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Off topic: Pronunciation of "Poulenc"
Thread poster: Jenny Forbes

Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:26
Member (2006)
French to English
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Apr 3, 2007

Can any kind French colleagues tell me the correct way to pronounce the name of the French composer Poulenc?
I listen to the BBC's Radio 3 a lot - an erudite channel mostly for classical music.
The announcers *always* pronounce Poulenc as if it ended in "in", as in "vin" or "individu", but I thought that "en" in French should be pronounced with an "open" vowel, as in "encre", "rentrée", etc.
Please enlighten me!
Jenny.


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Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:26
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English to Hungarian
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The Longman Pronunciation Dictionary says Apr 3, 2007

Poulenc ["pu:l\ae\ng || French: pul\~\ae k]
where
\ae is raised open front unrounded wovel, English "trap, bad",
\ng is the voiced velar nasal, English "ng"
while \~\ae is the nazalized raised open front unrounded wovel, French "in" (like in "pain").
HTH
Attila

[Edited at 2007-04-03 08:34]


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:26
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TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, Attila Apr 3, 2007

Attila Piróth wrote:

Poulenc ["pu:l\ae\ng || French: pul\~\ae k]
where
\ae is raised open front unrounded wovel, English "trap, bad",
\ng is the voiced velar nasal, English "ng"
while \~\ae is the nazalized raised open front unrounded wovel, French "in" (like in "pain").
HTH
Attila

[Edited at 2007-04-03 08:34]


Thank you, Attlia,
So if I've understood you, the BBC is pronouncing Poulenc correctly, to rhyme with "cinq", yes?
Regards,
Jenny.


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Daniel Bird  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:26
German to English
Personal experience... Apr 3, 2007

A late friend of mine who knew Poulenc personally always pronounced his name as described by Attila/Longman.
DB


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Rebecca Hendry  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:26
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
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Poulenc Apr 3, 2007

Hi Jenny,

I know it doesn't help explain it but I played a Poulenc piece for my grade 8 flute exam many years ago and my teachers and examiners all pronounced it in the way you describe as well.

Cheers!

Becky.


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Richard Benham  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:26
German to English
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According to Larousse... Apr 3, 2007

...and this is how I've always heard it, it’s pronounced as if spelt “Poulinque”. They actually use phonetic notation, but my HTML skills don’t extend to doing an epsilon with a tilde over it. Certainly, this is how I have always heard and pronounced the name, although I am not a native speaker of French and don’t remember where I first heard it.

I know there are other examples where -en- is pronounced as if spelt -in-, but I can’t think of any. Except, of course, among people from the Midi, who are known to say in bin vin blinc....


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Jim Tucker  Identity Verified
United States
Hungarian to English
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bbc link on this very subject Apr 3, 2007

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/magazinemonitor/2006/11/how_to_say_francis_poulenc.shtml

(or it might be bbc "lanque" - I'm not sure)

[Edited at 2007-04-03 09:26]


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 14:26
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Why care Apr 3, 2007

Has anyone ever heard any French person pronounce any foreign name correctly?
Just kidding. Most English pronounce "van Beethoven" like "wan BeetHOUwen" in German spelling instead of "fan BEEThofen".
Cheers
Heinrich


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TvNellen
United States
Local time: 06:26
English to Dutch
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Examen Apr 3, 2007

Richard Benham wrote:

I know there are other examples where -en- is pronounced as if spelt -in-, but I can’t think of any. Except, of course, among people from the Midi, who are known to say in bin vin blinc....



Hi Richard,

Examen is one...


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 13:26
Italian to English
Precisely, Heinrich Apr 3, 2007

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

Has anyone ever heard any French person pronounce any foreign name correctly?

Heinrich


Winston Churchill agreed with the French on that one:

"Everybody has a right to pronounce foreign names as he chooses" (in The Observer, 5 August 1951).

Cheers,

Giles


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Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:26
Member
English to Hungarian
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Why care Apr 3, 2007

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

Has anyone ever heard any French person pronounce any foreign name correctly?


Why care - this is a very interesting question. And whether we can speak of "the" correct pronunciation is another one.
I particularly like the Longman Dictionary of Pronunciation because it lists both (English and original) pronunciations for a lot of proper names.
Having a localized version for "Alexander the Great" ("Nagy Sándor" in Hungarian) shows the importance of the person to the culture in question. The same goes for place names: Vienna, Bratislava, Venise, Naples, Paris all have different names in Hungarian - and the situation is very similar in a lot of languages.
As for pronunciation, the same may apply to some extent. More to the point, including a word with distinctly foreign sounds may be unnatural or even considered pretentious. Heinrich's example, Beethoven illustrates this point quite well (Perhaps "Eiffel" would have been my example.) Nevertheless when speaking (in English) with a German, you might be inclined to pronounce Beethoven the German way.
I am sure most of us have some first-hand experience of mispronouncing a proper name and feeling quite embarassed, or correcting the other when not using the original-language pronuncation (e.g., "Puskás", the football legend is pronounced in Hungarian with "sh" and not "s"). I remember a very fervent discussion at proZ.com 3 or 4 years ago about the way "Rubik" should be pronounced. It has shown that this is a very sensitive issue indeed.
Attila


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:26
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Thank you, everyone Apr 3, 2007

Attila Piróth wrote:

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

Has anyone ever heard any French person pronounce any foreign name correctly?


Why care - this is a very interesting question. And whether we can speak of "the" correct pronunciation is another one.
I particularly like the Longman Dictionary of Pronunciation because it lists both (English and original) pronunciations for a lot of proper names.
Having a localized version for "Alexander the Great" ("Nagy Sándor" in Hungarian) shows the importance of the person to the culture in question. The same goes for place names: Vienna, Bratislava, Venise, Naples, Paris all have different names in Hungarian - and the situation is very similar in a lot of languages.
As for pronunciation, the same may apply to some extent. More to the point, including a word with distinctly foreign sounds may be unnatural or even considered pretentious. Heinrich's example, Beethoven illustrates this point quite well (Perhaps "Eiffel" would have been my example.) Nevertheless when speaking (in English) with a German, you might be inclined to pronounce Beethoven the German way.
I am sure most of us have some first-hand experience of mispronouncing a proper name and feeling quite embarassed, or correcting the other when not using the original-language pronuncation (e.g., "Puskás", the football legend is pronounced in Hungarian with "sh" and not "s"). I remember a very fervent discussion at proZ.com 3 or 4 years ago about the way "Rubik" should be pronounced. It has shown that this is a very sensitive issue indeed.
Attila



Thank you, again, Attila, and everyone who answered.
Heinrich, I don't CARE exactly, or think it MATTERS, or want to raise a sensitive issue, I was just interested in the correct pronunciation of that particular name, especially by the BBC which I believe goes to some lengths to pronounce foreign names correctly, and was sure that the combined grey cells of the Prozians would provide the answer.
So it seems that the BBC is right and Poulenc is pronounced as if it rhymed with "cinq", which has resolved my query. And Poulenc must have known how to pronounce his own name! Perhaps he was a mériodinal? Ooops! I hope I haven't inadvertently raised another sensitive issue ...
Yours,
Jenny.


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Helene Martin-Hernandez  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:26
English to French
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Absolutely Apr 3, 2007

Hello all,

As the first (only?) French native to reply to this thread, I confirm that Poulenc should rhyme with cinq. Although, I'm from Southern France, so I may have a slight tendendy to exaggerate my pronunciations (I would make it sound like something along the lines of "pouleïnk"), but the correct pronunciation still corresponds to the phonetics given by Attila.

I also confirm that we, the French, always have problems to pronounce foreign names, and we always "transform" them to give them a French-like pronunciation, otherwise it would be too difficult, you see...

If you're in England and watch cooking programmes, you probably know what I mean

Have a good day!
Hélène


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Stéphanie Argentin  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 13:26
Member (2008)
Italian to French
+ ...
It's correct, Poulenc rhyme with "cinq" Apr 3, 2007

I'm an another French native but from the Northern France and I confirm that the name Poulenc has to be pronunciated like this "Poulinq".

Good bye

Stéphanie


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Richard Benham  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:26
German to English
+ ...
Thanks.... Apr 4, 2007

TvNellen wrote:

Richard Benham wrote:

I know there are other examples where -en- is pronounced as if spelt -in-, but I can’t think of any. Except, of course, among people from the Midi, who are known to say in bin vin blinc....



Hi Richard,

Examen is one...



That was the one I was trying to think of! It’s amazing in retrospect that, even reading about Rebecca’s flute exam, I still couldn’t think of it.... Maybe traumatic recollections of my own music exams.

Oh, and I had a private French tutor from Toulouse, and, although she tried very hard to speak “standard” French, she used to let slip the occasional lindi.


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