James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Wed Nov 21 02:07:02 UTC 2001

In a message dated 11/19/2001 9:00:52 PM Eastern Standard Time,
Dalecoye at AOL.COM writes:

> The traditional, anglicized pronunciation of this name is four syllables
>  MY uh nee/  but when you say it fast, the schwa (3rd syllable) can get
>   In some words of this type the schwa after stressed vowel is lost for
>  good--compare diamond, diaper, which for me and millions of other Americans
>  are two-syllables  but historically, and (even today for some) have a
>  syllable-schwa.

In _Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire_, pp 418f of the hardback, Hermione
is trying to teach Victor Krum, who is from Bulgaria, how to pronounce her

Victor:       "Hermy-own"
Hermione:  "Her-my-oh-nee"
Victor:        "Herm-own-ninny"
Hermione:  "Close enough"

/her-my-oh-nee/ is close to your  /her MY uh nee/ but the fact that Krum
picks up on  the /oh/ seems to suggest that in the book Hermione does not use
a schwa and makes four distinct syllables.

In a message dated 11/20/2001 11:09:36 AM Eastern Standard Time,
flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU writes:

> How nice that the kids sound like "real" Brit kids (of whatever
>  area)!  Although I haven't seen the movie, my grad students who have agree
>  that the voices are refreshingly non-RP and appear to represent different
>  dialect areas.

In both the books and the movie, Harry has been living in Surrey (southwest
of London). since he was a year old, although he was born somewhere west of
Bristol (Cornwall or Wales or possibly Eire).  The Weasley family lives
within taxicab range of London (Goblet of Fire page 162) but their location
is not otherwise identified.  Hermione's home is not given.  Her Muggle
parents.are both dentists, but does that say anything about their speech?

                     - Jim Landau

P.S.  My daughter wants to know why I'm posting a question about BRITISH
speech on the mailing list of the AMERICAN Dialect Society.  Shouldn't I be
looking for a British Dialect Society?

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