Pronunciation confirmation, please!

I am listening to an audio book of Jon Krakauer’s “Into Thin Air”, about climbing Mt Everest. The narrator consistently pronounces Himalaya (as in the mountain range) as “him-ahl’-ya”. I have always heard it as “him-a-lay’-ah”. All the dictionaries I’ve consulted support “him-a-lay’-ah”. Are both pronunciations valid or is this narrator just screwing up over and over and no one corrected him?

This narrator just screwing up over and over and no one corrected him


Could it be that “him-ahl-ya” is closer to the language of the region?
I speak Spanish, German and a bit of French and Japanese.
Whenever a word from those languages pops up in conversation I automatically change gears and the truer pronuciation just spews forth.

According to my dictionary (American Heritage), both are correct with “him-a-lay’-ah” being first and “hi-mal’-ya” being second.

I’ve been there (well, not Mt. Everest, but the Outer Himalayas). The locals say hee-MAH-lya.

I’ve always got the impression that the ‘lay’ part of the pronunciation was a typical English-manglination. As Earthling indicates Hii-ma-lye-a is a better approximation.

CaptEgo: Your pronunciation doesn’t even have the same syllable count as Earthling’s! But it does have a nice Aussie sound to it.

The English-speaking peoples are not alone in changing the pronunciation of geographic place names and it doesn’t mean that they are mangled. For one thing, sounds that are made in one language may not be made by speakers in another language.

(Try listening to a Dane saying the Danish words for strawberries and cream sometime. It is a riot!)

A cursory Google search indicates that the word has a Sanskrit origin meaning “Abode of Snow.” Any Sanskrit experts out there to say how it would “really” be spelled?

Well, in English, the pronunciation is almost always different than the pronunciation in other languages. English is English and Indian is Indian and Nepalese is Nepalese. There are differences you know. What do you call Himalaya in Japanese? The English dictionary is not an “English-manglination”, it is correct English.