Pronunciation Help

KatRanPress's picture

On Wednesday I'm giving a Pecha Kucha talk about postage stamps by type designers, and there are a few names I'm sure how to pronounce. Would anyone be willing to offer advice on pronouncing the following?

Excoffon (as in Roger)
Andrzej Heidrich
Chwast (as in Seymour)
Peignot (as in Peignot & Sons)

Many thanks.

JanekZ's picture

Chwast (if Polish) =weed >kh-vast< "ch" is soft "h"

Andrzej =Andrew >and-zh-ey< "rz" is like first sound in French "je t'aime"; Heidrich is German name

Quincunx's picture

I don't think the 'ch' in Heidrich is available in English, but I think you can get away with HAY-drieg.

Peignot - pay-NYOH.

R.'s picture

According to what German native speakers say, pronouncing the last syllable of ‘Heidrich’ as a rhyme for ‘fish’ comes closer to the original sound than making it rhyme with ‘big’ or ‘sick’. So, ‘High-drish’, stressed on the first syllable, should be okay. For ‘Andrzej’, I would suggest ‘Unn-jay’, the stressed first syllable rhyming with ‘fun’, the second with ‘play’.

The pronunciation of ‘Excoffon’ can be transcribed as ‘Ex-ko-fõ’. ‘Ex’ is like ‘specs’, ‘ko’ may have vowel like ‘blow’, the vowel in the stressed last syllable should be nasalised as some Englishmen do in words like ‘chanson’. In ‘Peignot’, try to avoid using in a diphthong in the first syllable in favour of something like the first vowel of ‘Pepita’; the second syllable is like a British pronunciation of ‘new’ with a vowel of the ‘blow’ type, i. e. ‘Pe-nyow’.

Jongseong's picture

Seymour Chwast is American, so Chwast is pronounced KWÄST as the NLS pronunciation guide has it or /kwɑːst/ in IPA (in the NLS transcription, ä represents the vowel of PALM).

Heidrich would be pronounced /ˈxeidrix/ according to Polish pronunciation rules, although I don't know if Poles would imitate the German pronunciation for the non-native sequence 'ei'. HAY-drick would be an acceptable anglicization, or HIGH-drick if the Poles indeed imitate German pronunciation for the vowels.

For Andrzej (/ˈandʐej/ in Polish), ÄND-zhey would indeed be the closest to the original pronunciation, but ÄND-ray (= anglicized pronunciation of André) is also close enough in my opinion and is in fact the only anglicization I've heard for this Polish name.

Excoffon (/ɛkskɔfɔ̃/ in French) would be ex-caw-FAWN following the usual method of pronouncing French names for American English. Likewise, pay-NYO is usual for Peignot.

Jongseong's picture

R.: According to what German native speakers say, pronouncing the last syllable of ‘Heidrich’ as a rhyme for ‘fish’ comes closer to the original sound than making it rhyme with ‘big’ or ‘sick’.

It's the name of a Pole, though, and even if Poles imitate the German vowels for Heidrich, I doubt they use the German ich-Laut /ç/ for the final consonant. They use a sound identical to the German ach-Laut /x/, which doesn't sound anything like 'sh' in English. In any case, as in Zurich, the usual anglicization of the German ich-Laut is also 'k'.

If you can pronounce the names with sounds not normally used in English, like the ach-Laut or nasalized vowels in French, that's fine, but it is perfectly acceptable (and arguably desirable) to replace those sounds with English near-equivalents when saying these names in an English context.

R.'s picture

You’re certainly right, Jongseong, saying that Poles do not use the German ‘Ich-Laut’ when pronouncing Heidrich’s name. I just wanted to make a point in favour of using the final consonant of ‘fish’ when rendering the German sound in English — although this may have been less than relevant in the present case. The ‘sh’ sound permits to come a bit closer to the original consonant and may not sound all too strange in rare names; the established anglicisation should, of course, be used if there is one.

Whether the German and Polish ‘ach’ sound or the nasalised ‘o’ is perceived as difficult to pronounce depends on the variety of English you’ve grown up with. Given that KatRanPress seems to be neither a Scotsman nor a Brit, your suggestions may work best. Apologies for any incorrect information!

KatRanPress's picture

This a great help. Many thanks. If I butcher these names on Wednesday night, I will at least do so with a little knowledge.


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