Goya's name - pronunciation in movie Trance

Last weekend I watched Trance, a movie where one of Goya’s paintings is a plot element. The pronunciations of “Goya” sounded more like something I’d spell Goia than Goya, normal within the realm of “word pronounced by a foreigner”, but at one point someone says his name as Francesco di Goia. Or at least I heard it that way, I watched that scene several times and yes, it does seem to me the auctioneer says it as if Fuendetodos was now somewhere in Italy.

Since a web search of English-language websites will include pages edited by people from several dozen nationalities (the first hits include both El Prado and a hungarian site), it’s not very helpful for my question, which is:

was that pronunciation completely off-whack, or would it be a perfectly normal pronunciation for someone speaking English? For an Englishman (the movie takes place in London)? For [insert specific group here]?

Hmmm…I would pronounce GOYA and GOIA the same [goy-yuh, rhymes with boy-huh]. Can you be more phonetically specific?

In my years as an art appraiser, I learned that pronounce Goya as “Hoya” or “ghoya” is considered pretentious, at least in the USA and the UK. The curators at the Met, and both Sotheby’s and Christie’s auction houses pronounce it with a hard initial G. Maybe if you’re in Spain you can call him Hoya, but not in a predominantly English-speaking country.


I’ve wondered whether those would be pronounced differently in other languages. In particular, while texbooks write “ll” as “ell-yay”, I could not detect any difference in pronunciation between “ll” and “y” or “i” in most cases. For example, Golla and Goya and Goia would sound the same to my ears, as pronounced by my high school buddies from various Central and South American countries. Ditto for “ria” vs “rilla” and “riya”, or other vowels preceeding the “ll”.

This pronunciation from a BBC documentary is how I’ve always heard his name pronounced. Is that how they said it in the movie?

Maybe she means GOIA is something closer to “goh-ee-(y)uh” as opposed to “goy-yuh”?

Same. If I were asked to make a distinction between the two of them, I might push a little harder on the “y” sound with “GOYA.” (Goy-ya versus Goy-a), but I’m not sure I’d pronounce them differently otherwise.

Good point.

It could be anything from “go-yuh” to “go-ee-un” to “goy-uh”. Spoken at speed, my ear wouldn’t detect the differences in many cases.

“Francesco” and “Francisco” sound different to Anglophone ears largely because of the pronunciation of the first* c.* Saying “Fraen SESS ko” for “Francisco” is sloppy, but maybe less of an error, with the way vowels are in English, than saying “Fraen CHESS ko” or even “Fraen CHISS ko.”

…We do call him Goia in English, you’re right.

Her question is not about the initial sounds, those seem to sound the same in both English and Spanish.

Nava, it goes with the pronunciation of similar words in English and their attempts of adapting the Spanish to English. So I guess it is a normal pronunciation in English (and I’ve mostly heard southern American English). Still makes no sense to me, though.

And don’t even get me started on listening to the locals in my new country pronounce the Spanish words of their towns, cities, and even songs.

Nava, perhaps because the range from “Goia” to “Goya” is so slight in English (typically the tongue barely moves forward for the latter, and not at all – in other words, they are the same – in fast speech), but is bigger in Spanish (depending on your dialect, you typically add a little or a lot of palatizing – what English speakers hear as the consonant in the middle of “measure” – to “-y” but not to “i”), you think you’re hearing more of a range in the English pronunciations than you really are.

ETA: I think there might not be any native English words where the “oi” (as in “boy”) sound is followed immediately with a vowel. (When this sequence occurs across words in a sentence, we tend to add a consonantal “y” sound – “Boy, oh boy!” is generally pronounced more or less like “Boy yo boy!”).

So, when we see the sequence in a foreign word written WITHOUT a “y”, we’ll tend to insert the “y” a little. But it’s hard to say that we’re “inserting” much, because the “ee” sound – the tongue’s position at the end of “oi” – is already in the position for “y”. In other words, it’s almost impossible to pronounce “Goia” without it sounding pretty much like “Goya.”

Again, in Spanish, you CAN make the distinction more apparent, by more fully palatizing to generate that sound in “measure.” Obviously you know all this, but I thought I’d mention it anyway.

Has anyone else seen the movie, since the OP hasn’t elucidated on the pronunciation. Maybe they pronounced it as “Go-ya,” as in “go ya own way!”

I suspect the difference Nava is talking about is whether there is a diphthong or not. In other words, goy-a vs. go-ya.

Thank you, you’re the only person who caught that my question was not about the “Goya” part, which I have no problem with. I’d send you a cookie but it won’t fit inside the cable, sorry.
I’m asking about turning Francisco de into Francesco di.

Well, you said this in your OP:
**“The pronunciations of “Goya” sounded more like something I’d spell Goia than Goya…”

so that’s what I replied to.

How about reading the whole rest?

As for Goya vs Goia: /goʝ̞a/ vs /goia/

How about writing clearer OPs?

No, I knew what you were asking about, I just didn’t know the answer. I just wanted to clarify for everyone else.

If people didn’t understand what you were asking about, that’s their fault, not yours.

Granted, it would have been better if you’d spelled out how his first name is usually pronounced, but, still, it was clear you were asking about the first name, not the last name.

I think the average American seeing Francisco would pronounce it like the California city: fran-sis-ko.