Help support TMP


"Pronunciations?" Topic


29 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.


Back to the Napoleonic Discussion Message Board

Back to the Getting Started with Napoleonics Message Board



983 hits since 18 May 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

USAFpilot18 May 2017 2:36 p.m. PST

Currently reading the book Napoleon's Marshals which I saw recommend on TMP. I'm not a French speaker, so I'm having trouble correctly pronouncing the names of the various Marshals. Was unsuccessful at a google search. Does anyone know of a guide or any help on pronouncing the names properly?

Here's a partial list:
Breathier
Monce
Augereau
Bernadotte
Soult
Lannes
Mortier
Davout
Bessières
Kellermann
Lefebvre
Pérignon
Sérurier
Oudinot
Marmont
Suchet
Saint-Cyr
Poniatowski

JimDuncanUK18 May 2017 2:45 p.m. PST

Is your first entry meant to be 'Berthier'?

PS

I learned French at High School which was a long time ago and I can pronounce all of the above without thinking about it.

Find yourself a local French speaker and am sure you will find it easy to pronounce them.

mikec260 Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2017 2:54 p.m. PST

Would google translate help at all?

USAFpilot18 May 2017 3:12 p.m. PST

Yes, Berthier, my mistake.

Thanks guys. Google translate seems to work.

Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2017 3:17 p.m. PST

Here's a start based upon what I and a few friends, some French, have picked up over the years:

Berthier – Bertyay
Monce – Monsay
Augereau – Ougerow
Bernadotte – Bernadot
Soult – Soolt
Lannes – Lan
Mortier – Mortier
Davout – Davoo
Bessières – Bessiay
Kellermann – just as it is spelt
Lefebvre – Lefevre
Pérignon – Perinon
Sérurier – Seruriay
Oudinot – Odino
Marmont – Marmon
Suchet – Sushay
Saint-Cyr – Sone Sear
Poniatowski – Poniatousky

It's only a first attempt and if anyone can come up with a better phonetic spelling they should send it in.

dBerczerk18 May 2017 4:18 p.m. PST

Might be time for a French girlfriend.

Lilian18 May 2017 4:28 p.m. PST

I didn't expected that the names of most of these men presented difficulties

-Oudinot is OOdino
-Augereau not «ou» but Oj-row
-Bessières don't forget the final BayssiayRR
-Perignon is PAYRINION (don't pronounce it like an english-speaking as PayrinioNNE)

-Saint-Cyr, simply like Saint in english but don't pronounce the "T" and Sear

-Poniatowski is PoniatOFFski, and "ski", not the english "sky"

-and SAYruriay LE FAYVR and KAYLLERMAN to be clear

USAFpilot18 May 2017 7:00 p.m. PST

Thanks Artilleryman and Lilian, that is what I was really looking for. That helps; I was not too far off on most.

Yea, a French girlfriend would be nice too.

La Fleche18 May 2017 11:55 p.m. PST

Roughly how I pronounce them:

Berthier – "bear-tee-yay"
Moncey – "mon-say"
Augereau – "Ohje-row"
Bernadotte – "bearn-a-dot"
Soult – "sool"
Lannes – "lahnn"
Mortier – "morr-tee-yay"
Davout – "dah-voo"
Bessières – "bessie-ear"
Kellermann – "kellermahn"
Lefèvre – "leh-fev-ruh"
Pérignon – "pay-ree-njon"
Sérurier – "say-roo-ree-yay"
Oudinot – "oo-dee-noh"
Marmont – "mar-monn"
Suchet – "soo-shay"
Saint-Cyr – "san-seer"
Poniatowski – "pony-a-tov-skee"

Marc at work19 May 2017 5:54 a.m. PST

Next, turn our attentions to battles please. I can manage Waterloo… But 1806, 1807 – all fun…

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP19 May 2017 5:59 a.m. PST

A ha…..So how do you, personally, say Waterloo then?

Locally, well I actually mean Flemish not Walloon, it is more like Vaaterlow…..

We had much debate here about Ligny not so long ago.

Fanch du Leon19 May 2017 11:37 a.m. PST

If i may help (but the problem is reversed as i'm not sure of my English /American prononciation…)

Berthier: Bert Ye(men)
Moncey Mon say
Augereau : O'je ro(w)
Bernadotte: (Teddy) bear-nah-dott
Soult: Soolt
Lannes Lahnn
Mortier: Morr-tee-Ye(men)
Davout Dah voo
Bessieres : Bess year
Kellermann KeLLher man.

Lilian19 May 2017 12:14 p.m. PST

La Flèche I am afraid you have to revise more at the French Military Prytanée with your bow and quiver, from what I understand at least 7 are wrong Berthier, Bernadotte, Soult having lost his final "T", Lefebvre him adding a non-existant ruh song, Sérurier, Suchet, Saint Cyr

the french "u" is not at all "oo", it is not the spanish,
Say-"ru"-riay, don't "bear"-izing too Berthier and Bernadotte
it is simply BAYR/na/dott and BAYR-TIAY etc..

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP19 May 2017 1:48 p.m. PST

Surely it all depends from what part of France you come. Bernadotte (Baarnado-otte) is very different, on the Belgian border regions, to the same name in Marseille or again in the foothills of the Pyrenees or in then in Breton.

I would love to try to write out how a Scowser, a Brummie, a Cockney, a Geordie, a Mackem, a Cornish Lad would say Bernadotte. I could do all these verbally, not sure I could spell them. The intonation is everything (esp for the Geordie…Wiy, eez Berna Dot Mon….with the frequency steadily rising until up to a screech, almost a question as American girls do, at the end…you know the thing they do over the pond…."and that botherz me , howwww???")

Lilian19 May 2017 2:27 p.m. PST

not really, there is not a strong difference from Brussels to the Pyrenean border and romande Swiss to pronounce them, the french accents don't modify at such point, except maybe pronounced by some overseas french, French-Canadian from the far North and the fields or the Créole Acadian from Louisiana or Haïti, there will be surprises

about the endangered to not say almost disappeared breton, no idea, it was not spoken in whole Brittany but only in the western part, the eastern part has been always in the latin-french linguistic sphere, the Bretons speak the standardized french from Brussels to Marseille and Geneva

42flanker20 May 2017 3:23 a.m. PST

It's all very well disagreeing over our own invented phonetic sonics. That's presumably why the international system was invented- but, sadly, remains incomprehsnsible to most of us.

I think the difference beween BEAR and BAYR depends entirely on what each person hears in their head when they make those sounds.

And as for the French 'u', it took me ten years and living in Belgium before I could pronounce that satisfactorily. Then I hardly ever spoke French again, and now it's all Spanish 'oo'. As for the 'r'….

Definitely SAN-sear, though, not SANE-sear, for Saint-Cyr

14Bore20 May 2017 4:10 a.m. PST

A French girlfriend would be a nice help, but then if you want Russian pronunciations as well require a Russian girlfriend? Could be problems.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP20 May 2017 8:28 a.m. PST

I thought Lilian's comment quite fascinating….that French do not have regional accents. I thought one could instantly tell a Gascon when he opened his mouth. Clearly not!

many thanks

Lilian20 May 2017 10:47 a.m. PST

I don't say that there are not regional accents, but at such point that Bernadotte or some other marshall name will be pronounced in 4 or 5 manners, clearly not at all, between a French from Paris, Normandy, Britanny or Burgundy and any other region you will not recognize where he comes from,
"strongest" recognizable accents are the Belgians but certainly not all, the musical of Provence and "rolling the r" of rural central and southwestern curiously very similar to the Polynesians, also the guttural of Alsace, the chtimis of Flanders, and if you have a good hear the very light accent of Savoy-Swiss, I think a young foreign student has better chances to understand french people than a foreign student with spanish in Spain or english in Great Britain or United States or Australia at such point many Europeans prefer to go to Malta or Ireland, better recommended to learn english than Her Majesty's island herself

Scharnachthal Inactive Member20 May 2017 12:16 p.m. PST

Saint-Cyr, simply like Saint in english but don't pronounce the "T"…

Definitely not. Compare the English and French pronunciations here:

link

And, for all the names, you should try here (make sure that the window "Français" has been selected. Sometimes, other options are offered):

https://fr.forvo.com/search/Berthier

Lilian20 May 2017 2:26 p.m. PST

yes Scharnachtal, for «Sain/Sein» I realized that this afternoon they don't pronounce like the french-speaking people,
nice site, it is clear now :)

keithbarker20 May 2017 10:26 p.m. PST

So how do you, personally, say Waterloo then?

Obviously it would be pronounced the same way as the station grin

But seriously, a rather useful topic!

Marc the plastics fan Inactive Member21 May 2017 1:27 a.m. PST

Damn that is a great site – and knock me down, those pronounciations are sexy – French is a great language. Definitely not letting wife near a Frenchman.

holdit22 May 2017 6:06 a.m. PST

I put this guide together for another more Waterloo-oriented site, but it should still be useful.

I don't claim that these are all spot on, but they'll get you close enough that a French speaker would know what you were saying. In general, the faster you say them, the better they'll work.

Zh is a soft J sound, like the "s" "treasure and measure". It also sounds better if the R's are rolled a little, but it's not vital. Where there's a -ang, -ong, or awng, the "g" should be just barely pronounced.

Where I've put "yoo", it's meant to be an approximation of the French short "u" sound. The best way to actually pronounce this is to put your lips as if you were about to say "ooo", but say "eee" instead.

People
------
Augereau…Oh-zher-oh
Bernadotte…Bairnadot
Berthier…Bert-yay
Bessieres…Baiss-yair
Chassé…Shassay
Compans…Compawng
Davout…Dah-voo
Delort…Duh-lawr
d'Erlon…Dayrlong
Desaix…Duh-zay
d'Espagne…Day-span-yuh
Dessaix…Dessay
d'Hurbal…Durebahl
Domon…Doh-mong
Donzelot…Dongzelloh
Drouot…Droo-oh
Duhesme…Jew-ehm
Durutte..Jewroot
Eugene…Uh-zhen
Foy…Fwah
Friant…Free-awng
Gerard…Zhay-rar
Girard…Zhee-rar
Grouchy…Groo-shee
Gudin…Gyoo-dang
Guyot…Gwee-oh
Jacquinot…Zhahkeenoh
Jeanin…Zhannang
Jerome…Zhayrohm
Jomini…Zhoh-meenee
Joubert…Zhoo-bair
Jourdan…Zhoordawng
Junot…Zhyoon-oh
Laboissier…Lah-bwah-syay
Lannes…Lann
Lasalle…Lah-sall
Lautour-Maubourg…Low-toor-moe-boor
Lefebvre-Desnouettes…Luhfevruh-Daynoowet
Marcognet…Markonyay
Marmont…Marmong
Massena…Mass-aynah
Milhaud…Meel-oh
Montbrun…Mongbrung
Morand…More-awng
Mortier…Mortyay
Mouton…Mootawng
Murat…Myoo-rah
Nansouty…Nawng-soo-tee
Napoleon…Nah-pole-ayong
Oudinot…Oo-deen-oe
Perponcher…Pairpawngshay
Pire…Pee-ray
Quiot..Key-oh
Rebecque…Rebek
Reille…Ray-uh
Senarmont…Senn-ahr-mong
Simmer…Seemayr
Soult…Soolt*
St Cyr…San Seer
St. Sulpice…San Syoolpeece
Subervie…Syoobayrvee
Suchet…Syoo-shay
Watier…Vatyay

Places
------
Braine l'Alleud…Brain Lalluh
Bruxelles…Broozell
Champaubert…Shawmp-oh-bare
Charleroi…Sharluhwah
Craonne…Crah-on
Dinant…Deenawng
Fleurus…Fluh-rooce
Frischermont…Free-shayr-mong
Gembloux…Zhawmbloo
Genappe…Zhunnapp
Hougoumont…Oogoomong
La Belle Alliance…Lah Bell Alley-awnce
La Haye Sainte…Lah Ay Sant
Lasne…Lann
Le Caillou…Luh Cah-yoo
Liege…Lee-ezh
Ligny..Leenyee
Maison du Roi…Mayzong dyoo Rwah
Maransart..Mahrawngsar
Merbe Braine…Merbuh Brain
Mont St. Jean…Mong sang zhawng
Montmirail…Mong-meeray
Namur…Nahmyoor
Nivelles…Nee-vell
Plancenoit…Plawngsuhnwah
Quatre-Bras…Katruh-bra
Smohain…Smoh-ang
Wavre…Wahvruh

Military Terms
--------------
a Cheval…ah Shuh-val
a Pied…ah Pyay
Artillerie…Artee-yeree
Battalion…Bah-tahl-yon
Carabinier…Carra-bin-yay
Chasseur…Shass-uhr
Compagnie…Cawmpan-yee
Cuirassier…Kwee-rassyay
Dragon..Dragong
Fusilier…Fyoozil-yay
Grenadier…Gruh-nad-yay
Hussard…Ooce-ar
Infanterie de ligne…Ang-fawnteree duh leenyuh
Infanterie legere…Ang-fawnteree lay-zhair
Lancier…Lawnce-yay
Regiment…Ray-zhee-mong
Tirailleur…Tee-rye-uhr
Voltigeur…Voltee-zhuhr

Scharnachthal Inactive Member22 May 2017 7:02 a.m. PST

Seriously? After that link I've posted above…? And then…what you will never be able to transcribe adequately are nasals…"Smohain…Smoh-ang". No, "ang" is not correct…Actually, "…hain" pronounces like the "ain" in French "saint"…

But, ok. Probably, a Frenchman would indeed understand what an Englishman is trying to say when pronouncing the words as you suggested… It's certainly a reasonable assumption that native speakers of all languages do have the ability to understand what foreigners want to say if only the latter's pronunciation comes close enough to the original…

holdit23 May 2017 2:11 a.m. PST

Hmmm yes, seriously. I checked out your link and indeed I've bookmarked it for future reference, and it certainly wasn't my intention to "diss" your contribution…but I did find it slow, I and I couldn't see someone going to it every time they saw a French name. What I was aiming to do was to provide a guide which, if read down through even only once, would allow people to see pronunciation patterns and give them a chance of at least getting the sound half-right even if they encounter a word that isn't on the list.

What prompted me to put it to gether in the first place was seeing a couple of Waterloo campaign-related player videos on YouTube where the pronunciation wasn't even coming close. Believe me, anything would be an improvement on what I heard.

Some years ago I lived and worked in France, among French colleagues, and in an office where no English was spoken, and where my mispronunciations were pointed out to me (they got a great laugh out of my early attempts to roll "r"), so I doubt that I'd be sending anyone too far astray. Granted, I was working in the south, so a touch of "regionality" may be reflected. And yes, I'm well aware that you can't write the nasal sounds, but I think you can get near enough for practical purposes.

I understand what you're saying about things like "Smohain" but note two things: first I said that the "G" should only barely be pronounced and second that the whole word should be said quickly for best effect. The faster it's run together, the better it works. On reflection I would amend the first instruction to say that the ending should be pronounced as if it ends in "ang", but without actually pronouncing the "g". The effect on the "n" would be sufficient, I think.

And to reiterate, "I don't claim that these are all spot on, but they'll get you close enough that a French speaker would know what you were saying."

Scharnachthal Inactive Member23 May 2017 3:20 a.m. PST

Didn't intend to belittle your effort.

So, you were in the South. That explains your transcriptions to some degree. The pronunciation is quite different there, more "rustic". Rolling "r"s and a tendency to pronounce the "g"… the influence of Occitan, I'd say…

holdit23 May 2017 3:49 a.m. PST

Hautes Pyrenees. I found that the accent there has a touch of Spanish, almost. "Manger" and "sans" become "man-zhay" and "sanz" instead of "mawng-zhay" and "sawng". I was even corrected a few times on it, but I resisted as much as I could.

First prize for funny French accents must go to the Corsicans, though. I got the impression that they speak French with an Italian accent…

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.