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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Michael Kerpan
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#26 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:00 am

Tommaso wrote:Where do you put the stresses in "Masaki Kobayashi"?
It seems like most 4 syllable last names have the accent on the second syllable -- see my earlier post -- but I've never heard Kobayashi actually pronounced in Japanese. Probably, Masaki has a first accent syllable (but don't bet real money on this).

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Scharphedin2
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#27 Post by Scharphedin2 » Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:08 am

I have to admit that I threw the towel in the ring on the pronounciation game a long time ago. A Japanese girl I knew tried to teach me to pronounce Ryunosuke Akutagawa, and it sounded something like Lj'n-ske Akt-gauw. After that I rolled over and accepted to be a "gaijin," although it goes without saying that I can't pronounce that either.

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bunuelian
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#28 Post by bunuelian » Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:22 am

Jodorowsky always trips me up.

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vogler
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#29 Post by vogler » Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:41 am

I find Eastern European names to be the most difficult. They are often completely different to how the name would be said in English. Please feel free to correct these.

Jan Němec - Yan Nye-metz

Jiří Menzel - Yir-jee Ment-sell (or is it more like Yee-jee Ment-zell or Men-sell?)

Jan Å vankmajer - Yan Shvank-my-er

Walerian Borowczyk - Valerian Bo-rov-chick (or Bo-roff-chick?)

Jan Lenica - Yan Len-eat-za (or Len-it-za?)

Andrzej Wajda - Ahn-dray Vy-duh (And'-tchey Vi'-duh?)

István Szabó - eesht-vahn saw-boh

Wojciech Has - Voy-tek Haas (?)

Věra Chytilova - Ve-ra Hee-ti-low-vuh (But the H is more like a cross between H and the ch sound in the Scottish Loch)

This one is a composer, not a director, but his music has been used in a number of films, notably Kubrick's The shining and Je t'aime, je t'aime by Alain Resnais.
Krzysztof Penderecki - Ksheestov Pen-de-ret-skay (Many say Pen-de-ret-skee but it sounded much more like skay when a Polish man told me, or perhaps like ské would be pronounced in French.)

Alain Resnais - A-lan Re-nay (A-lan with a very soft n sound?)

Jerzy Kawalerowicz - Jurt-see Ka...No chance, anybody know how to say this one?

EDIT: Added diacritics now that I actually know where to find the character map. Well actually I just stole them from MichaelB's post.
Last edited by vogler on Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Cobalt60
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#30 Post by Cobalt60 » Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:57 am

Feast on me wrote: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.
thats how I've been pronoucing it, but I got help from a Mexican co-worker. Also, I have been pronoucing Alexandro Jodorowsky as ALI-HAN-DROW HOR-DOR-OW-SKI. Anyone know if thats even close?

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jon
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#31 Post by jon » Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:44 am

Hou Hsiao Hsien

I can never remember how to spell it, let alone pronounce it. I am imagining that the last two H's are somewhat silent.

Anyone know how?

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#32 Post by mikeohhh » Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:46 am

miless wrote:
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
I always say "boonyell" - no 'u' sound, like Miguel.

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jon
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#33 Post by jon » Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:56 am

A few years ago, my Spanish teacher told me it had a "yu" sound in the middle. That is how I've always pronounced it. I don't think it ihas a very strong sound, almost a half-syllable. But then again, I don't have much to go on.

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denti alligator
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#34 Post by denti alligator » Thu Jan 04, 2007 12:07 pm

The idea of recording mp3 is nice, but won't work. Listening to a native speaker pronounce these names often makes things more confusing (as in Erice on the CC docu). We need an agreed-upon phonetic system that uses familiar English sounds to approximate pronunciation. I don't necessarily want to go around pronouncing these names as if I were a native speaker; I just want to pronounce the right sounds with the right stresses with my English accent.

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jon
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#35 Post by jon » Thu Jan 04, 2007 12:10 pm

I get self-conscious when I try to pronounce a name in its native accent. It sounds silly in the middle of a sentence, so I would a agree.

About that HHH...

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Matt
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#36 Post by Matt » Thu Jan 04, 2007 12:14 pm

jon wrote:About that HHH...
Without getting all "authentic" on it, it's basically just Ho Show ("rhyming with chow") Shen, with equal stress.

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#37 Post by denti alligator » Thu Jan 04, 2007 12:23 pm

justeleblanc wrote:Michael Haneke... is it really Hannukah?
MICH*-ah-ale HAHN-eh-keh

*the German "ch" (as in "ich") is actually a sound that exists in English, and should not be some kind of gutteral "ckh"-sound. It's the same sound you make when pronouncing words that start "hu-" like "human" or "hue." In pronouncing the first syllable of these words your tongue (not its tip, but the mid section) should VERY briefly touch the roof of your mouth while you make a sound that's like a quick thrust of air out. Now I wish I had an mp3 of this...

So: Erice. Anyone?

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#38 Post by Cinephrenic » Thu Jan 04, 2007 12:32 pm

How about Alain Resnais? ........El lane Res nay?

French people help

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#39 Post by bufordsharkley » Thu Jan 04, 2007 12:57 pm

Resnais --> "re - nay."

...A key to remembering: Resnais was a part of what is sometimes called the "Left Bank filmmakers."

The 1960s neo-baroque pop group "The Left Banke" had their biggest hit with "Walk Away Renee." (Phoenetically the same as "Walk Away Resnais.")

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vogler
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#40 Post by vogler » Thu Jan 04, 2007 1:02 pm

mikeohhh wrote:I always say "boonyell" - no 'u' sound, like Miguel.
Like Feast on me said on the previous page the Spanish way to pronounce it is Boo-nyou-el but they may well say it differently in France, Boon-well perhaps? Since Buñuel is Spanish it's definitely the Spanish pronunciation that I go for.

There are all sorts of exceptions to rules of pronunciation so it's not as easy as comparing it to Miguel. I think the G preceeding the U may have something to do with the U being silent in Miguel. It's a long time since I studied Spanish though.
Cinephrenic wrote:How about Alain Resnais? ........El lane Res nay?
I am pretty sure it is A-lan Re-nay (like the first name René). It's definitely not El lane and I'm pretty sure the s in Resnais is silent. I have heard French people say it like this on dvds and elsewhere. Also I think the N on the end of Alain is very soft.
Last edited by vogler on Thu Jan 04, 2007 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous

#41 Post by Anonymous » Thu Jan 04, 2007 1:04 pm

vogler wrote:Andrzej Wajda - Ahn-dray Vy-duh (And'-tchey Vi'-duh?)

Jerzy Kawalerowicz - Jurt-see Ka...No chance, anybody know how to say this one?
Both are Polish names, so I can help out. The combination of "r" and "z" is quite difficult to pronounce for most English-speaking people. Correctly the "rz" is pronounced like "j" (for example like in Juliette or Jacques). So Andrzej Wajda is said more like "Andjei Wyda".

Jerzy Kawalerowicz would be "Jeji Kawalerowitsch". The "cz" in the end is a clear "tsch" (like Tchaikovsky), and the "rz" in Jerzy is again like in Andrzej, spoken as if you would put a "j" into the middle of the word. It's quite unusual because the "r" isn't spelled at all.

And with a film title like Herzog's STROSZEK the "sz" makes a clear "sch". So it's pronounced "Stroschek".

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#42 Post by Arn777 » Thu Jan 04, 2007 1:10 pm

I am pretty sure it is A-lan Re-nay (like the first name René).


Nope, it's like "Réné".

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vogler
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#43 Post by vogler » Thu Jan 04, 2007 1:21 pm

Carsten Czarnecki wrote:So Andrzej Wajda is said more like "Andjei Wyda".

Jerzy Kawalerowicz would be "Jeji Kawalerowitsch".
Thanks, Andjei sounds much better and I never would have got Jerzy Kawalerowicz right. Just to clarlfy though, when you write W are these pronounced as V? I always thought they were said V rather than the English W.

How was my attempt at Krzysztof Penderecki - Ksheestov Pen-de-ret-skay?
Arn777 wrote:
I am pretty sure it is A-lan Re-nay (like the first name René).

Nope, it's like "Réné".
Ha Ha, I'm getting confused now.

If it is said Réné why is there no accent on the first E in Resnais; is this something to do with the following S? Just to be sure could you write Réné phonetically. I thought Resnais was Re-nay but wouldn't Réné be something more like Rey-ney?

I could even be pronouncing Resnais right and René wrong and therefore making a wrong comparison.

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#44 Post by orlik » Thu Jan 04, 2007 1:43 pm

vogler wrote:... Krzysztof Penderecki - Ksheestov Pen-de-ret-skay (Many say Pen-de-ret-skee but it sounded much more like skay when a Polish man told me, or perhaps like ské would be pronounced in French.)

Jerzy Kawalerowicz - Jurt-see Ka...No chance, anybody know how to say this one?
You were mainly right with these. Part of the problem with Slavic names is that the accents are often excluded, giving a false impression of what the names sound like. Yes, the 'w' in Polish is always pronounced as 'v'.
You were right first time with these two:

Walerian Borowczyk = Val-AIR-ian Bor-OV-chick

Jan Lenica = Yan Len-EETZ-a

Chytilová - that's nearly right, but the first name is pronounced more like 'Vyera' because it has an accent (a 'haÄ

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#45 Post by Arn777 » Thu Jan 04, 2007 2:07 pm

If it is said Réné why is there no accent on the first E in Resnais; is this something to do with the following S?

Yes, because of the S. Sorry i'm not good at phonetics, but the first part slightly shorter if that makes sense than the second part.
Is Luc Moullet's surname pronounced with the English 'l' or as 'Moo-YAY'?
English 'l' (would be YAY if there was an 'i' before the 'll').

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vogler
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#46 Post by vogler » Thu Jan 04, 2007 2:09 pm

Thanks for those Orlik. I had forgotten about Jaromil Jireš so that's very useful. I usually don't worry about pronunciations too much but sometimes, especially with Eastern European directors, it gets to the point where you can't even think of someones name let alone try to say it. Walerian Borowczyk for example. My first attempts at this were ridiculous. I remember asking someone if they had seen the animation of Walerian Borow-C-Z-Y-K.

I don't worry about accent much (as in trying to do an impression of the people from the countries in question) but I do try to get the basic sounds as correct as possible otherwise people sometimes don't know what the hell you're talking about.

I've always said Godard as 'go-dar' with the O pronounced like in orange (not like the word 'go' of course - and don't get me started on Van Gogh - van-GO).

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#47 Post by brunosh » Thu Jan 04, 2007 2:12 pm

Scharphedin2 wrote:I have to admit that I threw the towel in the ring on the pronounciation game a long time ago. A Japanese girl I knew tried to teach me to pronounce Ryunosuke Akutagawa, and it sounded something like Lj'n-ske Akt-gauw. After that I rolled over and accepted to be a "gaijin," although it goes without saying that I can't pronounce that either.
I know what you mean - in the 14 years I've known her I don't think I've ever pronounced my (Japanese) wife's name to her satisfaction, reassuring her that gaijin are never quite able to achieve Japanese standards. My daughter is usually contemptuous of my attempts at Japanese pronunciation, but is prepared to accept that I've got Kobayashi Masaki right. However, I'm not sure I can describe it - very little change in stress from syllable to syllable, or in length of syllable, although it feels as though I'm lengthening and lifting the tone of -shi and -ki because I'm used, in English, to allowing the final syllable of words to become subsonic.

It's great to have some guidance on Polish sounds. An English friend who used to live in Warsaw and is married to a Polish girl always used to tell me that the sound at the end of every Polish word is the same as that of a stack of coins (zlotys - say no more!) falling onto a road (so he was presumably most fluent when he had a hole in his pocket).

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#48 Post by brunosh » Thu Jan 04, 2007 2:34 pm

orlik wrote:
And is Oshima pronounced as 'O-shima' or 'o-SHEE-ma'?
This thread is moving faster than I can type and post. Definitely not 'o-SHEE-ma'. More like 'o-shi-ma' - 'o' as in 'olive', 'shi' as in halfway between 'ship' and 'she', 'ma' as in halfway between 'marnie' and 'mad as a hatter'.

What about Jancsó?

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vogler
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#49 Post by vogler » Thu Jan 04, 2007 3:10 pm

brunosh wrote:What about Jancsó?
I believe it is YAN-cho. But how do we say Miklos?

Also a slightly unrelated question; does anyone know how to get all the different accents when typing on a computer? I think there is a special characters list or something like that but I've never found it. I have to use copy and paste or nothing at all.

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#50 Post by brunosh » Thu Jan 04, 2007 3:26 pm

vogler wrote:
Also a slightly unrelated question; does anyone know how to get all the different accents when typing on a computer? I think there is a special characters list or something like that but I've never found it. I have to use copy and paste or nothing at all.
In WORD, go to the INSERT drop down menu and click on SYMBOL. Is this what you mean?

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