Painful Les Misérables Pronunciations

Any discussion related to Victor's Hugo's Les Misérables, in any language.
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Floreal
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Painful Les Misérables Pronunciations

Postby Floreal » Fri Apr 29, 2011 5:02 pm

Okay, so I'm new here, and am not sure if this topic has been brought up yet, so I'll start it. What are the worst pronunciations you've heard from people talking about Les Misérables? I get really irritated when my friends mispronounce names, places, and even the very title. Something about it just really bugs me. Well, here's a list of some of the worst I've ever heard.

(The stresses are on the capital letters, and I've tried to make spell them like they sound.)

The Misérables - No French accent, just a VERY strong American accent.

Les Miserablehhhhhhh - Do the right pronunciation in moderation. Don't go overboard.

Epo-Nyne - Said in a really strong country accent. Ugh. This one bugs me so much.

Shawn-ValShawn - His name is Jean Valjean! He tells you so several times! (A lot of singers say it like this in the musical, so I hear this one a lot.)

JavArT - So many stresses...this is another one I hate. These people really stress that "T".

AnjolRayse - Okay, so a lot of people mess this one up, and it's understandable...it's a difficult name. However, someone this hot should NOT have their name so badly butchered so often.

MariOOs - Another of my dreaded pronunciations. This one is unforgivable...his name is pronounced exactly like it is spelled!

FanTyne - People often say the "Fan" part as in an electric "fan" and that really irritates me.

Faux-Lilly - This one is often extremely butchered, because people are to ignorant to realize that Feuilly doesn't even look like it would sound like a brand of silk flowers. So emasculating. :wink:

Well, that's my little list...I'd love to hear the worst that ya'll have ever heard. Especially places...I haven't even started on those yet.
Last edited by Floreal on Sat Apr 30, 2011 2:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Painful Les Misérables Pronunciations

Postby Potato112 » Fri Apr 29, 2011 6:27 pm

My friend recently told me that in school, a kid was making fun of Jean Valjean by pronouncing it... Jean Valjean. Not in the french way - the American way! Like "I'm wearing jeans today".
A boy in my class recently called Cosette in a very anime way - Koh-ze-teh (like in "terrible" or "terrifying") and it was hilarious!! :mrgreen:

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Floreal
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Re: Painful Les Misérables Pronunciations

Postby Floreal » Fri Apr 29, 2011 8:00 pm

Potato112 wrote:A boy in my class recently called Cosette in a very anime way - Koh-ze-teh (like in "terrible" or "terrifying") and it was hilarious!! :mrgreen:


Lol...I recently saw the anime, and I just had to laugh every time I heard them say Cosette (especially Valjean's pronunciation.) Well, it's better than that one cartoon version that apparently misspells her name!
Sir, the type of women currently favored in France are toothless crones who just cackle insanely.

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Bohemian Red Head
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Re: Painful Les Misérables Pronunciations

Postby Bohemian Red Head » Fri Apr 29, 2011 9:52 pm

My friend pronounced Javert "Jah-vert" (it still makes me cringe to think of it).

I have also heard Marius pronounced "Marr-ius." *grumble*

And I'm not sure, is Cosette supposed to be pronounced CUHsette or COsette? I'm pretty sure it's COsette, but I've heard it said differently.

My mother pronounces LM like "Les Miserablehhhhhhhh. I keep telling her that she is wrong, but she insists that it is the "real French way of saying it."

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Re: Painful Les Misérables Pronunciations

Postby Ulkis » Fri Apr 29, 2011 10:03 pm

When you say CO-sette do you mean the Co rhymes with go or show? Because in that case Cuh-sette is better. Cuh-sette isn't quite correct either (the o in Cosette sounds like the Spanish pronunciation of "o") but it's closer than C-oh-sette.

That said, I don't really have any pronunciations that drive me bonkers. I mean, when I'm watching the musical I would prefer it if they pronounced the names correctly* but I don't think it's a big deal if they don't.

*Except for Marius. I don't know why, but if the actors said it the French way it sticks like a sore thumb to me among the English words to me, more than saying Jean Valjean or Enjolras correctly.

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Re: Painful Les Misérables Pronunciations

Postby Bohemian Red Head » Fri Apr 29, 2011 10:15 pm

Thank you! I now know how to pronounce it without embarrassing myself :D

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Re: Painful Les Misérables Pronunciations

Postby MmeBahorel » Sat Apr 30, 2011 5:02 am

Joan Almedilla used to ask Valjean to keep her mix tape safe. "My Cassette" "Shall live in my protection."

Only during her first run with the show. She quit doing it, thankfully, when she came back. It was kind of hilarious at first but got really annoying really quickly.
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard

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Re: Painful Les Misérables Pronunciations

Postby Trompe-la-Mort » Sat Apr 30, 2011 5:41 pm

The Japanese pronunciations of the names always make me laugh... Djan Barudjan, Djaberu, Andjarurasu, Kozetto... It's difficult to transcribe, really.

There was this one German singer who used to call himself "Shonn Valshonn". And in Germany, it's quite popular to call the head revolutionary "Ohng-shol-rass"...

I guess that's also the reason why so many movies and audiobooks change the names of people and places... Why say Montreuil-sur-Mer (according to the Orson Welles audiobook, the correct pronunciation is "mon-TRYUU"), Champmathieu ("Sham-mat-TYU"), Toulon ("TUU-lonn") and Chenildieu (Worst I've heard somewhere was "Che-NILL-dyu", with the "ch" as in "chicken") if you can have Monteis-sur-Monteis (this is still so WTF!), Carnot and Lombard instead...

But I guess what annoys me most, despite the fact that it's not a name, is "Monn-SEEN-yor"... Or the name of our favourite author himself "VIC-tor HYU-go".
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Re: Painful Les Misérables Pronunciations

Postby MmeBahorel » Sat Apr 30, 2011 7:29 pm

"TOO-lonn" is a town in Illinois. Along with "San Joze" (San Jose), "KAY-Row" (Cairo), "Bur-BONE-is" (Bourbonnais). Yes, this makes it sound like I live among hicks :)

"Monn-SEEN-yor" is the correct pronunciation of Monsignor in English, however, so there's really no need to get annoyed at what is correct in translation. Likewise, the names of famous writers and statesmen are often adapted to the native tongue in spelling and pronunciation- is "VIC-tor HYU-go" any worse than "Eschyle" vs. "Aeschylus"? (I've had to get into French wikipedia to link back to English wikipedia because I can't always entirely parse the French spelling/pronunciation of various Latin and Greek writers). We translate the names of monarchs all the time. I'm curious if you find these other examples equally annoying.

One has to balance "correct" with "comprehensible" when dealing with translation - and quite frankly, the French pronunciation of "Marius", for example, sounds really odd coming in the middle of an English sentence, and several sounds in French are very difficult for non-native speakers to spit out correctly (most notably the "u" sound and the nasal vowels). I find I shift pronunciation depending on the language of the surrounding sentence - stress on the first syllable of Éponine when in English and on the last in French because it makes the sentence flow better.

As for the japanese, in that language, a syllable must always end in a vowel. that's how you end up with "basu-boru" (baseball) and the like. It's very, very difficult for a Japanese speaker to get out of that pattern of speech and to avoid it would be confusing and incomprehensible to another Japanese speaker with no knowledge of the originating language. This extends even into manga/anime canon: in Fullmetal Alchemist, for example, the main characters are named Ed and Al - this is how they are written in the manga when their names appear in the Latin alphabet - but the sound, and thus how they are address in the anime, is "Edo" and "Aru". It's frequent in manga to anime (for sound - or within manga, in latin to katakana transliteration; note also Death Note, with the character Light, pronounced as "Raito"). Lots of wanky arguments in anime fandoms over whether it is precious and annoying to write out the Japanese pronunciations in fic when the characters have English names. And it's really somewhat the same argument - in translation, should pronunciation adhere to accuracy in the native language or to comprehensibility in the language to which it was translated? ("Monseigneur" vs. "Monsignor", really.)
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Re: Painful Les Misérables Pronunciations

Postby MmeJavert » Sat Apr 30, 2011 8:39 pm

MmeBahorel wrote:"TOO-lonn" is a town in Illinois. Along with "San Joze" (San Jose), "KAY-Row" (Cairo), "Bur-BONE-is" (Bourbonnais). Yes, this makes it sound like I live among hicks :)


On that note, the local pronunciation of Havre de Grace, Maryland tends to drive me insane, too. ;)



Personally, I hate it when Enjolras is prononounced to rhyme with "ass" -- with the broad 'a' I find common to the standard American accent. It gives me the twitchies.
and to this day, she's glided on
always home but so far away
like a word misplaced
nothing said, what a waste

~pearl jam, "dissident"

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Floreal
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Re: Painful Les Misérables Pronunciations

Postby Floreal » Sat Apr 30, 2011 10:42 pm

MmeBahorel wrote:One has to balance "correct" with "comprehensible" when dealing with translation

This is so true! I was at a bookstore recently, looking for a brick version to read instead of my kindle version, and I asked the clerk if they had Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. I used the correct pronunciation, and he looked at me like I was an from another planet. I sighed, and used the butchered version, and he immediately knew what I was talking about. Sometimes you just have to use the most common pronunciation just to be understood by the illiterate plebeians. :wink:
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Re: Painful Les Misérables Pronunciations

Postby Trompe-la-Mort » Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:15 pm

@Mme Bahorel: Do I understand you correctly in that the word "Monseigneur" is actually used in English?

Sure, it's easier to pronounce names in a similar way as the surrounding sentence and I often have to concentrate very hard to pronounce any name correctly if the language of the rest of the phrase is a different one. It's maybe because it's a bit easier for a German native speaker to pronounce French sounds, that some of the English pronunciations at first seem a bit weird to me.
But, I mean, the whole thing was about painful pronunciations, right? :wink:


I'm perfectly aware of the particularity in Japanese pronunciation; but I can nevertheless find the result amusing. :) There's by the way one syllable that does not end in a vowel.

A similar peculiarity led to one of the best Spanish lessons I've ever had... We once watched "Pirates of the Carribean" during an end of the year lesson. In Spanish, "st" or "sp" cannot be pronounced at the beginning of the word, so "Jack Sparrow" became "Jack Esparrow". Even more ridiculous, because "Jacke" (even though it's pronounced with a 'y') is German for "jacket", so they always seemed to be talking about "jacket Sparrow"...
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Re: Painful Les Misérables Pronunciations

Postby Col.Despard » Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:59 pm

It's often (usually?) rendered "Monsignor" in English, and is a form of address used in the Catholic church for people holding certain ecclesiastical titles. It came to English via the Italian monsignore, which was itself derived from the French, which might help explain the Anglicised pronunciation. I was raised a Roman Catholic and attended Catholic schools at various times, so we saw the term used fairly frequently.

I amused Frédérique in Paris with my Anglicised pronunciation of Victor Hugo - she was able to give a brilliant impression of it, complete with the Australian accent. My curious pronunciation of Prouvaire also aroused a little...um...comment. As with many other French words, I do have to pull myself up and focus sometimes, thinking about how to pronounce something. It isn't necessarily that I don't know - I simply don't often hear or speak this words in French, and need to take a moment to think about them. I'm heavily visually orientated in how I process information - audio learning does pose some problems for me, problems that are compounded by a lack of exposure to French speakers. It's an issue I've encountered with other languages as well, and even within English itself. Although at least I did work out how to correctly pronounce Schiaparelli (something which a friend of mine who worked in the fashion industry assures me a lot of her colleagues never figured out).
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Re: Painful Les Misérables Pronunciations

Postby Ulkis » Sun May 01, 2011 4:44 am

in Fullmetal Alchemist, for example, the main characters are named Ed and Al - this is how they are written in the manga when their names appear in the Latin alphabet - but the sound, and thus how they are address in the anime, is "Edo" and "Aru".


off-topic for a moment - Oops, I've been mishearing it as "Al-uh" for a long time.

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Re: Painful Les Misérables Pronunciations

Postby Ulkis » Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:46 am

On that note, the local pronunciation of Havre de Grace, Maryland tends to drive me insane, too.


Tad late, but what IS the local pronunciation of Havre de Grace?


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