How do you pronounce "Genevieve"?

Is it “Jen-a-veev” or “Zhan-vee-ev”?


Aren’t the first two e’s pronounced as more of an ‘uh’ sound (as in the French ‘Je’ ?


According to this site:

It’s pronounced either Jen-a-veev in English, or Zhun-vee-ehv in French (remember that the Zh is not a “z” sound but rather something like the “ge” at the end of “garage”).

But whether you trust that site is up to you :slight_smile:

On the basis of a former (English) girlfriend of that name whose family I knew and who met my French friends, I agree completely with nobodyimportant’s post.

She was also a loon but that’s another story, or two.

I always thought it was Zhahn-uh-vee-evh. But maybe that’s if there’s an accent on the last E.

Yep, there is a grave accent on the penultimate e (Geneviève), making the French pronunciation roughly “Zhuh-n’-vee-ev”.

Hmm, my phonetics weren’t too hot there. Maybe Zhuhn-VYEV is closer?

“Throatwarbler Mangrove,” if that’s how Genevieve wants to prounounce it.

Jen-a-veeve if you’re American and don’t want to have a French affectation. (That is, you ain’t actually French.)

Depends how the person pronounces it. I’ll be damned if I’m going to tell someone else how to pronounce their own name.

I would ASSUME “JEN-uh-veev” if the person was English, and “Zhen-VEE-ehv” (or however you want to spell the phoentics) if they were French, until corrected otherwise.

Does this astound anyone else? Here we have one name, which can be pronounced two very different ways (It’s not a matter of shifting the accent, these are two different ways of reading the word) and both versions are justifed by the spelling.

Any other examples of this?

Nah … this is commonplace for names that are trans-language homonyms. Here are a very few (pronounciations approximate):

Charles: Fr. /sharl/, Eng. /charlz/
Jeanne: Fr. /zhawn/, Eng. /jeen/
Diane: Fr. /dee-ahn/, Eng. /dye-ANN/
Louis: Fr. /lwee/, Eng. /LOO-iss/
Robert: Fr. /roe-bare/, Eng. /RAH-burt/

There are many more examples.

Bordelond, Robert happens to be my name, and I’ll have you know that it is in no way pronounced “RAH-burt” in English.

The vowel sound is a short O! Where do you get A from?

Repeat after me:



Hmm, actually that’s enough rhymes for now… :slight_smile:

It may be my accent of English. To me, the “ah” sound (as in “open up and say AH”) is exactly the same as the short-“o”
sound as in “rob”, “bob”. I say “rahb”, “bahb”.

Hmm, I guess it’s a USA thing. Come to think of it, one of my cow-orkers is American and she calls me “Rahb” (amongst other things).

I still find it strange that there are accents which don’t differentiate those two vowels, but that’s a whole different kettle of fish.

At least now I know what that American lady meant in the bookshop when she was asking for “erratic literature”…

It is largely an American thing, although a few American accents may distinguish the “ah” vowel from British short “o”. Most Americans don’t.

“Erotic” … that word is a perfect demonstrative example.

As for words like “rob”, “bob”: when British speakers pronounce them, it sounds to me something approaching “rawb”, “bawb” with the “aw” in such words being shorter in duration than the “aw” in “law” or “saw”.

Des Moines.

In the Midwest (the better known city), it’s deh-Moyn.

Here in Washington State, there’s a town called deh-Moynz.

Annoying? To no end.

Well, “erratic” would have the “a” in “cat.”

In my Midwestern accent, we merge together a lot of vowels that are differentiated in other accents. All the words within these sets are pronouced identically –

Mary, merry, marry
caught, cot
horse, hoarse
do, dew
pearl, purl

But we do distinguish –
pin, pen
git, get
tin, ten

One of my aunts was named “Genevieve” and we all pronounced it “Nevie.” [rim shot]

She pronounced her name “GEN (as in Genesis) uh veev.”