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How to say it on the radio

February 18, 2008

So, I’m listening to Vermont Public Radio this morning and hear a promo spot in which the announcer mentions an upcoming show about Antonin Dvorak, the wildly impressive composer from the former Czechoslovakia, and this announcer pronounces the name as an unknowing American might pronounce it—dvor-ahk—rather than the way a knowledgeable American might: dvor-zhahk.

I began typing wildly through the morass of the Internet and found the site, which provides audio and visual guides for how to pronounce the names of classical music composers.

If you’re looking for a good guide to jazz artists, you can find one at the Web site for WWUH at the University of Hartford. One downside of this site is that it offers no audio files to help you out, but the visual cues they offer are quite good.

A few more clicks and I discovered the Voice of America pronunciation guide, which gives you a searchable database of audio files of nearly every name in the news that you might need, from Serbian war criminal Slobodan Milosevic to Iranian Prime Minister Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The best thing about this site is the “Near Search” feature, which allows flawed spellers to type in a name that’s relatively close to the correct spelling of the name you’re looking for and still give you a result.

These sites are just for starters. If you find others, please leave a comment and I’ll be happy to include your finds on this page.

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