Okay, if you’re like MRP, then you grew up thinking that Nabokov was pronounced Na-bah-koff. Damn you, Sting and your “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”! Damn you!
So you will find this pronunciation guide handy. Learn the correct pronunciation of the names of 28 authors, including Chinua Achebe, J.M. Coetzee, and Paulo Coelho.
One commenter wrote, “I’m sorry, but certain of those pronunciations are guaranteed to yet you punched in the face if you use them.” And I know it’s terrible, but I kind of think they have a point. In high school, MRP had an English teacher who made a point of telling us that Thoreau was not pronounced Tho-ro but more like Thorough. So I know that, but I just can’t bring myself to say it that way. Just as I can’t imagine myself going around saying, “I just read My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult” and pronouncing it PEE-koo, as advised by this chart. Would anyone know who I’m talking about if I didn’t say Pih-COLT?
I didn’t see frequently mispronounced names Maya Angelou, J.P. Sartre, or P.G. Wodehouse here. Mister MRP mentions that his students often mangle Dostoyevsky, and Turgenev is no picnic, either. Anyone else they missed?
Hat tip to cinetrix.