Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Mike's Greyhawk Pronunciations

Howdy Greyhawkers! Okay folks, this is a dumb, silly post, but I don't care. So I've been reading old Dragon mags and came across Frank Mentzer's old pronunciation guide article from Dragon #93. After amusing myself with this often joked about and debated topic I reasoned that I have never covered pronunciation on the blog, so why not? 36 years after the fact, let's compare how I pronounce Greyhawk proper names versus the learned Pluffet Smedger. Oh by the way, for those who have never seen the article, it's written as if Mentzer got his info directly from the meta-story author of the Greyhawk Guide, Pluffet Smedger of Rel Mord University. So if Ed Greenwood has Elminster, Frank has Smedger evidently. Check it out:

The learned Dr. Smedger popped in yesterday. And I do mean popped. The sound of teleportation is quite audible at close range - such as just behind one's chair. 
"Pluffie, you twit, I asked you not to do that!," I greeted him politely. "I even rearranged the furniture so you couldn't."
He returned my salutations with his usual grace. "You call that furniture? Besides, you can't confuse me; this place is 'very familiar.' Got a copy of Leadbeater's Astral Plane?" 
"Probably. Check the files."
 A few minutes later, Pluffie returned; apparently his mind was still on Leadbeater. "Just as I thought!" he grumbled, but in the tongue of the Flanaess. "He confuses them utterly." He gestured violently with his wand. I responded in the same language, out of courtesy. "What do you expect? That was written in London, in 1895. You've seen more devas than he has. Please put that wand away." 
He looked startled, and switched to Cammon. "More what? Devas? Your accent is terrible." He was right; I'm not very good with the Flan language. 
"Now that you mention it, could you check a few pronunciations for me?" 
"Gee, I think I might might have to rush off. . ." he said, standing idly and pretending to read my diplomas (rather obvious, even for him; cash is his weak spot). I named a price a bit more generous than is my wont, but then, he still had his wand out. After making several unnecessary remarks about my habits and my heritage, he finally agreed, and dictated the following list to my Scroll of Transcription.

Okay let's get it the pronunciations. I'm only focusing on the Greyhawk specific names (no drow business). First listing in bold is Smedger, anything in parentheses is comments on how I say the word. The notation is all Mentzer, so if you need help to decipher this check out Dragon #93 if you want the full experience. Enjoy!

Aerdi     AYR-dee     (ditto this)
Almor    @L-m0r     (same I'm fairly certain)
Beetu     bee-TOO     (ditto again, and please why is this town even on the list?)
Belissica     be-LISS-i-ka    (I probably do say it that way or BEL-iss-i-ka)    
Blashikmund     BL@SH-ik-mund, or bl@sh-IK-mund    (can't say I've ever tried this one, I'll go #1)
Boccob     BAK-ab    (I've said BO-kob. my whole life, now typing this, that seems absurd *shrug*)
Burneal     BURN-ee-ul    (yup!)
Corusk     K0R-usk    (I'm certain I say it that way, or kor-OOSK when I'm being fancy)
Dimre     DIM-ray (duh)
Erac     E-r@k (no way Pluffet, this is just a clever respelling of Eric/Erik)
Erythnul     e-RITH-nul    (sounds about right)
Fharlanghn     far-LANG-n     (sounds correct, I love saying this name)
Flanaess     fla-NES     (for years I said fla-NAY-ess, but I've gradually warmed to Smedger's way)
Grugach     GROO-gatch     (i think I do say it this way, however not sure why it isn't GROO-gak)
Heironeous     hayr-O-nee-us    (this one changes alot. I think I've mainly said hay-RON-ee-us)
Incabulos    in-K@B-yoo-lus    (this works for me!)    
Iuz    yooz, or EE-uz    (#1, nope, #2, nope.... I am Team EYE-ooz)
Johydee    jo-HY-dee, or johee-DEE    (not sure, I think I say jo-HEE-dee)
Kelanen    KEL-a-nen    (spot on!)
Keogthom     KEE-o-tum    (this works, but I have said KEE-o-tom most often)
Kyuss     kee-OOS    (nope, I say KY-oos)
Leomund    LEE-o-mund    (Lakofka approved)
Lolth     lalth, or lolth    (#2 for me, definitely not "loth" too)
Mordenkainen     M0R-den-kay-nen    (sounds right I suppose!)
Murlynd     MUR-lind    (ehhh...I think I say it MURL-ind)
Nystul     NY-stul, or NIS-tul    (#2 for me, though I think I like #1 better)
Obad-hai     o-bad-HY    (on the mark)
Oerid     O-rid    (yup)
Oerik    O-rik    (definitely)
Oerth    OYth    (NO! How do you go from O-rid, O-rik, to OYth? It's O-urth. Fight me!)
Otiluke     O-ti-look    (I'm fine with this)
Phaulkon     FAL-kun    (eh, I say fall-KON)
Pholtus     FOL-tus    (yes, this is okay)
Quaal     kwal, or kwayl    (#1 here, but #2 intrigues me, given the feather token association)
Quag     kw@g    (I think I say it this way, unsure)
Tenser    TEN-ser    (right on)
Tharizdun     thar-IZ-dun    (This sounds right, but I might say thar-iz-DOON when being spooky)
Vecna     VEK-na    (kinda hard to mess up)
Zuggtmoy     ZUG-tmoy (weird one, I think me and my friends say ZUG-it-muah, no idea)

Alrighty, that was fun, wish there was more on this list. Here is some bonus ones of my own in case you're curious:

Ull    UHL    (not OOL)
Nyr Dyv    near div    (yeah, yeah)
Furyondy    fur-ee-ON-dee  
Geoff    jeff    (though for years I said GEE-off)
Zeif    ZIEF    (though recently I'm won over to ZEEF)
Verbobonc    vair-BO-bon (silent 'c')
Adri    AY-dree    (though I don't discourage AH-dree)
Suel    SOO-ul    (sorry Rich haha)
Rao    roww    (said RAY-o for a long time)
Wastri    WASTE-ree    (i mean WAST-ree is good, but the word waste makes him seem awful)
Baklunish    bak-LOON-ish    (decent?)
Iggwilv    EEG-wilve    (yup, that's it for me)


Chaos Clockwork said...

Far be it from me to nitpick Mentzer's recollections of the Elder Smedger, but all that easy cross-planar teleportation and meeting with astral devas seems like a lot of potent magic for a man from an era when magic is 'waning'.

Scott said...

I have always used BO-kob and O-urth too.
I also say Fharlanghn as Far-lan, as if the ghn was all silent,
Iuz as it's spelled -- eye-uz,
Kelanen as kel-A-nen,
Verbobonc as Ver-bo-bonk (no silent c),
and Rao as Ray-O.

Oh well!