Name Pronunciations

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Postby Guest » 02/22/06 08:26 PM

I sometimes have a tendency to ask unimportant questions. We have servicemen and women dying overseas, hurricanes, tsunamis, and terrorists and all I can think about is how to correctly pronounce some magician's names. I apologize for the triviality of this post.

David Devant
Is it De-vahnt OR De-vant (like can't)

John Nevil Maskelyne
Is it Mask-uh-lin OR Mask-uh-lean

John Scarne
Is it Scarn OR Scar-nee

Bautier De Kolta
Is it Baw-tee-air OR Bow-tee-air (as in 'take a bow')

Alexander Herrmann
Is it Her-min OR Her-mon

Jean Hugard
Is it Hyu-gard OR Who-gard
Is it Jean (as in the girl's name) OR Jhon (as in a French man's name)

Robert-Houdin
Is it Who-din OR Who-dan
Is it Rah-burt OR Row-bair

Servais Leroy
Is it Ser-vase OR Ser-vise

Milbourne Christopher
Is it Mil-burn OR Mil-born

Jack Chanin
Is it Chah-nin OR Chay-nin OR Chan-in

Dai Vernon
Is it Day or Die (I think if you're from the West Coast it's Day, if you're from the East Coast it's Die...but WHY?)

Karl Fulves
Is it Fullvs OR Full-vez

Darwin Ortiz
Is it Or-tiz OR Or-teez

Jon Racherbaumer
Is it Rock-er-bomber OR Ratch-er-bomber OR Rock-er-bowmer

Pete Biro
Is it Bye-ro OR Beer-ro
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Postby BlueEyed Videot » 02/22/06 09:06 PM

Jay Ose
Is it Oos or O-see?

Equivoque
(just kidding Max)
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 02/22/06 09:22 PM

I like trivia. I'll take a shot:


David Devant
De-vahnt

John Nevil Maskelyne
Mask-uh-lin

John Scarne
Scar-nee

Bautier De Kolta
Bow-te-air

Alexander Herrmann
Her-min

Jean Hugard
Hyu-gard
Jean

Robert-Houdin
Who-da (soft n)
Row-bair

Servais Leroy
Ser-vay LeRoy

Milbourne Christopher
Mil-born

Jack Chanin
I believe it's Sha-nin

Dai Vernon
I personally heard him use "Die"

Karl Fulves
Full-vez

Darwin Ortiz
Or-teez

Jon Racherbaumer
Rock-er-bowmer

Pete Biro
Bye-ro

Jay O-see
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Postby Philippe Billot » 02/23/06 01:20 AM

I know that in a lot of english magic books, you read BAUTIER DE KOLTA but his stage name was BUATIER (inversion) DE KOLTA and his real name was Joseph Buatier. I don't know how to pronounce in english.
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Postby Anthony Brahams » 02/23/06 02:22 AM

It is David De-vant, like ant, the insect. Can't only the American (or Northern England) way because in Southern England it is carnt.

We are two nations divided by a common language, always attributed as a quotation said, or written in a letter, by G B Shaw; no printed quotation has been found, I believe.
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Postby Rafael Benatar » 02/23/06 02:51 AM

in French Buatier
in Spanish: Buati
In English I guess it's something like: boo-ah-tee-a
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 02/23/06 08:51 AM

I'd say "Boo-a-tee-yay", more or less like the French.

And "ek-we-voke" (rather than "ek-wi-vo-kay" or other variants) for "equivoque"...

What about Bruce Cervon? Is it ser-VON of SER-von?
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Postby Guest » 02/23/06 09:59 AM

The only one I don't agree with on Dustin, and that doesn't mean he is wrong it means I pronounce things wrong, is Scarne I would pronounce Scarn. For Dai I always said Die and those that knew him that I've met said Die while those that didn't had some that used Day. Die sounds cooler.
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Postby Guest » 02/23/06 10:49 AM

I'm told that Dai Vernon didn't mind whether people pronounced it Dye or Day.

Dai is a Welsh name, and in the UK it's invariably pronounced Dye.

I wonder whether his name became known in North America via the written word, and Canadians and Americans assumed (not unreasonably) that Dai was pronounced Day. Whereas we, as Brits, knew that Dai was pronounced Dye.

And hence its established pronunciation in North America became Day. And by the time it was realised that that was wrong, it was too deeply entrenched. And so it stayed as Day.

But thats totally surmise on my part.

I'm told that he and Roy Walton were close friends, and that Roy always referred to him as Dye (not Day).

Dave
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 02/23/06 11:05 AM

Im quite certain about Scarne being Scar-nee. Two reasons: I first saw him on the Tomorrow show with Tom Snyder when I was a kid. Back then I would have bet that his name was pronounced Scarn as well, but Snyder introduced him as Scar-nee. So that stuck in my memory. Then years later, I heard Vernon, who was friends with Scarne, pronounce it Scar-nee.

Yes, Vernon didnt mind having his name pronounced as Day, but I always heard him pronounce it as Dye.

Here's another one:

Dante.

Is it "Dahn-tay" or "Dan-tee"?

I used to say Dahn-tay like most people do. But I say "Dan-tee" now because that is how Moi-Yo Miller says it. She did thousands of performances with the man: Id bet shed know how to say his name. If its good enough for her, its good enough for me!

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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 02/23/06 11:35 AM

About Day vs. Die:

My understanding about it is that those who knew him from New York called him Day, and those who encountered him after he left New York called him Die.

The reason for this is that the NY people originally called him David or Dave, since that was his name. When the typo in the newspaper resulted in "Dai" -- and he adopted it -- they interpreted it as an abbreviation of sorts for David and pronounced it accordingly.

Those who encountered him later on, or who only encountered him via the written word, tend to pronounce it as "Die". I think most people who see the word "Dai", without any other context, would pronounce it that way.

I don't think that, as Dave Le Fevre (btw, how is your last name pronounced?) suggested, "Day" is the common pronunciation in North America. I think that "Day" is actually much less common and is mostly restricted to those who knew him from his NY days. At least, that's been my experience.

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Postby David Alexander » 02/23/06 11:44 AM

Dustin is correct. Scarne pronounced his name "Scar-nee" even naming one of his games "Scarney" - same pronunciation, different spelling.
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Postby Guest » 02/23/06 12:03 PM

Originally posted by Jim Maloney:
Dave Le Fevre (btw, how is your last name pronounced?)
My usual response to that is "However you like". Its pronunciation and spelling floor most Brits. (Which is ironic, since it's French for that most common of British names, Smith.)

My father, despite being an ardent Francophile, Anglicised its pronunciation (for convenience) to Luh-Fay-Vruh. I pronounce it Luh-Feh-Vruh.

I usually write it with a grave accent (Le Fvre), so that should make the pronunciation obvious.

Dave
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Postby Todd Karr » 02/23/06 12:38 PM

Here's my opinion as someone who speaks fluent French (and semi-fluent English):

Buatier: A Frenchman would pronounce this boo-ah-tee-ay, but an American can acceptably say bwah-tee-ay.

Robert-Houdin: In French, it's row-bear hoo-da (the last sylable is a nasal vowel sound pronounced like "Dan" but without an "n."). In English, you can pronounce it like the French or else say the final "n" as in "Row-bear Hoo-Dan."

(Or, as the late Bob Lund delighted in reminding me, you can pronounce it like Dan Waldron's joke and call him "Bob Houdin," pronouncing the last name as "Hoo-din," accent on the first syllable like a good Midwesterner.)
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Postby Richard Hatch » 02/23/06 01:11 PM

Originally posted by Todd Karr:

Robert-Houdin: In French, it's row-bear hoo-da (the last sylable is a nasal vowel sound pronounced like "Dan" but without an "n."). In English, you can pronounce it like the French or else say the final "n" as in "Row-bear Hoo-Dan."
Todd, isn't the "H" silent in French:
"row-bear oo-da"?
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Postby Philippe Billot » 02/23/06 01:42 PM

[/QUOTE]Todd, isn't the "H" silent in French:
"row-bear oo-da"? [/QB][/QUOTE]

Yes, it is the "H" Silent.

Regarding BUATIER, it's very difficult for an english to pronounce a french "U" because you have no correspondence. If you say BOO, we write and pronounce it in french "BOU".
Even an Italian, when he sees a french "U", says "OU".
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Postby Steve Cohen » 02/23/06 01:58 PM

The pronunciation of David Devant's last name rhymes with "can't" (American usage). I always assumed it would be pronounced De-vahnt, but was proved wrong at The Magic Circle in London. They have a room on the second floor devoted to David Devant, and all of the Circle's top officers and members call it the Devant (to rhyme with the American "can't") Room.
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 02/23/06 02:34 PM

Originally posted by David Alexander:
Dusting is correct. Scarne pronounced his name "Scar-nee" even naming one of his games "Scarney" - same pronunciation, different spelling.
I read somewhere that he deliberately named the board game that way to underline how his name should be pronounced.

Interesting about Dante. I always assumed it was "Dahn-tay", and it's going to be hard to change.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 02/23/06 03:31 PM

I used to think David Acer's last name was pronounced "ack-er" until I saw he published one of this tricks with the title "twisting the Acer," so now I know it's "ace-er". Phew!
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Postby Guest » 02/23/06 04:14 PM

Don't scorn me for Scarn! I now accept Scarny. Now for Acer, I thought it was Ace-er and some Cunuckistian told me it was Acker. I demand answers!
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Postby John LeBlanc » 02/23/06 04:21 PM

Originally posted by Steve V':
I demand answers!
"You are Number Six."

John
http://www.escamoteurettes.com/blog/
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Postby NCMarsh » 02/23/06 04:45 PM

my stab at a phonetic pronunciation of Buatier en anglais:

Buh-wah-tee-ay
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Postby Bill Duncan » 02/23/06 05:56 PM

Originally posted by INFANTINO:
Dai Vernon
Is it Day or Die (I think if you're from the West Coast it's Day, if you're from the East Coast it's Die...but WHY?)
You have that one backwards. East coast folks say "Day", as Herb Zarrow does on his recent video on the Z shuffle.

His birth name was David Verner and when he came south to the US from Canada folks back East called pronounced it day, short for David.

It wasn't until after his books were published and people knew him only as Dai Vernon, instead of David Verner, that the mispronunciation of his first (nick)name occurred.

As I understand it he enjoyed the bi-coastal discrepancy as it afforded him a joke when asked how to pronounce his name. He would respond Either, either.

An interesting bit of trivia: in Canada his last name is pronounced Ak-Er.
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Postby magicam » 02/24/06 02:48 AM

What about Arnold de Biere?
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Postby Philippe Billot » 02/24/06 03:44 AM

I'm trying to translate like a rebus

Are N' Hold de (french "E" not di) Bee Hair
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Postby Jacky Kahan » 02/24/06 04:52 AM

Todd,

If i may add...(regarding "Robert Houdin")
"Row-bear Hoo-Dan" i agree except that Row is like in english Row but you do not pronounce the "w" and the "Hoo" should be with a very soft "h" almost oodain...

so the correct formula according to my humble self should be :

"Ro(-w)-bear (H)oo-Dan"..

:)

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Postby magicam » 02/24/06 12:25 PM

Doesn't the "R" in Robert come from the back of the throat a bit? Not a big rolling "R" like one might see in a Spanish pronunciation, but a slightly gutteral "R"? With guys like Todd, Philippe and Jacky opining here, I'm out of my league so far as French goes, but when I am speaking (my very mediocre) French, I do not pronounce the "R" hard.

Re "de Biere," I always pronounced "biere" just like I would for the French word for beer. Is that correct?

Clay

P.S. Thanks to Infantino and participants for a delightful diversion. CHS
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 02/24/06 12:53 PM

Originally posted by INFANTINO:
...Robert-Houdin
Is it Who-din OR Who-dan
Is it Rah-burt OR Row-bair...
Thought it was Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin
Mundus vult decipi
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Postby Jacky Kahan » 02/24/06 12:54 PM

Yes Clay,

you are right... The R in Robert is as you said... from the back of the throat.. :)

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Postby Philippe Billot » 02/25/06 01:00 AM

Originally posted by Magicam:

Re "de Biere," I always pronounced "biere" just like I would for the French word for beer. Is that correct?

Clay

Yes, you are right, if you know to pronounce beer in french, that's say "bire", it's the same for Arnold.
I don't know how old you are but if you have heard the late Maurice Chevalier speaking in english with a french accent, you know that often, "we speak with our throat"
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Postby Todd Karr » 02/25/06 08:13 AM

Yep, in French, it's got silent h. My hasty error. In English, you can safely pronounce the "h."
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Postby Richard Hatch » 02/25/06 10:46 AM

I'm not sure Arnold de Biere's name should necessarily be given a French pronunciation, since he was clearly not French himself (though billed as such at one point in his career). He was raised in America and held citizenship here, but he spent most of his career in England, though he enjoyed success throughout Europe and in the US. His actual birth origins are somewhat ambiguous as is his real name (there are conflicting dates, places and names in the literature). So, just as Devant chose a French stage name, but we don't give it a French pronunciation, I'm not sure how De Biere would have wanted his name pronounced. I'd say a range of pronunciations would work, in his case.
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Postby Guest » 02/25/06 11:35 AM

Originally posted by Richard Hatch:
I'm not sure Arnold de Biere's name should necessarily be given a French pronunciation, since he was clearly not French himself.....
I'm not French (born in England, English father, German mother), but I have a French surname to which I give a French pronunciation.

As you say, De Biere's name could be pronounced in several ways. And it depends whether he spelled it De Biere or De Bire.

Surnames that are "obviously" French can be a bit of a hazard in Belgium. I worked with a Ward Monsieurs, who pronounced his surname Mon-Sewers (that's Sewers as in drains, not as in people who sew). And the racing cycling Michel Pollentier pronounces his name Pollen-Teer, with the stress on the final syllable.

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Postby David Alexander » 03/01/06 10:49 AM

In doing research for my book on 20th Century silhouette artists I've run into a few old timers who knew Vernon way back. They were not magicians, but people who knew Vernon as a silhouette artist. They always referred to him as "Dave."

My theory is that the pronunciation of his name became truncated to "DaVernon" with the "ve" of "Dave" being lost with people's lazy tongues who wouldn't enunciate the syllables. The pronunciation ended up being "Day Vernon" and the shortened name stuck.
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Postby Guest » 03/01/06 01:20 PM

You know, that makes sense. I have one of those names that runs together. Steve Vaughn often becomes Stevaughn and folks are not sure what my first name is. Often those who speak to me think it is Dave (also due to my remaining Southern accent).
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Postby David Alexander » 03/01/06 09:01 PM

One old-timer who worked with Vernon at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair remembered him as never wanting to work...always wanting to do card tricks. He called him "Dave."

From what he told me personally, Vernon didn't care for the woman who had the main concession there..."horrible, horrible woman," was Vernon's description to me. She probably made him toe the line and do the work.

Another old-timer also referenced him as "Dave."

"Stee" Vaughn....maybe you're on to something.
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 03/01/06 09:37 PM

I have a couple of newspaper articles from the 30's that reference him as "Dave".

Also, every one of the older guys in the NY crowd that I've spoken to (including Sol Stone, Wesley James, and Ken Krenzel) call him "Day".

-Jim
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Postby Ian Kendall » 03/02/06 06:49 AM

I had a chat with Pat Page about this on the weekend; I've cleaned up the second volume of 'From the End of my Cigar' so Pat can put it out on CD. I asked him about the name thing (Day, Die) since I've always known it as Die, but Pat calls him Day on the tape.

He said that when people first saw Dai, they thought it was a Welsh name and gave it the Welsh pronounciation.

Still, in retrospect, nothing to do with the whole 'Dave' think after all. Oh well.

Take care, Ian
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Postby Guest » 03/02/06 11:56 AM

I'm reading the book on Vernons search for the center deal and there was a reference to the name Dai. It said that Dai won a diving contest and the Ottawa paper put his name as Dai rather than David in error. He later found out that Dai was a deviation of the name David in Welsh. As for the pronunciation he would reply "it is eee-ther or eye-ther". I'm sticking with Die cuz it sounds much cooler than Day.
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Postby Pete Biro » 03/02/06 02:01 PM

Actually, it is Mr. Vernon.

But... is is Hundye or Hunday ??? The car?
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