Soar-on? Sar-ron?

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Falvlun 09/Dec/2006 at 05:39 PM
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How is Sauron supposed to be pronounced. I’m currently watching the Fellowship of the Ring right now, and it is quite distinctive how they all pronounce Sauron. It is like

Sar-RON

When reading the books, I pronounced it more like

SOAR-ron

What is the correct pronunciation?

Phoenix 09/Dec/2006 at 05:43 PM
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What I got how they pronounced it in the movies was Sour-on. Possibly because I watched the first two movies before I read the books, that’s how I perceived the pronunciation to be because of it. Though upon reading the appendices with the pronunciation guide, I saw that how they were saying it in the move seemed correct.

Nírithil 09/Dec/2006 at 05:46 PM
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I used to pronounce it Sar-on, but I read the appendices and discovered (to my surprise) that it is pronounced right in the movies.
Falvlun 09/Dec/2006 at 08:27 PM
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Kitty, Sour-on! Yeah, that’s exactly how it sounds in the movie. I was trying to figure out how to perfectly represent the sound.

Nirithil, Is the "aur" supposed to make an "our" sound? Not an "or"?

Magradhaid 09/Dec/2006 at 08:28 PM
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Perhaps you’d like to hear the author of the books (JRRT) pronounce "Sauron"? Click here.
Nírithil 09/Dec/2006 at 08:40 PM
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Falvlun- I think so, but I’m not really a languages expert.
Mo 09/Dec/2006 at 08:47 PM
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Sour-ron *wise nod*

Anyone who pronounces it Sore-ron watches too many cartoons.

Falvlun 09/Dec/2006 at 09:03 PM
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Tyrhael, wow, that sounds really scary, actually. Thanks for the clip!

Thanks to you all for clearing this up for me.

It did seem that Tolkien trilled the ’r’ a bit in his pronunciation. Do you hear that too?

Battlehamster 11/Dec/2006 at 06:26 PM
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Awesome clip! 

Hey, I’ll keep this short in case it counts as spamming.  Do you say Gandalv or Gandalf?

Nenarye 11/Dec/2006 at 07:35 PM
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Tuh-mey-toh - Tuh-mah-toh . . .

I do think I pronounce Sauron Sour-on though. Sar-on doesn’t really sound right . . . Tolkien (in that clip Tyrhael provided) seems to say "Sour-on" but really rolls the "r"

And I say a mix between Gandalv and Gandalf

But really, this is just like Tuh-mey-toh - Tuh-mah-toh
Qtpie 12/Dec/2006 at 09:51 PM
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Here is a note on pronunciation from the Silmarillion .

’ AU has the value of the English owl in town; thus the first syllable of Aule is like the English owl, and the first syllable of Sauron is like the English sour, not sore. The Silmarillion: Note on Pronunciation
Magradhaid 13/Dec/2006 at 06:28 PM
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JRRT pronounces Gandalf with an F. It’s Old Norse, not Sindarin.
Battlehamster 14/Dec/2006 at 05:43 PM
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That makes sense.  I thought that I had read somewhere about it being Gandalv.  I must just be going insane.  More insane, I mean.

Tyrhael- Where do find all these clips?!  I tried to go to the website, but all I got was a French "error" thing.  Or at least that’s what it looked like, my French knowledge reaches its limit shortly beyond "crepe ."

Magradhaid 14/Dec/2006 at 07:21 PM
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Battlehamster: Go to here and click Read by Tolkien, or just click here.
broadbeam 16/Dec/2006 at 03:05 AM
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I dont know how i pronounce it, its like, Sorr-ron but people say Saow-ron.And also instead of saying warg like warrg i say warg like worg.

Ever wondered that none of these mispronunciation things wouldnt exist if J.R.R Tolkien still lived, and there would be so much more and the movies would be even better than they are now.

Battlehamster 16/Dec/2006 at 03:01 PM
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Tyrhael, Thanks!  That’s such an awesome site!  It definitely gets a place of honor on my list of bookmarked sites.

Here’s another question, since broadbeam brought up the movies.  I’ve listened, but I can never tell exactly how they say Caradhas, whether they pronounce it correctly or not.  It kind of sounds like they say Carad-has instead of Carathas, can any else tell what they say?

Magradhaid 16/Dec/2006 at 03:26 PM
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In the movies, Saruman pronounces Caradhras fine but Gandalf butchers it.
NineFingered 16/Dec/2006 at 07:22 PM
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I try to pronounce words like in Latin, where every letter or diphtong has one meaning.So I pronounce Sauron as it is spelled, like when Saruman says that "nobody can stand against the forces of Sau-ron and Saruman, and the union of the two towers". It would be saoo-ron’ I guess, with a stress in the first syllable. Here’s my list of how-to-pronounce.

1) Galadriel: some pronounce it "ga-lai’-driel", and others like me "ga-la-driel’. In the first the "r" is normal English kind, but in the second it is somewhat slurred, like in Spanish. Note: Elrond  (Hugo Weaving)pronounces all his "r’s" as if they were Latin: Morrdorr, Isengarrd, Isildurr. I love it!!

2) Caradhras: stress on the first syllable or the second?

3) Pelennor: stress on the first syllable or the second? In the movies Denethor stressess the second, but I thought I heard it stressed on the first somewhere.

Magradhaid 16/Dec/2006 at 10:10 PM
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You have a consonant cluster, so it’s Pelennor, Caradhras. With A as in father (this goes for Galadriel as well), not ’care’ as Gandalf (Ian McKellan) pronounces it.
geordie 17/Dec/2006 at 03:14 AM
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Of course, instead of taking bits from the internet, you could buy the cds - ’The JRR Tolkien Audio Collection’. It’s very good.
Tenharien Calmcacil 17/Dec/2006 at 02:40 PM
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I heard that a long tme ago, I think somewhere in Europe, maybe it was england. That the Lord of  the rings was read on the radio as a show. I wonder how the pronunciations went on there. It woudl be nice to get a copy on tape or whatever. I bet thats impossible.
geordie 17/Dec/2006 at 03:07 PM
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Tenharien - yes, LotR was adapted as a radio play and broadcast in the UK [on the BBC] in 1981. It’s a very good adaptation - it’s avaiable on tape, and on cd.

Tolkien’s son Christopher provided a typed pronounciation guide for the actors’ use. It’s very useful!
Battlehamster 17/Dec/2006 at 04:05 PM
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But I thought that the dh in Caradhras was pronounced like a th and I just watched that scene and everyone pronounced it with a d sound.  Is it d or th?

So the Audio Collection is JRRT reading stuff?  Where can one get it?

geordie 18/Dec/2006 at 09:51 AM
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It’s Tolkien reading extracts from his works - TH; LotR; RGEO. [I think it includes RGEO - my copy is at work.] Plus CT reading two extracts from Silm.

It’s available on cd and tape - should be possible to order from a bookshop, like any other audio book.
Battlehamster 18/Dec/2006 at 11:50 AM
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Cool. Too bad that it’s probably too late to ask for it for Christmas. I suppose I always get a bookstore gift card, so I can get it after. I’m having to restrain myself from running out of school this second, running to the nearest Borders and spending the next few days listening to it. But I’d really rather not flunk my classes. : )

So, does anyone know about the dh sound in Caradhras?
geordie 18/Dec/2006 at 01:41 PM
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So, does anyone know about the dh sound in Caradhras?

Sorry - let’s see: anyone who pronounces it caradras is wrong! Movies; anywhere. Wrong.


The correct pronounciation [as T. tells us at the beginning of App.E] is ’th’ as in ’these clothes’. So, Caradhras = ’Carathras’.
Lady d`Ecthelion 18/Dec/2006 at 09:03 PM
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If it were to be pronounced [karadras] the "h" - letter wouldn’t be there at all, methinks.
Its presence "smooths" the [d] into a [θ]("th" - as geordie has just explained ).
Just a ’cent’ from me
Battlehamster 19/Dec/2006 at 04:06 PM
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Yes, thank you!  That’s what I thought, but then I wasn’t sure if I was just being crazy.  I guess that everyone that I’veheard say it has pronounced it incorrectly. 

Ahh... the movies.  At least nothing in the PJ ones is as bad as "Seleborn" in the Bakshi one.

Olme 20/Dec/2006 at 07:45 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by geordie on Monday, December 18, 2006
So, does anyone know about the dh sound in Caradhras?

Sorry - let’s see: anyone who pronounces it caradras is wrong! Movies; anywhere. Wrong.


The correct pronounciation [as T. tells us at the beginning of App.E] is ’th’ as in ’these clothes’. So, Caradhras = ’Carathras’.

actually, I think in the extended of FotR, they prounounce it right, but it’s almost like a  ’ð’  that might be heard in spanish.  I think it’s Haldir that says it.
Magradhaid 20/Dec/2006 at 02:06 PM
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Yes, I believe Old Norse -f would indeed be pronounced as -v (externally), but JRRT (internally) pronounced that particular name with -f. If you didn’t see it already, the word "Gandalf" in my post you quoted was a link to JRRT pronouncing it.
Galin 20/Dec/2006 at 03:08 PM
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Indeed I have the CDs myself... and the ’old’ Tolkien tapes, though the link is better quality than the latter it seems. The linked quote actually seems to lift Tolkien’s ’said Gandalf’ into some other recording IIRC, but anyway...

So yes I agree with -f as I say (and yes hard to disagree with Tolkien himself in any case), but my main reason for posting was to try to find some textual reason or ’support’ for Tolkien’s pronunciation -- as if he needs support! I know, but still, the issue might be confusing to some, due to external reasons.

Though maybe I only confuse the matter by ’digging’ when ears do well enough

Magradhaid 20/Dec/2006 at 04:46 PM
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I don’t know if there’s a textual quote ... Gandalf is supposed to be Tolkien’s "translation" of the Westron name. But Tolkien sometimes pronounced words differently than they would normally be expected to have been pronounced in the language they came from, i.e. OE sméagol would have ’éa’ about as in "æ-a", but JRRT pronounced that particular name like Smīgol, with "ee" as in "beech, meet", etc. instead. Though that may have something to do with the i-affection in the verb smūgan that produced smygel, Tolkien then Anglicizing that as Sméagol. But that would have the G like Y in "yes"! So maybe Tolkien was just utilizing euphony, or pronouncing it as he thought it would be good-sounding.  Sorry I’m off topic a bit.

Battlehamster 21/Dec/2006 at 12:31 PM
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Another possibility--and I’m reluctant to say this--is that when Tolkien was reading and paying more attention to what he was reading than exactly how he had decided it should be pronounced. I mean, I have fond memories of a class period when "sedition" became "sedation" (as in the Alien and Sedition Acts). If the links recordings were just of him reading, rather than showing how they should be pronounced.
Lothenon 22/Dec/2006 at 04:54 AM
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>>>if it were to be pronounced [karadras] the "h" - letter wouldn’t be there at all, methinks.Its presence "smooths" the [d] into a [θ]
>actually, I think in the extended of FotR, they prounounce it right, but it’s almost like a ’ð’ that might be heard in spanish.

It actually IS [ð], not [θ]. The first is the sound in the word "this", the second the more soft and humming sound of "think".
Tolkien even preferred the letter /ð/ for /dh/ and often wrote e.g. "eðel" for "edhel".

>Tolkien was reading and paying more attention to what he was reading than exactly how he had decided it should be pronounced.

In the case of "Sméagol" it is not a matter of decision, since the word may be his intention, but the language is Anglosaxon and thus has more or less clear rules of pronunciation. I am not entirely sure of the accents (i.e. whether we are actually talking about Anglian, Saxon or Jutish), but I think it should be pronounced more or less [smæaγol] (similar to "smair-Rol", R representing the throaty R of French or German).
Battlehamster 22/Dec/2006 at 08:18 AM
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Ah, yes, I think I remember reading somewhere about that. But it said there that "Theoden" ought to be pronounced "Thearden." Is it somewhere in between the two, like getting ready to and starting to say the "r" sound but not actually completing it? Certainly Tolkien pronounces it like Thay-oh-den.