Friday, November 4, 2011

Open Friday: Mispronunciations

There can be no question that gaming (along with Jack Vance and H.P. Lovecraft) expanded the vocabulary of my younger self, introducing me to a large number of words and expressions I'd never come across in any other context. Of course, since they were unfamiliar to me, I often didn't know to pronounce these words. In some cases, my mispronunciations persisted for years until I was corrected by someone more knowledgeable than I. Of these, the mispronunciation I remember most clearly is Gygax's name for dark elves -- drow -- which I mistakenly rhymed with "row" rather than "cow." I also recall mispronouncing the Call of Cthulhu profession of "dilettante." How embarrassing ...

So, what are your most shameful gaming-derived mispronunciations?

144 comments:

  1. not mine but i experienced two funny ones I can recall right now:

    Back in the olden days i was playign in a friends attic in junior-high and the DM announced "oh no an og-ree jumps into the room" all the other players panicked and reacted with dread... i just had to ask "Og-ree?". It turned out nobody in that group knew the way to pronounce Ogre or was even familiar with the word.

    Last year one of my players (a 25+ year D&D veteran) warned the rest of the group "Look out for the Jallopinous Cube" .
    Since then we've been joking about a car crushed into a cube chasing the party down the hall with it's horn beeping...the horror, the horror.

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  2. I can't think of too many I goofed up, but I actually quit playing with a guy because he kept saying MEE-LEE, and tried to correct everyone at the table who said MAY-LAY.

    The drow thing caused a row, as well. ;-)

    It was a generalized problem with the guy, though. He refused to believe our 7th grade english teacher when she told him miscellaneous was not pronounced "missile-chewie-ness".

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  3. back in junior high one of my group insisted on pronouncing dexterity as "dexitree" and I don't think I've ever stopped cringing at that one.

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  4. I always thought I mispronouncing "Dais" but it turns out both "days" and "dyes" are considered correct.

    Portcullis is one of those that I saw incorrectly from the first and thereafter never bothered to correct. I always said "por-ti-culs" thought that's clearly wrong and really not even close to what the true spelling would suggest.

    But to the overall point, D&D contributed heavily to my vocabulary.

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  5. "Swaydo-dragon" (my friend's older brother telling us how to correctly pronounce pseudodragon).

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  6. Well, personally I never really had any that I remember but I do recall several of my friends mispronouncing Faerûn (FAY-er-oon) as Fair-un I thought that was odd as the first booklet of the original FR boxed set gave a phonetic pronunciation; the other was the wizard Mordenkainen. The same 2 fellows pronounced it with the "kai" rhyming with "sigh". I actually asked Gary via the EN World message board as to the definitive pronunciation and he stated that that part should rhyme with "stay" (Mor-den-kay-nen phonetically speaking.

    The only thing that comes to mind is probably how Drizz't's name should be said (I had a tendency to say "Drizzit").

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  7. Now I'm confused! I always pronounced drow to rhyme with cow, but then recall reading something (Dragon Magazine?) that it was supposed to rhyme with row!

    Another one that I did not like (which definitely came from a pronunciation guide long ago in Dragon Magazine) was Iuz. I originally, and continue, to say "Eye-yooz" rather than the "eee-uz" or "yooz."

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  8. Paladin rhymed with Aladdin.
    Asmodeus rhymed with commodious.
    Shillelagh rhymed with chilly-log.

    I think Gygax pronounced drow both ways at different times in his career, if I recall correctly.

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  9. (which definitely came from a pronunciation guide long ago in Dragon Magazine)

    I seem to recall that that guide was riddled with errors, so I never took it particularly seriously.

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  10. Falco became a sensation when I was a relatively new player, and it was around that time that I first encountered that term (dais).

    We sang,"Rock Me, I'm a Dais!" for the rest of the session, and thought we were lyrical geniuses.

    I should come up with a vocabulary list of all the words I learned from D&D, Lovecraft, Tolkien and C.A.S.

    It would be extensive.

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  11. @Zenopus: we did it one worse: "puh-sway-do"

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  12. There is a fellow gamer of mine who refuses to say "drow" and make it rhyme with cow. It can cause a cringe or two.

    The only issue I have had, and still sometimes wonder about, is the duegar. I have heard it pronounced, DEW-a-gar and DWER-ja. Not sure which one is right.

    I also agree that, not only gaming, but reading fantasy lit helped expand vocab. And, if it is well researched, knowledge of what some odd things are that most people have no idea about.

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  13. Not gaming, but Tolkien: I thought "draught" rhymed with "ought." I knew the word "draft," but I didn't realize they were the same word spelled differently.

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  14. Hahah, Errant Tiger, same here! To this day, "brazier" still sticks in my craw & comes out "brassiere" all too often. To the point where even saying brazier correctly can send my group into giggles.

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  15. Confusion has resulted when playing with new people and trying to reconcile our various interpretations of pole arm pronunciation. I picked up the word rapport from a game book as a kid and didn't pronounce it correctly until college. Also, I have heard various versions of fantasy specific names, Rappan Athuk comes to mind.

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  16. Weird to be able to suddenly remember the mispronunciations:

    PIE-onics.
    BRA-zeer.
    Motive Cocktails. [The completely anachronistic and inappropriate mangling of Molotov Cocktail/flaming oil vial, when the closest likely weapon would have been some sort of Naptha/Greek Fire]
    Licks for Liches, and LIE-shen for Lichen
    Trogollydite

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  17. I used to think macabre was pronounced mak-uh-bree.

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  18. The only issue I have had, and still sometimes wonder about, is the duegar. I have heard it pronounced, DEW-a-gar and DWER-ja. Not sure which one is right.

    I have always assumed that the first syllable sounded something like "dwair," since the word is based on various Norse and Germanic alternate names for dwarves.

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  19. Yeah, I assumed "dwair," but I end it was "gar" when I say it. Huh.

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  20. Yeah, I assumed "dwair," but I end it was "gar" when I say it. Huh.

    Dwair-gar is more or less how I say it, too.

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  21. I'll second both "dais" and "brazier". They both showed up in the intro adventure in the Mentzer boxed set, IIRC, and my 7-year-old self was stumped. Hell, I still don't know how to pronounce them 25 years later.

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  22. Mordicai, it's gotten to the point where whenever the party enters a shadowy room with no overhead light source, they get ready to giggle.

    I also have a habit of saying "dais" as "day-iss" but that's not nearly as amusing.

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  23. On any given day there's no guessing whether or not I will pronounce scimitar with a k sound.

    Personally, I maintain that MAY-lay, MEE-lee and MEE-lay are all used enough in the hobby to now count as acceptable pronounciations.

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  24. Things I pronounced wrong:

    portcullis = por-tic-u-lis.

    prime requisite = prime re-squis-it

    I make no apologies for my 10-year-old self.


    Oh, yeah. Can't forget Juiblex. Like tons of other gamers I've met, I said "Jubilex". Took someone showing me how it was spelled to get that fixed.

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  25. A room of flaming brasieres is very different from flaming braziers.

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  26. The otherwise wonderful new game Skylanders has some elf monsters called drow but the voice actor in the game pronounces it to rhyme with "toe". It grates on my ears every time and I'm worried that my kids will be scarred for life despite repeatedly telling them the correct pronounciation.

    When I played AD&D as a kid, melee round was by far the worst offender. I don't think any of us got it right and it wasn't until I took french in high school that I really nailed it.

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  27. I'm beginning to want to write a minidungeon using all of these words...

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  28. Pa-LAD-in vs. Pala-DIN was always the ToMAYto - ToMAHto of our groups ...

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  29. Myrmidon

    I read it as

    mer-rye-a-din

    instead of

    mer-mi-don

    I didn't know the difference until I watched Brad Pitt in Troy. What made it hilarious that within a week of me watching this, two of my oldest friends figured out this out as well. The next session, there was a lot of "Hey Rob did you know that you say Myrmidon like this."

    We continue to pronounce it the original way I mangled.

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  30. The one that springs to mind is "mêlée" which was pronounced as "mee-lee" until I paid attention to the squiggly bits over the letters.

    Oh, and "blackguard"; I've only seen it written down in game books, so I pronounced it as it was written, and did not associate it with "blaggard", a word I've heard many times.

    In the past couple of years I've been playing with someone who says "puhLADin" while I've always said "PALuhdin" and that's thrown me off a bit.

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  31. I steadfastly REFUSE to say "Boo-Lay".

    Indeed. It's of the supposed pronunciations from that Dragon article that just goes to show how dubious it is.

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  32. Oh, and "blackguard"; I've only seen it written down in game books, so I pronounced it as it was written, and did not associate it with "blaggard", a word I've heard many times.

    That's a good one. I regularly hear that word mispronounced by gamers.

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  33. @Andrew

    The Pa-LAD-in vs Pal-a-DIN controversy reigned for days in my group as a kid.

    I also remember butchering the name of Drizzt's cat Guenhwyvar the first time it game up in a game while I was quickly reading. I think my version was something like Cthulhu and generally unable to be reproduced by the normal human voice...

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  34. Ugh. Just checked wikipedia and it claims that it's boo-lay which is just nuts. It's always obviously been bull-let (to my circle, anyway). Wikipedia gives a cite of the first issue of The Dragon. Did the article really say it was pronounced that way? Blech.

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  35. Did the article really say it was pronounced that way? Blech.

    Blech indeed, but, checking it out, yes, issue #1 does indeed include that awful pronunciation -- clearly by someone with no knowledge of either French or English :)

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  36. I learned embarrassingly recently that the word draught is pronounced the same as draft. This makes the phrase "healing draught" make so much more sense, though I still have players that pronounce it as a "healing drowt". A healing drought sounds to me like the polar opposite of a healing draught, and something every good adventurer should fear.

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  37. Blackguard and melee are common stumbling blocks in my groups as well. Some of the groups pronounce melee "muhlay" or "m'lay" which I guess is a step up from "mee-lee".

    Quay is another word that we were introduced to that caused some confusion.

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  39. Even after hearing that everyone pronounces it "Dunwich," I still pronounce it "Dunwick".
    Most cases of mistaken pronunciation don't bother me, but the one that really gets my goat is "Archtype" instead of "Arketype," which, you may note is just another example of interchanging the CH sound for K.

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  40. "Dilettante". That's too funny, as that was the word I immediately thought of myself when reading your lede. I was in an upper division smarty-pants seminar in my undergrad days and I pronounced it as "dil-lan-tay" with a big stress at the end. It was the first I believe I had every used it verbally.

    Very embarrassing, but then again I am a Texan and we are famous for this kind of thing.

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  41. My brother & I, around ages 10 & 12:
    /sen-a-taur/ (for centaur, after minotaur, I guess)
    /dim-in-u-a-tion/ (for diminution)

    I still stumble over "scythe" -- is the c silent or not? is the "y" a long or short /i/? varies day by day.

    I also keep saying "Mal-is-zoo-ski" and "Mal-i-shew-ski" ... not out loud but when I see your name. Is it the former or latter?

    Anyway one of my favorite mispronounciations (heard rather than committed) is /stoyk/ for Stoic.

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  42. @Daniel reminded me of one.

    I said liches as LIKES. Wasn't until I could vote that I learned otherwise. (And I still have the urge to say it wrong, if for no other reason than liches sounds vaguely filthy.)

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  43. What? JuIblex!? I never noticed that, and am still in shock so think JubIlex sounds cooler.

    Me and my childhood D&D friends all mispronounced infravision as infrasion for years, until one day the extra letters suddenly jumped out at me and I proudly announced "there's no such thing as infrasion!".

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  44. Mee-Lee and Glaive-Gwiz-arm come to mind. I'm sure that there are plenty more that my old 80s gaming group screwed up.

    Oh! One member of my 80s group had just a crazy pronunciation for Sahaugin. Something like: Sag-jooey-juan. To this day, I have no idea how he came up with that.

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  45. I also keep saying "Mal-is-zoo-ski" and "Mal-i-shew-ski" ... not out loud but when I see your name. Is it the former or latter?

    That depends on who you ask :)

    Growing up, my family always pronounced it "Mahl-uh-shess-key." Sometime in high school, I tried to teach myself Polish out of a misplaced sense of ancestral piety. I didn't learn much except the proper way to pronounce Polish words and so I shifted my pronunciation to "Mahl-uh-shev-skee," which is how my own family pronounces it. The latter pronunciation is accurate and even convinced a genuine Polish woman I met in grad school that I had to have been born in Poland because, in her words, "no one in North America knows how to pronounce Polish names."

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  46. Always pronouncing "corporeal as "cor-pa-rul". Still do it today in the heat of battle.

    Uh, how embarrassing, learned some new ones just reading the comments! Never knew about Blackguard - blaggard or draught - draft. I've always said "BOO-LAY", so whats the right way?

    Glad to see I'm on the right side of drow (like cow) and paladin (pal-a-din), at least...right? If I'm not just smile politely please.

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  47. Three minutes ago I would've pronounced 'draught' as rhyming with 'ought'. I know the word 'draughtsman' and what it means, but I never made the connection with 'draftsman'. Thanks.

    At least that's a word that's never came up in play - I've played tabletop rpg's only in Finnish, or rather in Finnish-English mishmash, using usually the rule terms in English.

    The one word I misread and mispronounced for years was 'petrification'. It was one of those rule terms to use in AD&D, so we used it in speech. I read it first as 'pertification' in the (2e) AD&D PHB, and had no idea of the origin of the word, so I used it wrong for many years.

    I think we mispronounced a lot of words in those early days. I seem to recall that we said 'realm' (as in Forgotten) as 'REE-elm' (I think), but I don't know how to phonetically spell things in writing.

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  48. Catoplepas. Wiki has it as 'katablépō' --with all these acutes, umlauts and doohickeys, so I guess I am discovering --right now-- the 's' is silent? Go figure!

    Not really RPG related, but my favorite word in this vein is 'remuneration' In fact, I came close to ruining a dinner-date with my partner because she said 'renumeration' about three times before I corrected her.

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  49. My ten-year old nephew pronounces "druid" without the "i" syllable as in "Edwin Drood". When he says the word . . . drood . . . his voice lowers and quavers with dread, making that character class sound even more sinister.

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  50. The worst I can remember was in a game of Call of Cthulhu when one of the players read an in-game letter from a distant uncle (there's always one) describing the odd goings-on in the woods behind his home. The tension mounted as the horrible scene of depravity was described until the reader mispronounced flabbergasted as 'flagger-bastard'.

    The game was abandoned due to loss of mood and any shreds of dignity.

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  51. This reminds me of a malapropism at the gaming table. The DM described a merchant who refused to haggle with us as having "a lot of business gravy."

    After not a little confusion, followed by a ton of ridicule, we realized that the word he was looking for was "savvy."

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  52. According to Merriam-Webster's 11th Collegiate Dictionary, the only proper pronunciations of melee or mêlée (both spellings are correct) are MAY-lay and may-LAY. Your alternate universes may vary. ;-)

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  53. My nephew at age 12 used to say "pla-goo".

    Asian fantasy (oriental adventures) has a few, mostly developed through people playing the Legend of the Five Rings games. "Shu-Jenga" for shugenja, "eye-a-jutsu" for iaijutsu and "the code of bushy-dough" are my favorites.

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  54. Even after hearing that everyone pronounces it "Dunwich"

    Oh that's an interesting one. Over here, we'd say "Dunnitch" but I'd imagine that the average American would say "Dun-witch".

    Given HPL's Anglophilia -- it's a Colour out of Space, after all -- I wonder how he intended it?

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  55. Antigone. Which I pronounced as ANTI-GONE, as if I were against being gone, which is true, I think. Then my LIt. teacher pronounced it as "Antig-Oh-Knee" whereupon I felt quite embarrassed, but not as embarrassed as when I dangled my participles.

    This has nothing to do with gaming, but I just thought I'd share. Sharing is good, I'm told. ...

    ...by my therapist.

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  56. In junior high school, a friend of mine and I had different ideas of how to pronounce the Grand Duchy of Geoff (from the World of Greyhawk). One of us said "JEE-off" and the other said "JEFF." I won't say who said what, but I do wonder how it was pronounced by Gygax.

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  57. Given HPL's Anglophilia -- it's a Colour out of Space, after all -- I wonder how he intended it?

    I'm pretty sure it's meant to be pronounced "Dunnich," as in the English town of the same name. While you will find lots of peculiar pronunciations in the US of British place name (like the Thames River in Connecticut which rhymes with "James"), there are also a lot of examples where the original pronunciation is retained (and, in a few cases, where it's retained in the US and has since changed in the UK).

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  58. but I do wonder how it was pronounced by Gygax.

    It's pronounced "Jeff." Like a lot of place names in Greyhawk, it's a play on the name of people associated with the early days of the hobby.

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  59. Boo-lay has me envisioning a four-legged loaf of bread with a massive beak, tunnelling through the earth. I have some bad ones, but the one I remember best was bridge-und, which I thought were a type of troll till the 1e MM filed them under Men.

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  60. It's pronounced "Jeff." Like a lot of place names in Greyhawk, it's a play on the name of people associated with the early days of the hobby.

    I suspected as much.

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  61. I'm glad I'm not alone with the 'brazier' 'brassiere' issue.

    I was describing a room a couple years ago in a game, and said 'hot coals in the brassiere.' My group still mocks me for it to this day.

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  62. Played alot of Planescape back in the day.

    We pronounced Sigil as Sig-ill and tiefling as teef-ling.

    But I've heard Planescape pronounced Plan-escape. So I don't feel so bad. I've always pronounced drow as rhyming with now, and paladin as pal-uh-din, and I've been say boo-lay since '95. Correctness be damned. Boo-lays be damned too, gnome one-shotted it with a spear. Ruined my climactic battle.

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  63. More punctuation than pronunciation, but I remember playing in a game where the DM announced we were fighting a Giant Hill, and we had to point out it was in fact a Giant, Hill or Hill Giant. Ah, commas....

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  64. In regard to Geoff, I've heard it pronounced as "Jawf" as well. I've always gone with "Jeff", personally.

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  65. One word that's really popular with D&D writers is "dweomer"... at a glance, I'm not sure where to even start trying to say it!

    Also, it was awesome that "The Isle of Dread" included a complete pronunciation key for the various places in the Known World.

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  66. We pronounced Sigil as Sig-ill and tiefling as teef-ling.

    Hang on... how is "tiefling" supposed to be pronounced?

    I remember playing in a game where the DM announced we were fighting a Giant Hill, and we had to point out it was in fact a Giant, Hill or Hill Giant.

    Oh I don't know, I think your GM's first idea was more fun!

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  67. I generally tend to ignore the idea of “correct pronunciation”.

    (In the context of medievalish fantasy, I tend to ignore “correct spelling” even more. Don’t bother telling me how your PC’s name is spelt. I spell it like I hear it, like people in the fantasy world probably do, and—as a bonus—then I’ll know how to pronounce it when I check my notes.)

    Like Jeff, I often pronounce “scimitar” as “skimiter”, and I do it intentionally. Just ’cause I like it. I get a bit embarrassed when getting called on “kitadel” instead of “citadel”, but that one’s usually not intentional. And it isn’t because I don’t know the correct pronunciation. It’s just that I don’t care. ^_^

    “Quay” is a good one. I first remember encountering it in a Vance novel, and I don’t remember how long it was before I learned how to pronounce it. “Quillon” is one I probably first encountered in an RPG book, and I think I only learned the correct pronunciation this year.

    “Satyr” I’d probably seen before gaming, but I still don’t think I know the correct pronunciation. (And when we’re talking about ancient Greek words that came to Middle English through either Old French or Latin... We’ll that’s one of the reasons I don’t take “correct pronunciation” too seriously.)

    “Copse” was a word I’d seen before, but I’d always heard it as “corpse” in my head until I used it when running a game and everyone laughed. “A corpse of trees”

    “Familiar” is a word I both wrote and pronounced wrong—“farmilar”—until a gaming buddy corrected me every time he heard me do it.

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  68. I pronounced scimitar as "smiter" when I was 9 or 10, got my best friend doing it as well until we looked it up in the dictionary one day.

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  69. I still think of drow as rhyming with 'owe'.

    A D&D word I'm not sure how to pronounce is 'geas'. Also: 'cacodaemon'.

    Merriam-Webster's website has audio of draught being pronounced as drawft. Somehow I always thought the drinking sense of the word was pronounced rhyming with ought.

    When I worked at Dunkin' Donuts, 'bavarian cream' was amusingly mispronounced a few times. One woman asked for a 'barbarian cream'.

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  70. Oh, and a pet peeve of mine is fantasy names that aren’t phonetically spelled. If you’re going to make up a name from whole cloth anyway, make it something easy to pronounce and spell it like it is pronounced.

    Unless, e.g., you actually invented a language for your fantasy world with its own spelling/pronunciation rules.

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  71. I only found out recently that "bulette" is not BULL-it-ee but is in fact BULL-ay . . . a crucial bit of pronunciation deleted when it jump from The Dragon to the Monster Manual. Who knew?

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  72. The only good way to say "brazier" is "bowls of burning coals."

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  73. To the best of my knowledge, "drow" is a variant of "trow", which is a word from the Norn dialect of Shetland and Orkney. It derives from Old Norse "troll", but has come to mean in folklore "a mischievous* fairy". And it's pronounced like this:

    http://www.shetlanddialect.org.uk/john-j-grahams-shetland-dictionary.php?word=2616

    *As it happens "mischievous" is a word I misread as a youngster, and always pronounced "miss-CHEE-vee-us".

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  74. I can clear up a few things insofar as how they were pronounced at TSR. In no particular order:

    drow = cow ... though that wasn't universal
    Iuz = eye-YOOZ
    Asmodeus = as-mo-DAY-us
    Faerun = Fay-ROON
    duergar = DWAIR-gar
    Juiblex = zhWEE-blex or zhWEE-blix
    bulette = boo-LET (regardless of what Dragon or MC stated)
    otyugh = OH-dee-ug (preferred) or OT-yug (bastardized)
    Drizzt = Dritst or Drizt
    lich = litch
    catoblepas = cat-oh-BLEEP-us
    Tamoachan = tuh-MO-uh-chun (though that's probably incorrect; in nahuatl, which it's mimicking, it probably would be closer to ta-mo-AtCH-an)
    Tharizdun = THAIR-iz-DOON (soundless th, = thumb)
    golem = GO-lem (not GAH-lem)
    ixitxachitl = ish-it-SHOT-shuh-tul
    remorhaz = reh-MOR-haz
    sahuagin = sah-HU-uh-gun
    Rahasia = ruh-HAH-zee-uh
    Thyatis = thy-ATE-us
    jarl = yarl
    illithid = ill-ITH-id
    Tsojcanth = SAHJ-con
    dweomer = dwee-OH-mer
    geas = GEE-us (hard g, as in got -- This one is controversial. Even dictionaries disagree on the correct pronunciation. GEE-us seemed to be what we settled on.)

    Steve

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  75. The problem with boo-LAYs is that they may rick-OTT-chitt...

    Oh - and Dunwich I, like Kelvin, have always pronounced "Dunnitch" largely by analogy with Norwich, which is pronounced "Norritch"...unless you're actually from Norwich in which case I'm told it's called "Nartch".

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  76. Oh, and "bulette" is pronounced "landshark".

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  77. Oh yeah, /drood/ for druid, I still do that sometimes.

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  78. Asmodeus = as-mo-DAY-us

    That's how Christopher Lee pronounces it, and that's good enough for me!

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  79. Sigil is pronounced with a hard G when referring to the City by the Spire, not with a soft G as when referring to a symbol. Zeb and I argued about that a bit, and I let him win.

    Steve

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  80. I believe that duegar should end in a gutteral - DWAR-ghh. Linguistically this became dwarf when it Anglicised from the original Germanic.

    I had one player confused when we wanted to go to Dunn-itch when he wanted to go to Dun-witch. But then we've all been to Lester (Leicester) and Wooster (Worcester).

    The one I always got wrong was the Cult of Geos from early Runequest. I thought it was Gee-oss until someone pointed out the obvious. Even now I'll mispronounced it if I don't think about it. [My excuse was I was a computer scientist so anything ending with OS got pronounced "-oss."]

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  81. http://www.shetlanddialect.org.uk/john-j-grahams-shetland-dictionary.php?word=2616

    That's terrific!

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  82. Wow. All this time I thought it WAS Jubilex...sigh...amazing how I never noticed that before. I guess he didn't come up all that often.

    Eh, I'm sticking with it.

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  83. Juiblex = zhWEE-blex or zhWEE-blix

    Now that's a pronunciation I never expected.

    bulette = boo-LET (regardless of what Dragon or MC stated)

    This one seems obvious to me.

    catoblepas = cat-oh-BLEEP-us

    Ha!

    geas = GEE-us (hard g, as in got -- This one is controversial. Even dictionaries disagree on the correct pronunciation. GEE-us seemed to be what we settled on.)

    Yeah, I sometimes one if there is a proper pronunciation to this word; there seem to be so many variants, even amongst people who have the expertise to be able to weigh in on the subject with any authority.

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  84. At some point there was some audio file of Planescape pronunciations floating about the interwebs. We were shocked to hear Sigil with a hard G and tiefling pronounced tai-fling.

    I couldn't make myself use say "Sijil". It sounded too barmy by far. To me, it was simply The Cage, cutter.

    Incidently, how does one pronounce addle-coved? Is it cOHved or cAHved?

    Surprised no one has mentioned Baatezu and Tan'ari.

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  85. Oh yeah, /drood/ for druid, I still do that sometimes.

    Back in Baltimore, there's a place called Druid Hill Park, but, in the local dialect, it's more typically pronounced something like "Droodle" Park. :)

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  86. Sigil is pronounced with a hard G when referring to the City by the Spire, not with a soft G as when referring to a symbol. Zeb and I argued about that a bit, and I let him win.

    Strangely, that's one of those things I still remember from Planescape, since it's mentioned in the rulebook.

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  87. tiefling pronounced tai-fling.

    Really? That's just bizarre.

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  88. I pronounce bulette like I pronounce the thing that comes out of a gun when fired, and that's that! ;-)

    I also used to make fun of people who pronounced the word "crevasse" correctly. I insisted that it was just another way to spell "crevice." Then I learned the difference, right down to how the former refers to cracks in ice while the latter refers to cracks in rock.

    And is it just me, or did some people, somewhere along the way, somehow start calling rakshasas by the name rahasias? Does the module Rahasia have something to do with that?

    verification: snooke (I didn't know she roleplayed! if you don't get that, your hint is "Jersey Shore")

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  89. I don't know where a pronunciation guide came up with tie-fling. It's always been TEEF-ling, both at TSR and at WotC.

    baatezu = bay-AT-uh-zoo
    tanar'ri = tuh-NAR-ee

    Steve

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  90. There's no telling where we actually found that guide. We had a bad habit of accepting anything we found as gospel. It was a time of blissful ignorance and innocence.

    I had always pronounced baatezu as Bait-zoo. Oklahoman, go figure.

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  91. We say:

    baatezu = bay-tuh-zoo
    tanar'ri = tana-ree

    Oddly, we say "drood" when talking about the D&D class but "droo-id" when talking about real life stuff. Weird. Never thought about it before.

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  92. I use:

    Lich = Lick
    Geas = Gay-us.
    Drow = (rhymes with Row)
    Ixitxachitl = icks-zit-zak-it-til
    Bulette = bul-let

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  93. During a high school lunch D&D session, I 'launched a missile from my TreeBucket'.

    The guy who shot soda from his nose corrected me with Trebuchet.

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  94. treh-buh-KET is a legitimate, secondary pronunciation.

    Steve

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  95. The elephant in this particular room is "grog-nard" rather than the French "groan-yard".

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  96. The elephant in this particular room is "grog-nard" rather than the French "groan-yard".

    You know, I don't think I've ever encountered anyone in gaming who pronounced it the proper, French way. Is it really that common?

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  97. No, I'm probably the only person I know that reads it that way, but I always though there must be some pockets of Canadian gamers identifying themselves as groan-yards. Or Cajun gamers.

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  99. This is such a good topic.

    My DM when I was growing up always said 'dorfs', not dwarves. We never talked about it, and I'm sure he knows how it's supposed to be pronounced, but that's just...how it comes out when he says it.

    Steven: 'sahuagin = sah-HU-uh-gun'

    I've always wondered about that. I'm going to stick with my original pronunciation, sa-hwOG-in. Rhymes with toboggan. It's fun to say. Just really let loose with that second syllable. Like you're a cigar-chomping Texas sheriff in the 70's. It's almost sa-hwOGGin', like a verb meaning 'to hunt sahuagin'.

    Actually, I've said it's fun to say, but I've never said it out loud. Which reminds me of a post by Zak S., a long time ago, in his alphabetical Monster Manual series...here it is. Apologies for appropriating, but I think a lot of us can relate:

    'I really like saying "The Blindheim!" in a sort of evil-scientist/skeksi voice. And I've never used one in a game or, as far as I can remember, ever had a real-life conversation about one, so I've only ever done this when I was alone. Which is a little creepy, I guess.'

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  100. James Maliszewski said...
    I also keep saying "Mal-is-zoo-ski" and "Mal-i-shew-ski" ... not out loud but when I see your name. Is it the former or latter?

    That depends on who you ask :)



    When I first met James, back in 1980ish, he had to phonetically spell his name for me to finally get it. I was only 10 years old or so at the time, so I can understand that one. I think I actually still have the piece of notebook paper with the name written in his own hand. I will have to dig it out this weekend. I distinctly remember his pronunciation though...Mal-a-shes-key

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  101. >>I said liches as LIKES.

    I was very confused for half an hour in my first session with a new group years ago. Couldn't figure out why a vegetable was such a problem. They pronounced liche as LEEK.

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  102. Oh, I also knew a guy who used to pronounce golem with the emphasis on the "lem." Gave me the shivers every time he said "go-LEM."

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  103. I've always read Grognard as "gron-yard" because it's a French word! Then again for Paris we all say PAR-is instead of Par-EE.

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  104. The proper pronunciation for "geas" varies because it depends a lot on what language/dialect you're speaking. Here are the possibilities:

    1. Old Irish
    2. Middle Irish
    3. Early modern Irish
    4. Somewhere in there, the big vowel shift between Scottish Gaelic and Irish Gaelic, and then between various regional dialects, got wider and wider.
    5. Whatever modern form of Gaelic you're speaking.
    6. English, whatever local dialect you're speaking, or whatever other foreign language you've imported "geas" into.

    Since Middle Irish/Early Modern Irish spelled the vowel "ea" (eh-ah), different areas leaned harder on different parts of the vowel. (Think of the name Sean, which is pronounced Shawn or Shane depending on where you're from.)

    Here's what happened to it in Shetland, where it's apparently still a living word, turned into a verb and treated with English/Scots vowel endings:

    http://www.shetlanddialect.org.uk/john-j-grahams-shetland-dictionary.php?word=851

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  105. Woah?

    Steven: 'sahuagin = sah-HU-uh-gun'

    I'm sticking with saw-HAIN

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  106. I always thought lich sounded like "Which"

    but attacked by a "lick"?

    That just sounds...wrong...in a weird, perverted sorta way.

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  107. I was scarred when I saw the Middle English texts calling it a melly, btw. :)

    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight:
    "& quere-so-euer thys mon in melly watz stad."

    Makes it sound like some kind of cookie.

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  108. I always thought lich sounded like "Which"

    It does, as anyone familiar with a lychgate would know :)

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  109. My DM screen had "Liches is bitches" emblazoned on it for a loooooong time.

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  110. Baatezu = "DEV-uhl"
    Tanar'ri = "DEE-muhn"

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  111. I always thought it was "Jubilex", too. I still prefer it.

    Attribute = uh-TRIB-yoot. We pronounced it this way until my best friend's older sister overheard us gaming and loudly corrected us.

    Tiamat = TIE-mat. My friends and I thought it was pronounced this way until the D&D cartoon came on the air.

    Dweomer = du-WEE-o-mer, until I eventually looked it up in a dictionary, which said it was pronounced DWAY-mer.

    Geoff = This one I knew the correct pronunciation for because I knew a guy named Geoff. Which just made it silly for me, so I deliberately pronounced it JEE-off. Now even that bugs me, so I just changed the name entirely.

    Steven, thank you for clearing up Thyatis for me. I've always wondered about that one.

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  112. Every gamer I met in the '80s pronounced Drow as if it rhymed with "go." When I got back into gaming in the last few years, I was astonished to hear 2e, 3e and 4e people rhyme it with "cow."

    In support of drow rhymes with "no," I cited Gygax, and--like ClawCarver--I consulted an old Scots dictionary, though not a nifty online one with sound files for pronunciation guides.

    Moreover, there is the aesthetic argument. When drow rhymes with crow, widow, and bow (the weapon), the word sounds cool and sleek, ominous and sinister. When it rhymes with ow!, wow!, scow, plow, and sow (Ms. Piggy), it just sounds goofy.

    Please, grognards, revive the original pronunciation. Save our children from the drow that rhymes with cow.

    Of course, as kids we mispronounced lots of other things. We said NAWL instead of gnoll, Yack-OOZE-uh instead of Yakuza, prestigitator instead of prestidigitator, puh-sudo dragon, gelatin us cube, etc.

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  113. I think it actually is spelled Jubilex these days.
    Either way I think Jubilex sounds way cooler.

    I have to agree on the Drow front too.

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  114. There was a surprisingly long time when I was young that I pronounced the word "sword" with a hard "w". (Probably several years just mentally sounding it out, but when I had to say it out loud for the first time it got corrected.)

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  115. Scimitar was a problem term for my group- I was guilty of 'skimtar', while my DM said 'simtar' in a way that sounded suspiciously like 'centaur'- resulting in a gazebo-like state of confusion when I insisted on my PC checking to see if a sword we found in a pile of loot was breathing.

    My group always said THAC0 as 'tha-co'. When I met a kid who pronounced it as 'taco', I wasn't sure we were talking about the same game.

    A particularly egregious brain fart while trying to read some one else's handwriting lead me to ask why their character had a weapon proficiency for something called a 'kah niffie'. (knife)

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  116. And actually I have the inverse problem where I pronounce "coup de grace" as per the dictionary (either English or French; with an audible "s'h" at the end), and everyone else I ever game with thinks that's wrong.

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  117. You cannot mispronounce a fantasy name. If I want to say Ee-LAY-drin or TYE-fling, who can possibly correct me? Certainly not an actual elf or demon.

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  118. Am I the only one who pronounced charisma "chuh-risma"? Though in my defense, I was 8 and someone corrected me on it pretty quickly.

    At least I always followed the TSR pronunciation of Tamoachan, whereas a friend of mine somehow turned it into "tuh-mocken."

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  119. I used to pronounce [anything in Empire of the Petal Throne] as [something remotely resembling how it's spelled].

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  120. Great minds think alike, Daniel:

    http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/vocabulary-words-we-learned-by-playing-dungeons-amp-dragons

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  121. And now that I think of it, the 3E PHB Glossary even had the pronounciation to "coup de grace" wrong, if you compare it to any dictionary.

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  122. Yeah, it's not the players' fault that 3e (and I think 4e still) taught everyone to say "coo day GRAH" rather than "coo duh GRAHS." French pronunciation does frequently drop final consonants, but not all consonants, and not when they are followed by "e."

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  123. "I'll take S words for $500, Trebeck."

    "That's 'swords', and I'm leaving"

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  124. I was hooked on phonics before there was hooked on phonics, so I can't think of anything I butchered. I was always the word ninja that corrected everyone else. In the past 30 years of RPG & Wargaming including the 3 years I managed a game store, I have accumulated quite the list of word butchery by others. Here's a list of the Best of Show or Most Annoying word scrambles by fellow gamers or customers:

    P-sonics instead of Psionics.

    Chew-tulu....in fact, discovering Lovecraft at the tender age of 13, I was quite surprised at how many people couldn't pronounce much of his mythos correctly.

    Munsters instead of Monsters.

    Illumiti instead of Illuminati.

    Warhammer provided some of the most egregious offenses since Lovecraft.

    Tuh-zinch for Tzeentch, which proved many people have a problem with silent consonants.

    Slaanesh is usually butchered as Slaneeeesh...

    Operation: Sprechenhaltestelle from Top Secret was awful to listen to.

    And finally, my old manager at the hobby shop who wasn't a gamer used to pronounce Chaosium as chism....

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  125. Muh-KAHB. A slight "r" at the end might also be acceptable, but that's coming from my vague knowledge of French (where the word ought to have three syllables, though the last one might get swallowed up in actual speech).

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  126. Dig out the Indoeuropean part of your dictionary...TSR delved into the INDOEUROPEAN ROOT APPENDIX for all its name conventions in all it's products.

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  127. @ ClawCarver

    "*As it happens "mischievous" is a word I misread as a youngster, and always pronounced "miss-CHEE-vee-us"."

    Hmmm ... actually most people I know say "miss-CHEE-vee-us" - I had to think quite a while before I could come up with an alternate pronunciation.

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  128. @John B. McCarthy

    Really? Interesting. "MISS-chuh-vuss" is the generally accepted pronunciation, at least here in the UK. I take it you're somewhere in North America? Is this one of those American/British things, like tomayto/tomahto and aloominum/alyoominnyum?

    One's place of origin/abode will obviously play a part in pronunciation of unfamiliar words. I'm pretty certain that back in the day I pronounced "lich" and "Tamoachan" with a Scottish "ch" as in "loch". (At least it served me well when I played Toon and encountered the word "chutzpah"!)

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  129. @ClawCarver

    I wouldn't necessarily call it an American/British thing. Maybe in parts of the US. I'm in the US, and everyone I know pronounces it "MISS-chuh-vuss" in normal usage.

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  130. Here's one I thought of over the weekend camping:
    Daemon
    The majority of people I have heard pronounce this out loud, probably five in 20+ years of gaming, pronounce it DAY-mun. I have a couple years of Latin under my belt, and read it as Die-mun, which seems to fall in line with the earlier Greek daimon, who was a powerful spirit or somesuch, been a while since I read on that, so i could be wrong.
    Anyone have an opinion either way?

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  131. I'm another one who thought Tiamat was pronounced Tie-mat for the longest time.

    We also had many arguments about how to pronounce Mjolnir.

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  132. @Tom: Its Mjollnir in old Norse. And it apparently comes from the Indoeuropean word 'meldh' meaning lightning (though I suggest it comes from a combination of words: either Meldh+Nike meaning Lightning Victory or Meldh+Nsi meaning Lightning Sword).

    @Tedopon: Daemon would be Da + Mon ('Da' meaning 'to Divide' and also being the accepted convention for Demon and Pandemonium, 'Mon' meaning 'Neck') No guesses as to what 'to divide neck' means. It originally could have referred to a beheading, or a Siamese twin deformity - in the end either might be considered outcasts of the tribe.

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  133. portcullis - portillicus
    elminster - elminister

    and it's quite popular around here

    ghoul - "gaul" instead of "ghul"
    (basically everybody in my country pronounces it that way)

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  134. Anyone have an opinion either way?

    Well, "daemon" ought to be pronounced like "daimon" if one is using classical Latin phonetics, but I suspect that, in D&D, it was intended to be pronounced "day-mon."

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  135. @tedopon: According to phonetic reconstructions of Classical Greek and Latin, daemon would have been pronounced similar to DIE-moan. Same way you pronounce "die" and "moan" in English, more or less.

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  136. Hehe, english-speaking people have all the trouble with pronunciations...my first language is Spanish, which has strict phonetic rules, so pronunciation issues (or things like spelling contests) are almost unthinkable.

    However, when we try to pronounce words in other languages with the phonetic rules of those languages then trouble arises.

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  137. @ ClawCarver & Gordon Cooper

    Well I'm in Toronto, and about the only consistent thing about local pronunciation (and spelling) is its inconsistency. I had to think about this one a while to figure whether I actually said "miss-CHEE-vee-us" or "MISS-chuh-vuss." I finally came down with the former but realize that I have also used the latter on occasion.

    I find, for example, talking just with my fellow staff members at my school that if a word has more than one possible "common" pronunciation there are usually people on both sides of the divide.

    I don't think we currently have any "tomahto" supporters, but we're definitely split on words like aloominum/alyoominnyum, ah-prah-kot/ape-prih-kot, and sked-jewel/shed-jewel.

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  138. Well I'm in Toronto, and about the only consistent thing about local pronunciation (and spelling) is its inconsistency.

    The primary accent issue in Toronto is that (besides the roughly 50% ESL population) it receives a lot of people from outside of Toronto proper. Even in Ontario, the Thunder Bay accent is much different than the Belleville/Kingston accent, and likewise different from the London/Sarnia accent. I had an ex who said 'Siiighlawn' exactly the same as Michael Hogan.

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  139. Geas should be pronounced "jesh" if you follow the modern pronunciation. Geas is the Scottish spelling of Irish geis. Ixitxachitl strongly resembles a Nahuatl word, in which case it would be "ee sheet sha cheetl" (the tl at the end being pronounced together as one sound). Demon and daemon are actually just spelling variants of the same word. What others say about the Classical pronunciation is correct, "die mawn" but in Medieval Latin it would have been "day mawn."

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