"The only things you regret are the things you didn't do.” - Michael Curtiz

Pronunciation Guide

Moderators: Lzcutter, Sue Sue Applegate, movieman1957, moira finnie

User avatar
The Ingenue
Posts: 194
Joined: May 9th, 2008, 12:54 am
Contact:

Pronunciation Guide

Postby The Ingenue » July 28th, 2008, 12:36 pm

A while back on the TCM message boards, someone started a thread about the correct pronunciation of the names we see in classic movie credits. (I can't remember who authored that topic, but they certainly had a good idea.) I wonder if we could have such a thread here so I wouldn't have to go back Over There to look for it.

Several names I've struggled with are...
    Franchot (-ought or -oh?) Tone
    Mahlon Hamilton
    Frank Borzage
    Freida Inescourt
    Ann Dvorak
    Deborah Kerr

User avatar
movieman1957
Administrator
Posts: 5463
Joined: April 15th, 2007, 3:50 pm
Location: MD

Postby movieman1957 » July 28th, 2008, 12:43 pm

Of what I have heard -

Franch-ought Tone
Frank Bor-say-ge (hard "G")
Ann D-vor-ak (not like the famous composer)
Deborah "Car"

Some may have heard different. I hope they'll chime in for you.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

User avatar
knitwit45
Posts: 4720
Joined: May 4th, 2007, 9:33 pm
Location: Gardner, KS

Postby knitwit45 » July 28th, 2008, 2:10 pm

I thought it was Ann D'vor shak. I think that's wrong, too, its not like it's spelled. Come on, Judith, inform us !!!!
"Life is not the way it's supposed to be.. It's the way it is..
The way we cope with it, is what makes the difference." ~ Virginia Satir
""Most people pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it." ~ Soren Kierkegaard

jdb1

Postby jdb1 » July 28th, 2008, 3:12 pm

Good question.

I'm sure I've read, but of course can't remember where, that the name was thought up by her studio, based on the name of the Czech composer, whose name is pronounced "D'vore-zhak." It was supposed to sound "different" and "exotic" (her real name was McKim), but it was intended to be pronounced just like it looks: D'vore-ak.

On the other hand, I've also read that Dvorak was her mother's maiden, or family name, her mother being Austrian-born actress Anna Lehr. So who knows? My recollection is that Ann Dvorak said somewhere that she didn't particularly care for the name, especially because it was hard to figure out and confused the public.

Maybe someone else here is better-read on the subject. Since I can barely remember things I read yesterday, maybe I should go back and re-read all the Hollywood books I've ever read. That activity should take me one or two decades forward into my retirement.

User avatar
movieman1957
Administrator
Posts: 5463
Joined: April 15th, 2007, 3:50 pm
Location: MD

Postby movieman1957 » July 28th, 2008, 3:24 pm

Nancy:

I thought Ann's name was pronounced like Antonin's but either other's didn't know how to pronounce it or it became Americanized. I have not heard a lot of people pronounce it though.

I thought Joe did a Spotlight on her but it doesn't seem to be here.
Last edited by movieman1957 on July 28th, 2008, 3:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

User avatar
knitwit45
Posts: 4720
Joined: May 4th, 2007, 9:33 pm
Location: Gardner, KS

Postby knitwit45 » July 28th, 2008, 3:46 pm

Miss G, when Dvorak was asked how to say her name, she told The Literary Digest: "My name is properly pronounced vor'shack. The D remains silent. I have had quite a time with the name, having been called practically everything from Balzac to Bickelsrock."


That quote was taken from Joe's "In the Spotlight" Over There....May 31, 2007.
"Life is not the way it's supposed to be.. It's the way it is..
The way we cope with it, is what makes the difference." ~ Virginia Satir
""Most people pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it." ~ Soren Kierkegaard

jdb1

Postby jdb1 » July 28th, 2008, 4:15 pm

Now, see, I'm sure I've read something completely different purporting to be a quote from the lady herself, saying that it should be pronounced as written.

As Chico Marx so succinctly put it: "Who you gonna believe? Me, or you' own eyes?"

Perhaps Miss D. changed the pronunciation around as the mood struck her. Or perhaps the whole thing's a crock. I'm thinking of the "Joan Crawford/Joanne Crawford" stories: some versions say that a fan made up the name "Joanne Crawford," and some versions say that Crawford herself merely mispronounced her new name "Joan" as "Joanne."

So --- who you gonna believe? I say, absent a definitive answer, pronounce Ann Dvorak any way you like.

Do you know the Monty Python sketch on the subject? "My name is spelled "Luxury-Yacht," but it's pronounced "Throat-Warbler-Mangrove." We should ask our British members how they might pronounce "Charmondeley" or "Featherstonehough."

User avatar
knitwit45
Posts: 4720
Joined: May 4th, 2007, 9:33 pm
Location: Gardner, KS

Postby knitwit45 » July 28th, 2008, 8:40 pm

Miss J, I will forever after think of Ms D. as Ms. "Throat-Warbler-Mangrove." :lol: :lol: :lol:
"Life is not the way it's supposed to be.. It's the way it is..
The way we cope with it, is what makes the difference." ~ Virginia Satir
""Most people pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it." ~ Soren Kierkegaard

User avatar
charliechaplinfan
Posts: 9087
Joined: January 15th, 2008, 9:49 am

Postby charliechaplinfan » July 29th, 2008, 7:13 am

You've got me there......I shall do some research into those names. I think I know how to pronounce them but I'll double check. They are names I would associate with the monied class and not one of the rabble like me :wink:


We had a program some years ago called Dad's Army. The man in charge was Capt. Mainwaring only his name was pronounced Mannering. It doesn't make sense at all :?
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

User avatar
knitwit45
Posts: 4720
Joined: May 4th, 2007, 9:33 pm
Location: Gardner, KS

Postby knitwit45 » July 29th, 2008, 8:20 am

I always thought the character who shows up late in Jane Eyre was Sinjin Rivers. I was really surprised to see it was St.John Rivers.
"Life is not the way it's supposed to be.. It's the way it is..
The way we cope with it, is what makes the difference." ~ Virginia Satir
""Most people pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it." ~ Soren Kierkegaard

jdb1

Postby jdb1 » July 29th, 2008, 8:39 am

My readings and TV watchings indicate that "Charmondeley" is pronounced "Chumley."

I do recall some British mystery novel I read a while back where it was pointed out to the police that someone called "Featherstonehough" pronounced it "Fanshaw." Well, that revelation could have knocked me over with a feather(stonehough). I don' t know - was that for real, or a joke?

And is not the Scots name Menzies, which we in the US would pronounce as written, pronounced "Men-ees" somewhere in the Highlands? There's also the Yorkshire policeman Andy Dalziel, from the excellent detective series by Reg Hill, who laughs at people who don't pronounce his name "Deal," as it should be (and Andy is proud that it's a Scots name).

The one that really gets me is the name Tagliaferro (sometimes spelled Talliaferro) - a good Italian name, which many people here in the US who bear it insist on ponouncing "Tolliver." ?????

User avatar
charliechaplinfan
Posts: 9087
Joined: January 15th, 2008, 9:49 am

Postby charliechaplinfan » July 29th, 2008, 10:34 am

I'd concur for the first two. It sounds ridiculous but unless TV has taken liberties with the pronunciations, that is how I believe they are pronounced.

Menzies as in the Scottish male Christian name is pronounced 'Ming' crazy isn't it. The leader of the Liberal Democrats was called Menzies Campbell, I wonder how many times he has to correct mispronunciation.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

jdb1

Postby jdb1 » July 29th, 2008, 11:58 am

charliechaplinfan wrote:I'd concur for the first two. It sounds ridiculous but unless TV has taken liberties with the pronunciations, that is how I believe they are pronounced.

Menzies as in the Scottish male Christian name is pronounced 'Ming' crazy isn't it. The leader of the Liberal Democrats was called Menzies Campbell, I wonder how many times he has to correct mispronunciation.


"Ming"???? Well, there's one I can't work out linguistically. Was that his given name, or a nickname? I do recall some British TV show where someone called Menzies was correcting everyone who said "Men-zees," saying they should pronounce it "Men-ees." Language is a funny thing, and given names are generally the funniest part.

What really gets me are Irish (that is, Gaelic) surnames, which in many cases are given transliteral English spellings, and are pronounced so completely differently from their spellings that you want to tear your hair out. I think in those cases it may be a question of wanting to set oneself apart. You get a name that looks like "O'Merchealghshomeanfrerch," and they tell you it's pronounced "Maloney." Perhaps a misplaced bit of Celtic Pride in today's semi-literate world.

I still chuckle every time I hear the name of the conductor, James Levine, mentioned; he insists that his last name be pronounced "Le-Vyne." Yeah, right. That doesn't sit very well on Brooklyn ears. If he's that embarassed by his background, why didn't he change it to Featherstonehough?

User avatar
charliechaplinfan
Posts: 9087
Joined: January 15th, 2008, 9:49 am

Postby charliechaplinfan » July 29th, 2008, 3:56 pm

I can't work out 'Ming' either. It baffles me.

Pola Negri, is it Pow-la, Paula, Po-la....foreign names baffle me.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

User avatar
The Ingenue
Posts: 194
Joined: May 9th, 2008, 12:54 am
Contact:

Postby The Ingenue » July 30th, 2008, 12:56 am

I believe it's "oh": Po-la. And, off-topic, I love the quote you have as your signature, charliechaplinfan.

I've just come from www.franchot-tone.com, where the FAQ section includes a bit on how to pronounce his name (they even have a sound clip of the man himself!): "Fran-show" he says.


Return to “Games and Trivia”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest