When I want to know how to pronounce someone's name I look on their Wikipedia page or their own site. If that fails, I do Google searches like "donald knuth" pronunciation. If that fails too and I want to know badly enough, I look for video or audio of them saying it, or of someone else who presumably would know saying it. This last has misled me at least once: When I first saw Patri Friedman's name, I guessed it was pronounced "PA-tree", but wasn't sure. Then I heard someone on the Internet pronounce it "puh-TREE", and I figured they probably knew. Then I said it in conversation with Shannon Friedman and she told me it was "PA-tree". (I appreciated the correction. Note also that since I didn't physically make a note, there's a small possibility I'm misremembering which pronunciation is correct.)


I think an apostrophe is a better way of indicating to English speakers the way Danish treats an initial k, as in K'nuth. There's no actual vowel in there. Also it looks cooler, as in ph'nglui mglw'nafh K'nuth R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn. Fits right in, doesn't it?

More "Stupid" Questions

by NancyLebovitz 1 min read31st Jul 2013498 comments


This is a thread where people can ask questions that they would ordinarily feel embarrassed for not knowing the answer to. The previous "stupid" questions thread went to over 800 comments in two and a half weeks, so I think it's time for a new one.