No more James Dean /james dean/

The problem with English names is that you can never be sure how to pronounce them unless you have heard them before.
The thing is that I always find myself under great pressure when I have to figure out how to pronounce an English name. People assume that just because you have some knowledge of English you are supposed to know how to pronounce every single name they come across. What they don’t seem to know is that ,in English,there are no pronunciation rules  you can rely on and that there are lots of English personal and place names whose pronunciation is counter-intuitive to their spelling.

How are you supposed to guess that a name such as Happisburgh, is pronounced /heizbr∂/, for God’s sake! I would have never guessed it!
I remember some years ago I took a course in a place called Hastings (like the battle) in South West England . Before leaving for England I carefully checked how to pronounce the name /heistinz/ but when I took a taxi to take me to this vilage, to my dismay , the taxi driver pronounced the name as /hi:stinz/ and then after some time in the village I realised that the name could be pronounced in several different ways.
Anyway, here is a list of film stars whose names are frequently mispronounced: no more James Dean /james dean/, if avoidable.

 

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Fred Astaire
Richard Attenborough
Dan Aykroyd
Lauren Bacall
Sean Bean
Warren Beatty
Kenneth Branagh
Richard Burton

 

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Sean Connery
Russell Crowe
Tom Cruise
Jamie Lee Curtis
Tonny Curtis
Matt Damon
Bette Davis
Daniel Day-Lewis
Johnny Depp

 

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Kirk Douglas
Faye Dunnaway
Kirsten Dunst
Mia Farrow
Ralph Fiennes
Lawrence Fishburn
Clark Gable
Ava Gardner
Richard Gere

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James Mason
Walter Matthau
Victor Mature
Ian Mckellen

Marilyn Monroe
Eddie Murphy
Bill Murray
Clive Owen
Gwyneth Paltrow

Adapted from Think magazine 

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “No more James Dean /james dean/

  1. Thanks for dopping by and thank you very much for your encourament. It’s always nice to know people read what I write.
    The link to St Valentine’s is great.. pity I didn’t know about it first.

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