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Pawse

Lestrade pronounciation

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On 4/9/2014 at 9:59 AM, Pawse said:

The current version says "Les-trah-d".

^ Coming from a life-long onomast, this is the correct pronunciation.  'Lestrade' is a French name and the 'a' should be 'ah', not 'ay'.

 

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Yes on BBC Sherlock it is Less Strard.

But annoyingly on the audio Radio stories, Benedict pronounces it Less strayed.

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59 minutes ago, Artemis said:

^ Coming from a life-long onomast, this is the correct pronunciation.  'Lestrade' is a French name and the 'a' should be 'ah', not 'ay'.


Well, you taught me a new word ("A person who studies proper names, especially personal names").  But I'm kinda one of those too, and I disagree.  In my opinion, a person's name is pronounced however that person wants it to be pronounced.

As an example, I have no idea exactly how a Greek person (either ancient or modern) would pronounce "Artemis," but I'm gonna guess you probably don't pronounce it quite that way.  However it's your name (because you've chosen it), and you're from the Midwestern US, so you presumably give it the usual Midwestern pronunciation, and therefore that's how your name is correctly pronounced.

I knew a well-educated and very knowledgeable man from Indiana whose first name was "Goethe," which is of course a German name, but he (or probably his parents) had Americanized the pronunciation to "Gatey" -- which I think was logical, because otherwise hardly anyone he met would have been able to pronounce his name.

As for my own name, there are two common ways for English speakers to pronounce "Carol" -- most Americans (including me) pronounce the "a" like the "e" in "bed," but some Americans (and most British people) pronounced it like the "a" in "cat."  I don't expect or even want people who speak one of the latter dialects to switch to my pronunciation.  It would be awkward for them, and could even sound like they were mocking my pronunciation.  So if anyone asks, I tell them "it's pronounced just like in Christmas carol."  (Hardly anyone ever does ask, though, they just pronounce it the way they pronounce it, which is fine with me.)

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As some of you may know, I am an English woman living in Scotland.

Now I vary:

sometimes I think the English say things better and sometimes the Scots.

For example, I think Scots are quite right to say : eye-ron, for the metal 'iron'.

In English we do tend just to pronounce it the same as 'ion'.

However, for the man's name Carl/Karl, however you wish to spell it...

to me, Scots pronounce it 'Carol/Karol...which drives me nuts!

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22 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

In my opinion, a person's name is pronounced however that person wants it to be pronounced.

I (mostly) agree with that when it's a real person; a person should get to tell other people how they want their name pronounced.  But when we're talking about fictional characters, and we can't ask the author how he would have pronounced it, then I default to the linguistic origin (taking into account the nationality of the character and how they themselves might pronounce it based on where they live).

You and I have disagreed on this before, but I generally think that there are ways of saying (some) things that are "more correct" than others, and I don't accept that all variations are equally correct just because someone didn't know how to say the original.  Take, for example, the word "nuclear".  In some regions, it's not uncommon to hear people say "nucular".  I, personally, would say that that's the "wrong" way to pronounce it, regardless how widespread it has become.  I can't stop people from pronouncing it that way, and I won't try; but I still think it's incorrect.  If tomorrow the whole of Texas started calling the country "Americay", I wouldn't just nod and agree that that's an equally valid pronunciation; I would say, "That's not how it's pronounced."

That's just me though, and I know many would argue with me.  I'm a bit less rigid about names, but until Sir Arthur Conan Doyle can rise up and correct me (or I see very compelling evidence to the contrary), I maintain that "Le-strahd" is the most correct way to pronounce the name.

 

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14 hours ago, Artemis said:

... when we're talking about fictional characters, and we can't ask the author how he would have pronounced it, then I default to the linguistic origin (taking into account the nationality of the character and how they themselves might pronounce it based on where they live).


I agree!  But based on those criteria, we still don't know for sure how to pronounce Greg's last name.  From what I've read (mostly on this thread and links from it), a well-educated British person would indeed be likely to pronounce it "le-strahd."  BUT Greg seems to be (and Lestrade is traditionally) a bit more working class, so (especially if he comes from a Cockney family), he might well pronounce it "le-straid" -- and if Sherlock were wanting to be polite, he might pronounce it that way as well (but of course he isn't, so of course he doesn't).  Or if Greg has aspirations, he might well pronounce it "le-strahd" (which he may well do, for all we know).

How many people have we heard pronounce the name on BBC Sherlock?  Sherlock himself calls him almost exclusively by his last name.  John sometimes refers to him by his full name.  As somebody pointed out a ways back, nobody remembers hearing Greg himself say the name except in the pilot (which is not really Sherlock canon).  But more to the point, I don't recall ever hearing anybody on this show call him "le-straid," so by Occam's Razor it's "le-strahd" in the BBC Sherlock universe.  :D

 

 

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6 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

BUT Greg seems to be (and Lestrade is traditionally) a bit more working class, so (especially if he comes from a Cockney family), he might well pronounce it "le-straid"

I considered that as well, but I think it's unlikely.  For one thing, England and France had a relationship, and back in the day even many working-class Englishmen were regularly exposed to French culture and language.  But more to the point, especially among the working class, surnames would have been passed down orally first and foremost.  I could see an Englishman from outside the family reading the name and mispronouncing it, but surely Lestrade himself would have heard it correctly from his forebears.  Pronunciation could have shifted somewhere down the family line, but there aren't many reasons to suppose that might have happened.  In America (I'm sure you know), a lot of surnames were butchered during immigration, as some immigrants didn't know how to write their names, and the people recording them either misheard them or didn't know the foreign languages well enough to record them correctly, so they just anglicized them the best they could.  Many immigrants were anxious to assimilate and also unfamiliar with English when they arrived, so they just accepted the misspellings and mispronunciations given by the English-speakers and adopted them as the family name over time.  This sometimes happened with immigrants in England too, but not to the same extent.  It's much more likely that 'Lestrade' would have been preserved with its original pronunciation.

Additionally: Author intent.  Names are important to most authors, they tend to be meticulous about them.  Unless Doyle himself didn't know how it was supposed to be pronounced, I doubt he would have picked a name for his character which he then deliberately mispronounced.  If he did, he would have been using it to point something out, such as the character being uneducated.  But as far as I'm aware, we don't see any sort of discussion like that in the books.

So all in all, you are right, I do concede that we can't be 100% sure.  But I'm 98% sure, lol.

 

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2 hours ago, Artemis said:

For one thing, England and France had a relationship, and back in the day even many working-class Englishmen were regularly exposed to French culture and language.  But more to the point, especially among the working class, surnames would have been passed down orally first and foremost.  I could see an Englishman from outside the family reading the name and mispronouncing it, but surely Lestrade himself would have heard it correctly from his forebears.


That's what I would have assumed.  But somewhere around here -- OK, on the first page of this thread, Bakerstreet Irregular quoted a short piece (this one: http://www.mayhematics.com/f/lestrade.htm ) in which an elderly Lestrade explains that his father and grandfather "always gave the name the Cockney pronunciation 'Lest-raid' rather than 'Le-strahd' as people educated in French tend to read it."  The author is one G. P. Jellis, who I suspect to be the same individual who published a games journal

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/mathematical-gazette/article/games-and-puzzles-journal-edited-and-published-by-g-p-jellis-99-bohemia-road-st-leonards-on-sea-tn37-6rs-5-for-6-successive-issues-issn-0267369-x/9E7298D9682DA0C615DE6679930084BF )

from a UK address, so I would assume s/he is correct about Cockneys using a different pronunciation.  So I would consider that to be a definite possibility for how the "real" Inspector pronounced his name.  But that's in the original Holmes universe.  By the 21st century in the BBC Sherlock universe, Greg's family has apparently re-frenchified their name.

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Also, it just occurred to me that Jeremy Brett, who was a renowned stickler for authenticity, used the "le-straid" pronunciation.  Surely he didn't just make that up!

But again, that would belong to the original Holmes universe, not the current-day Sherlock universe.

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56 minutes ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

So I would consider that to be a definite possibility for how the "real" Inspector pronounced his name.  But that's in the original Holmes universe.

It's interesting, and certainly not out of the realm of possibility; but for me it's just too much of an assumption to make based on too little, when (in my opinion) there is stronger logic in favor of 'Lestrahd'.

Just to clarify, I'm not denying that there is a Cockney pronunciation.  I'm just arguing against the idea that it's the one Doyle intended for the character.  Names don't always simulate one's accent (i.e. I speak with an American accent but my name is still pronounced as it was in its country of origin), and Doyle was an educated man.

 

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49 minutes ago, Artemis said:

I'm not denying that there is a Cockney pronunciation.  I'm just arguing against the idea that it's the one Doyle intended for the character.  Names don't always simulate one's accent (i.e. I speak with an American accent but my name is still pronounced as it was in its country of origin), and Doyle was an educated man.


And a Scotsman as well, certainly not a Cockney!  Of course it's said that he named the character after someone he'd been in school with, and we don't know for sure how that fellow pronounced it.  But I will concede the likelihood that Doyle pronounced it in the French style.

But just to be contrary -- simply because a writer pronounces a character's name a certain way, I don't think that necessarily means the character would say it that way.  I mean, if there were a real-life person with that name, living in the same place and time, with the same characteristics, in some cases they'd most likely say it a different way, simply because they speak a different dialect from the author, or live in a different era, etc.  I suspect that Brett based his pronunciation on research into how the "real" Inspector Lestrade would likely have pronounced his name.  Obviously no guarantees, though!

 

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2 minutes ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

But just to be contrary -- simply because a writer pronounces a character's name a certain way, I don't think that necessarily means the character would say it that way.  I mean, if there were a real-life person with that name, living in the same place and time, with the same characteristics, in some cases they'd most likely say it a different way, simply because they speak a different dialect from the author, or live in a different era, etc.  I suspect that Brett based his pronunciation on research into how the "real" Inspector Lestrade would likely have pronounced his name.  Obviously no guarantees, though!

Oh yeah, I agree with that.  If we're talking about Lestrade as a hypothetical real person, that's a whole different debate.

This is the best forum for being contrary.  :D

 

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There's a third pronunciation used in the motion picture “Murder by decree” from 1979: [Lestrad], ending on the same sound as in “bad” or “had”.

Sherlock Holmes (Christopher Plummer): [Reacting to the tardiness of the Prince of Wales] I suppose since, after all, he's only the Prince of Wales, we should not expect the same degree of courtesy.

Dr. John H. Watson (James Mason): And since you are the Prince of Detectives, Holmes, I don't think you should presume to criticize a man who one day will be King of England.

Sherlock Holmes: [amused] Well done, Watson! You have cut me to the quick. Hmm! Only the Prince of Detectives, you say? Then who, pray tell, is the King?

Dr. John H. Watson: Lestrade, of course.

[Holmes laughs]

 

Edited by Carol the Dabbler
Retyped quotes from the film in order to make them visible. (I don't understand it, but the forum software sometimes likes to make text the same color as the background, even if one specifies "Automatic" text color.)

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Hello, Dosmer -- and welcome to Sherlock Forum!  :welcome:

Thanks for the additional pronunciation.  "Lestrad" seems odd, since the name has an "e" on the end, which should make for a long "a" -- but then "bade" (past tense of "bid") is often (and properly) pronounced "bad" for no apparent reason.

What do you think of that movie overall?  (I've heard of it, but have never seen it, and am having trouble imagining James Mason as Watson.)

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Yes; the English language can be very confusing at times! 

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