"The islandmountainglacier volcano" - how to pronounce Eyjafjallajökull
Monday 19 April 2010
Despite causing so much travel chaos and dominating the European media, it seems that Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull is still presenting problems for those who want - or have - to mention it by name.
In a recent interview, Icelandic Foreign Minister Urdur Gunnarsdottir admitted that newsreaders' attempts to mention the volcano by its Icelandic name had caused some mirth amongst her countrymen.
The Icelandic pronunciation in phonemes is pronounced [???ja?fjatla?jœ?k?tl?]. An audio recording of how to say this is available here:
The BBC's pronunciation unit, a team of linguists which is responsible for ensuring that BBC newsreaders don't twist their tongues on the air, says that it should be pronounced "AY-uh-fyat-luh-YOE-kuutl-uh".
For clarity, that's that is -ay as in day, -fy as in few, -oe as in French "coeur", -uu as in boot, the -tl as in atlas. The (-uh) is "a" as in ago, explains the unit's Linda Shockey.
In Icelandic, "Eyja" means island, "fjall" or "fyjoll" means mountain, and "jökull" means glacier - so "the islandmountainglacier volcano" might do the trick for those still struggling.
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