the stresses in English (and many Japanese people will tell you that their language has no accented syllables), and they will even vary somewhat from Japanese speaker to Japanese speaker. The worst of the pronunciation coming from American English is in the vowels and the r/l sound, though f isn't too far behind (it's closer to an English f than an English h, though it's near halfway in-between).

Also, one of the nice things about Spanish is that the accent marks are given for non-standard accentations, and Pedro Almodóvar is a wonderful example. Normally you would accent Almodovar, but the diacritic indicates that it is supposed to be Almodóvar.

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#23 Post by Tommaso » Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:46 am

Where do you put the stresses in "Masaki Kobayashi"?

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#24 Post by Le Feu Follet » Thu Jan 04, 2007 9:14 am

I don't try to pronounce it, I just say 'HHH'.

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#25 Post by justeleblanc » Thu Jan 04, 2007 9:36 am

wiljan wrote:
justeleblanc wrote:Eric Rohmer..... elh-REEK row-MEh?
At DVDBeaver they got some french guy on wav that pronounces his name: here
I keep listening to it over and over again and I still can't recreate it. I feel like I'm in a Jerry Lewis film.

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