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How do you pronounce these scientists' names?

  1. Jul 11, 2010 #1
    1) de Broglie
    2) Leeuwenhoek
    3) Huygens

    These are all the troublesome ones I can think of right now. There are probably others. Thanks
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 11, 2010 #2


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    People argue, because he came from a bit of france with a particular accent.
    but something der bwee

    Dutch is easy (basically German but stoned)
    Lew wern hock

    Hoy Gerns
  4. Jul 11, 2010 #3
    England has been busy stealing extra 'r' sounds from Frenchman and sticking them in their own names!
  5. Jul 12, 2010 #4
    I think -

    de Broglie = di-broi
    Leeuwenhoek = Lew-en-hawk
    huygens = high-jens
  6. Jul 12, 2010 #5
    I have also heard de-broy-lee
    for de-broglie
  7. Jul 12, 2010 #6
    Forget those guys, how about Brillouin.

    I've heard brill-oo-in (in the uk, if this makes a difference), and bree-yon. Last time I read about it online, it seemed that neither is correct, but the proper pronunciation was difficult.
  8. Jul 12, 2010 #7


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    Sound files for http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/34/De_Broglie.ogg" [Broken].

    Edit, and here's http://www.forvo.com/word/brillouin/" [Broken].
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  9. Jul 12, 2010 #8
    By the way, I've always wondered if the Ren and Stimpy character Ren Hoek's name was derived from Leeuwenhoek.
  10. Jul 12, 2010 #9
    de broy
    lu when hoak
    high gens
  11. Jul 12, 2010 #10


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    Can't imagine saying her-huhns and not being met by quizzical looks.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  12. Jul 12, 2010 #11
  13. Jul 13, 2010 #12
    How do you pronounce Euler?
  14. Jul 13, 2010 #13

    Char. Limit

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    As if it was spelled "Oiler". No joke... that's German for you.
  15. Jul 13, 2010 #14
    That's how I've been taught, CharLimit. So I went to Wikipedia where they provide fonetic spelings. After a bit of decoding, they seem to suggest "Oy-lah", dropping the 'r'. Now I'm really confused.
  16. Jul 13, 2010 #15
    Yeah, a German wouldn't pronounce the R.
  17. Jul 13, 2010 #16

    Char. Limit

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    Actually, I believe a German would pronounce the R. They do in most terms like Amerikaner and Chemiker. At best the R would be half-pronounced.
  18. Jul 13, 2010 #17
    Hmmm, a family member of me needed to visit a doctor once in Canada, so she was instructed to wait while the names of the persons were called. That took the better part of an hour and all others were called until she was the only one left, a bit agitated since she saw numerous people who came in later, go first.

    So when she was the last one, the assisent came over and showed her the name on a paper, asking:"is this your name?" Of course it was, but why didn't they call her?

    They did however, several times (they thought). Anthony van Leeuwenhoek and Christiaan Huygens would probably also have not reacted on many of the pronounciation proposals here.

    This is perfect:
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  19. Jul 13, 2010 #18

    Chi Meson

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    I once had a Swiss teacher sit in on one of my classes (he was doing a one year exchange program with a teacher from a neighboring town, and after a few weeks he was still flummoxed as to how American teenagers are to be taught).

    During class, he kept correcting me on tiny details such as not writing out the unit for "G," not indicating the "direction" of a planet's angular momentum, and mispronouncing "Tycho Brahe." I said "TY-ko," as is usually said in US, but he inserted the correct "TEE-cho" (glottal "ch" as in loch).

    A raised-hackle "conversation" ensued in class as to how close to correct a name should be in order for the pronunciation to be "good enough." I attempted the correct pronunciation of deBroglie and Huygens as examples of how most Americans simply can't say them. I also pointed out how he had yet to pronounce my name (Brian) "correctly."

    The conversation ended unsettled, but in thinking about for quite a while beyond that, I personally concluded that there has to be a compromise between the speaker "making an effort" and the listener accepting the differences of accents. I can handle the glottal sounds of Germanic languages, but most of my students cannot.

    In my irritating tendency toward compromise, I now say "TEE-ko" but it's still "de-BROY" and "HəY-genz."

    The guy lasted only another few weeks before he had to return home. Teaching American teenagers who didn't want to be in school must have been infuriating.
  20. Jul 13, 2010 #19
    It'd be a sound at the back of the throat.
  21. Jul 13, 2010 #20


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    That's funny, because neither are correct. The latter's the German pronunciation, but Danish doesn't pronounce "ch" with the guttural g of "loch". (It's got many guttural sounds, but that's not one of them) "Ch" is just read as "k". (Which is a bit like a "g", given that Danish "k"s and "g"s are fairly close. The original name was in fact "Tyge")
    So your compromise "TEE-ko" is probably closer. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Da-Tycho_Brahe.ogg" [Broken] a sound clip with the modern Danish pronunciation.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
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