The Alaska Airlines MD-80 that lost pressure the other day had been hit by a luggage loaded driven by an employee of a company called Menzies. CNN pronounced it ‘men-zeez’. ISTR asking a question about the pronunciation of this surname a long time ago, and was informed it’s pronounced ‘ming-ghis’. How common is the ‘correct’ pronunciation in the U.S.?

Perhaps the most famous Australian Prime Minister was called Menzies. It was pronounced men-zeez, for what it’s worth…

“Ming-us” is the old Scottish pronunciation, and I have heard it used by older Scots both here in Canada and in the UK.

Likewise, “Forbes” used to be pronounced with two distinct syllables, accent on the second: “For-bez.” “Urquhart” is very curt, no “h” sound: “Urkurt.” And don’t get me started about “McKay.” (“Mak-eye.”)

I believe these pronunciations are still reasonably current in the Highlands and Western Isles.

Coincidentally, this has cropped up in this current thread. FWIW, there’s a British politician called Menzies Campbell, who uses ‘ming-is’ (abbreviated as ‘ming’).

There is an actress Heather Menzies (Robert Urich’s widow). I wonder how she pronounces hers.

I can assume that the surname “Mingus” is an Anglicization?

Minkus? :confused:

But his nickname was “Ming”, so the other traditional pronunciation must at least have been known in Australia.

As of now, it’s pronounced “defendant”.

The rule of thumb in broadcast journalism is that you pronounce the name as the person does. The classic example is the man who spells his name S-M-I-T-H but pronounces it “Jones”. The news outlet will call to confirm that the name is, indeed, pronounced “Jones”, or in this case, “MEN-zees”.

Which is to say that arguing over a “correct” pronunciation is pointless, since however the person whose name it is pronounces it is the “correct” one.


Hence the OP’s quesion, of how common the various pronunciations are within the US.

Robert Urich’s dead?

[checks imdb]

Well, whaddya know.

There would have been at least one or two Scots in Australia at the time. I see his nickname was, in full, “Ming the Merciless”, after the Flash Gordon series character.