Date: Sat, 7 Jan 1995 16:24:02 -0300 From: Chris Brooks Subject: Euphonizing (?) proper names Is there a name for (there MUST be!) proper names which are pronounced differently from the way we would pronounce them according to their spellings (sorry)--because spelling pronunciations would result in an embarrassing, low-class, or objectionable word? For example, my British colleague says that the family name De'ath, spelled in apostrophe-less 'standardized' or bureaucratic fashion which would be pronounced like "death," is pronounced "dee-ath." And the family name "Sidebottom" is pronounced "siddy-bottOME." Really. Hey, my colleague swears this is the case--in Britain. I remember the Family name "Saint John," rendered as "sin-jin." Here it seems to be avoiding something overtly religious or presumtuous. Apparently there is a BBC sit-com where a Mrs. Bucket, a middle class women with aspirations stronlgy resists the common-sounding normal spelling pronunciation, insisting that people say "boo-kay" . . . alias "bouquet"! A similar phenomenon has happened to the word "harrass," where stress on the last syllable has been judged to be too evocative of the ordinary term for a person's behind. Actually, I just checked Webster's and HARass is given as the second pronunciation. Do you know of any other perhaps deliberate mispronunciations of names to avoid the sound of an objectionable word? And what would you call these? Chris Brooks / Kuwait University