Thursday, February 3, 2011

Famous Author Pronunciation Guide

Posted By on Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 11:27 AM

I can still feel the flush of crimson that spread across my cheeks in high school when, trying to flash my literary fangs, I asked my German-speaking friend: “Have you read any Goethe?” (Pronounced “loathe” but with a "g.")

He chortled, wasting no time informing me that the author’s name was, in fact, pronounced “Goo-tah.” And, yes, of course he had read him.

Uber fail.

Well, now, those pronunciation perversions are nearly avoidable. Jem Wierenga, owner of the Hyde Park Bookstore and BW contributor, has compiled an easy-to-use famous author audio pronunciation guide on his store’s blog. With studied precision, Wierenga correctly enunciates names like J.M. Coetzee, Vladimir Nabokov, Marcel Proust and, perhaps the most oft-botched philosopher's name in freshman dorms: Friedrich Nietzsche.

Now if Jem would just give us a guide to pronouncing his last name ...

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