Pronunciation of Ozzymandius

It’s causing some domestic turmoil:

Ozzy(as in Ozzy Osbourne)-man-DEE-us



Hey, good question. I’ve been butchering the pronounciation as OZ-ee-MANE-dee-US for yearsnyearsnyears now.

Well, we read this in class last year, and I believe that we pronounced it “OZ-ee-MAN-dee-US.” Definitive? Nope!

It’s Oz-uh-MAN-dee-us…with the accent on “man.” (and you don’t pronounce the Y as an ee It’s just a schwa, or at most a slight short i sound as in zipper).

Hm. I’m glad no one noticed that I spelled it wrong in the thread title. :smack:

Dio, is that how the Latin’s pronounced?

If you’re talking about the subject of the Shelley poem, then it’s spelt Ozymandias.

I pronounce it Ozzy-MAN-dee-as.

This is the way it was in every English class I took from high school through college.

Sure had to read that poem a lot…

No, but that’s how it’s pronounced in Greek. :wink:

Oh boy, I’m going to get a lot of use out of that head-smacking smilie tonight. :smack:

I’m just looking at this thread and despairing.

First off, there’s only one Z in ol’ King Ozy’s name, according to the poem, regardless of how Mr. Osbourne spells it.

Second, while I could be wrong, I think Shelley invented the name as a classical-sounding figure like Mithridates, Mezentius, and Semiramis. However, if it is in fact Greek, the Y sound would be a upsilon, pronounced like German umlauted U or French -eu-, and this would be rendered in English in an unaccented syllable by a sound value impossible to describe or isolate but made by every English speaker in the middle of multisyllable words with an -i- in them, like particle. It’s a sort of “fronted schwa” similar to but different from the -ih sound of accented short I. One of our wandering linguists can say what that sound is actually called.

Shelley didn’t just make it up. The original Egyptian form of the name Ozymandias was User-maat-re Setep-en-re. The Greeks corrupted this into Ozymandias. It was the throne name of Ramesses II (r. c. 1279-1213 BC).

The sound of upsilon was not a schwa, but a high rounded front vowel, like German ü. The IPA symbol for it is /y/. This is thought to have been the pronunciation of Classical Attic Greek, although in earlier forms of Greek the vowel would have been a rounded high back vowel /u/ like the oo in English “book.”

Egyptian hieroglyphic writing only showed consonants, so we do not know for sure what the vowels were. (Sometimes, though, certain Egyptian consonants are taken as representing certain vowels, e.g. the Egyptian <w> can be read as the vowel /u/). So in general, modern Egyptologists conventionally insert <e> to hold the place of the unknown vowels. User-maat-re Setep-en-re was actually written wsrm3tr( stpnr( in hieroglyphs. For all we know, the vowel in the second syllable could have been /u/, transcribed by the Greeks as upsilon, but then they might have screwed up the Egyptian pronunciation badly.

The name of Egypt itself, from Greek Aiguptos, comes from an epithet of the city of Memphis: Hi-Ku-Ptah ‘Abode of the Greatness of Ptah’. Ptah was the god whose cult was headquartered at Memphis.

Now we call him “Elvis.”

This is technically true but nonetheless, the upsilon in this case is elided into a schwa in English pronunciation. If you really want to get picky about it the zeta ahould be pronounced as a ‘zd’ sound (like the middle of the word “mazda”) but nobody does that in English. A really anal Greek pronunciation of the entire word would be Oh-zdoo-MAHN-dee-ahs, but you’re never going to hear that in a literature class.

OK, now I get what you meant. At first I thought you said “fronted schwa” to describe the Greek pronunciation, but I see you were referring to the English pronunciation. The vowel you are talking about would be called a “central front unrounded vowel between mid-close and close” by phoneticists, and its IPA symbol is /I/. The sound of i in English “zit.”

Actually, when I was studying this stuff, they distinguished between /I/ as in zit and a related vowel, found only in unaccented syllables, which is what I meant by “fronted schwa.” The IPA symbol for that was /I/ with a short horizontal crossbar midway up the vertical.

I.e., the I sound in “vertical” is not the I of “zit” nor the second A in “parallel” – which for me at least is a pure schwa, but rather a schwa-like sound moved to the front of the mouth – a very neutralized front vowel as opposed to schwa, a very neutralized back vowel.