How to pronounce "Galois"

What is the correct way to pronounce the name of Evariste Galois? It is the surname that is giving me the most trouble.

“Gal-wah” on first glance. Need to see if anything about the person makes a straight French pronunciation off-base.

Forgot to give the first name – I’d go with “ever-east” (roughly). A more precise pronunciation would be “evah-reest”, where the “r” is the French uvular “r”.

Yeah, that should be correct. The stress is on the second syllable.

[nitpick]“Gal” could possibly pronounced as in My Gal Sal. I would render is as somewhere around Gahl-wah, or Gall-wah.[/nitpick]

I’d say it’s more like Gah-luAH. The “lu” sound has a particular pronunciation in French not found in the english language. It’s pretty difficult to describe.

I was trying to get the OP in the ballpark with pronunciations that would be understood by Francophones, even if an American accent was apparent. Claiobscur, zazie (where’s she been?), or perhaps some of our Quebecois Dopers can better pin down an exacting French pronunciation.

If you’re talking about the sound in words like “lui”, I don’t think your post is correct. Phonetic references at my disposal render the French “oi” invariably as IPA /wa/ (which is pretty much exactly how an American English speaker would read “wah”).

Waiting on a Francophone Doper to confirm.

We used to pronounce the cigarettes “gool-wah.”

ACK! But the cigs were spelled differently!

My bad…

No, it’s the ‘L’ that rolls off the back of the tongue. But I’m not a francophone.

Let’s dig into this a bit.

English has two allophones (forms that do not distinguish meaning) for IPA /l/. One is known as a “clear l” and is found at the beginning of words like “leaf” and “lane”. The other is the “dark l” of words like “bell” and “hall”, where the root of the tongue is raised a bit toward the velum (soft palate).

Does your thought on the “l” in “Galois” have anything to do with these differing ways of producing “l”? My understanding is that in (Parisian) French, clear “l” is the preferred forms in most all words (dialectal variation notwithstanding).

Francophone (québec/ontario) here.

Bordelond, you’re pretty much on the right track. :smiley:

To me, both the english “clear l” and “dark l” you mention are different from the french L. It’s difficult to explain but I use only the tip of the tongue to say “leaf” and use “more tongue” and higher in the palate to say “lui” in french.

Not really, because I’ve troubles with english pronounciation. So, I’m not sure how to transcribe it.

However, a first glance, Gal-wah seems fine to me.

That’s because the L in “lui” is palatalized a bit by the following vowels. “Gahl-wah” is pretty close, with the caveat that the exact qualities of the French vowels are different from those in English. (And the L should definitely be a clear L; I don’t think the dark L exists as an allophone of /l/ in French.)

And the L in “-lois” isn’t? Why not?

Because it’s not followed by a U.