Never mind Cthulhu--how do you pronounce R'lyeh?

The 2005 silent film “Call of Cthulhu” finally came up in my Netflix queue earlier this week. It’s a wonderfully done little movie, by the way, in a 1920s style with some Caligari-esque sets, and the closest adaption of an HP Lovecraft story I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a lot of loosely-based-on-Lovecraft movies).

Among the extras was a making-of featurette, in which some the film’s crew talked about the film’s design. I was struck, however, by the way they all pronounced “R’lyeh”–sort of like “Ruh-LAY,” with a strong emphasis on the second syllable.

Now, whenever I’ve had reason to speak aloud the dread name of the antedeluvian sunken city where Cthulhu fhtagns, I’ve pronounced it more like “Rye-la.”

So I ask now out of general curiosity, how do you pronounce it?

Standard answer: you need an 18 inch tongue to pronounce it properly.

Well, no, you need squamous and eldritch organs of namelessly horrible speech to pronounce it correctly. The longer tongue might help a little - but good grief, OP, why are you even trying this?

“Rull Yeh,” with the second syllable being kind of snapped off.

Because if you don’t pronounce it right who knows what you might summon up? Do you just go around randomly pronouncing terms in summoning rituals and hope of the best?! :eek:

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn…


Throatwarbler Mangrove, of course.

I’ve never dared to say it out loud–what do you think I am, some kind of fool?–but if I did, it would be something like Ruh-LIE-uh. If I lived long enough to get it out.

Hell, I’m still trying to pronounce “fhtagn.” I tried to read the sentence in Apollyon’s post out loud, but it comes out sounding like I’m gargling.

It sounds like gargling? That’s perfect!

Look, if you’re interested, I hear there’s a spot opening up with the Sons of Sub-Niggurath… something about one of their acolytes being committed… I can put you in touch with some people who know some people…

They’ll need an answer soon though, the circle must be complete for the Shoggoth summoning come the equinox.

(To the OP: I don’t know if there’s an official pronunciation, but I’ve always said R’lyeh with an “R” like the first part of “red” followed by “lay”).

R’lyeh - Ruh-LYE-yeh*.

And I pronounce it because I play Arkham Horror with my friends, and I always bloody end up stuck in there!!!

*occasionally pronounced as “Jesus fuck me, not in there again…”

Paging Giraffe!

Yep, I pronounce it Ruh-LYE-yeh as well, and I do for the same reason as you; a game my friends and I used to play. We all pronounced it the same.

By the way, we pronounced the word fhtagn “fətaʔn” with the glottal stop barely perceptible, yet there.

Whenever Cthulhu and I go out drinking, the same thing always happens. About 2 in the morning when he’s really hammered he gets all weepy and starts talking about the old days and home.
He pronounces it Rhuhl-YEt with the t kind of slurred but by that point everything is kind of slurred so…who knows.

A xymolosely polydactyl tongue will enable most folks to pronounce just about everything that Lovecraft wrote about.

Like Real Estate Agent minus the state and the gent with a semi-silent a.

Riley, eh?


Kinda like a Japanese throat singer pronouncing futon.

Like the city in West Virginia.

“I say, that Irishman seeks dread Cthulhu in the loathsome nightmare corpse-city!”
“Oh, really?”
“No! O’R’lyeh!”

Or kinda like a Southie sayin’ “relier” …it would come out “r’liah”.