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#1
Old 02-27-2011, 03:07 PM
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Never mind Cthulhu--how do you pronounce R'lyeh?

The 2005 silent film "Call of Cthulhu" finally came up in my Netflix queue earlier this week. It's a wonderfully done little movie, by the way, in a 1920s style with some Caligari-esque sets, and the closest adaption of an HP Lovecraft story I've seen (and I've seen a lot of loosely-based-on-Lovecraft movies).

Among the extras was a making-of featurette, in which some the film's crew talked about the film's design. I was struck, however, by the way they all pronounced "R'lyeh"--sort of like "Ruh-LAY," with a strong emphasis on the second syllable.

Now, whenever I've had reason to speak aloud the dread name of the antedeluvian sunken city where Cthulhu fhtagns, I've pronounced it more like "Rye-la."

So I ask now out of general curiosity, how do you pronounce it?
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#2
Old 02-27-2011, 03:12 PM
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Standard answer: you need an 18 inch tongue to pronounce it properly.
#3
Old 02-27-2011, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
Standard answer: you need an 18 inch tongue to pronounce it properly.
Well, no, you need squamous and eldritch organs of namelessly horrible speech to pronounce it correctly. The longer tongue might help a little - but good grief, OP, why are you even trying this?
#4
Old 02-27-2011, 03:27 PM
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"Rull Yeh," with the second syllable being kind of snapped off.
#5
Old 02-27-2011, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Excellent View Post
... but good grief, OP, why are you even trying this?
Because if you don't pronounce it right who knows what you might summon up? Do you just go around randomly pronouncing terms in summoning rituals and hope of the best?!

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn...

#6
Old 02-27-2011, 03:32 PM
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Throatwarbler Mangrove, of course.
#7
Old 02-27-2011, 03:34 PM
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I've never dared to say it out loud--what do you think I am, some kind of fool?--but if I did, it would be something like Ruh-LIE-uh. If I lived long enough to get it out.
#8
Old 02-27-2011, 05:37 PM
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Hell, I'm still trying to pronounce "fhtagn." I tried to read the sentence in Apollyon's post out loud, but it comes out sounding like I'm gargling.

Last edited by Lucky 13; 02-27-2011 at 05:38 PM. Reason: fhtagn!
#9
Old 02-27-2011, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Lucky 13 View Post
I tried to read the sentence in Apollyon's post out loud, but it comes out sounding like I'm gargling.
It sounds like gargling? That's perfect!

Look, if you're interested, I hear there's a spot opening up with the Sons of Sub-Niggurath... something about one of their acolytes being committed... I can put you in touch with some people who know some people...

They'll need an answer soon though, the circle must be complete for the Shoggoth summoning come the equinox.

(To the OP: I don't know if there's an official pronunciation, but I've always said R'lyeh with an "R" like the first part of "red" followed by "lay").
#10
Old 02-27-2011, 06:45 PM
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R'lyeh - Ruh-LYE-yeh*.

And I pronounce it because I play Arkham Horror with my friends, and I always bloody end up stuck in there!!!


*occasionally pronounced as "Jesus fuck me, not in there again...."
#11
Old 02-27-2011, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
Standard answer: you need an 18 inch tongue to pronounce it properly.
Paging Giraffe!
#12
Old 02-27-2011, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Lasciel View Post
R'lyeh - Ruh-LYE-yeh*.

And I pronounce it because I play Arkham Horror with my friends, and I always bloody end up stuck in there!!!
Yep, I pronounce it Ruh-LYE-yeh as well, and I do for the same reason as you; a game my friends and I used to play. We all pronounced it the same.

By the way, we pronounced the word fhtagn "fətaʔn" with the glottal stop barely perceptible, yet there.

Last edited by Onomatopoeia; 02-27-2011 at 07:25 PM.
#13
Old 02-27-2011, 07:26 PM
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Whenever Cthulhu and I go out drinking, the same thing always happens. About 2 in the morning when he's really hammered he gets all weepy and starts talking about the old days and home.
He pronounces it Rhuhl-YEt with the t kind of slurred but by that point everything is kind of slurred so..who knows.
#14
Old 02-27-2011, 07:57 PM
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A xymolosely polydactyl tongue will enable most folks to pronounce just about everything that Lovecraft wrote about.
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#15
Old 02-27-2011, 08:02 PM
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#16
Old 02-27-2011, 09:06 PM
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Riley, eh?

Futon-gchch.

Last edited by devilsknew; 02-27-2011 at 09:10 PM.
#17
Old 02-27-2011, 09:12 PM
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Kinda like a Japanese throat singer pronouncing futon.
#18
Old 02-27-2011, 09:31 PM
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Like the city in West Virginia.
#19
Old 02-27-2011, 09:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devilsknew View Post
Riley, eh?
"I say, that Irishman seeks dread Cthulhu in the loathsome nightmare corpse-city!"
"Oh, really?"
"No! O'R'lyeh!"
#20
Old 02-27-2011, 10:13 PM
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Or kinda like a Southie sayin' "relier" ...it would come out "r'liah".
#21
Old 02-28-2011, 12:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biffy the Elephant Shrew View Post
"I say, that Irishman seeks dread Cthulhu in the loathsome nightmare corpse-city!"
"Oh, really?"
"No! O'R'lyeh!"
or'lyeh?
#22
Old 02-28-2011, 12:45 AM
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I pronounce it, "R'lyeh," assuming that's how it's spelled. "Rye-la," would be spelled "R'yleh" at best. You're transposing two sounds.

That is, I would say, "rəl-YEH," roughly. That said...

According to Wikipedia, it's [ˈrəʔlʲɛx]. So there's an official(?) pronunciation(!), there's a glottal stop, & there's a sort of fricative "h" at the end. I expected none of that, but yes, you are supposed to pronounce the apostrophe and the h. Who knew?

Last edited by foolsguinea; 02-28-2011 at 12:47 AM.
#23
Old 02-28-2011, 09:45 AM
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I always thought it was RYE-la. But my tongue is lamentably non-squamous.
#24
Old 02-28-2011, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky 13 View Post
Hell, I'm still trying to pronounce "fhtagn." I tried to read the sentence in Apollyon's post out loud, but it comes out sounding like I'm gargling.
I agree you're doing it right. These are supposed to be inhuman sounds, so I try to make the sounds in my throat and use my mouth and tongue as little as possible.
#25
Old 02-28-2011, 10:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky 13 View Post
Hell, I'm still trying to pronounce "fhtagn." I tried to read the sentence in Apollyon's post out loud, but it comes out sounding like I'm gargling.
Fhtagn is the easy word in that sentence--just like it's spelled!
#26
Old 02-28-2011, 10:24 AM
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BTW, by one of those curious cosmic coincidences, Ken Begg has just put up a picture of Cthulhu from this film on his Jabootu site: http://jabootu.net/?p=4572
#27
Old 02-28-2011, 10:26 AM
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I've always said it as the film people in the OP, Ruh-LAY, though I couldn't tell you where that pronunciation originated with me.

As a side note, there's an interesting mythos story about a surgeon performing some minor corrections on the vocal apparatus of a woman -- nothing big enough that it really should be noticeable, but naturally, she ends up looking all wrong and eldritch and, possibly, non-Euclidean -- in order to enable her to pronounce the words correctly. Of course, when said right, it turns out that those fun phrases aren't really all that gibberish at all...

So all of you unable to get it right probably should be grateful.
#28
Old 02-28-2011, 01:19 PM
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Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!

For those of you lacking my lingual abilities, you can say:
Fi-nig-lew-ee mugel-wa-naf kuh-thoo-loo rill-yay wuh-gah nah-gul fa-tag-en.

It won't matter to Cthulhu how you say it; you're gonna get et anyway.
#29
Old 02-28-2011, 01:37 PM
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Like the state capital of North Carolina.
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#30
Old 02-28-2011, 02:55 PM
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Url-YAY - The R becomes vowel-like, as in Slavic languages.

Definitely not Rye-leh. That reverses the L and the Y
#31
Old 02-28-2011, 03:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apollyon View Post
Because if you don't pronounce it right who knows what you might summon up? Do you just go around randomly pronouncing terms in summoning rituals and hope of the best?!

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn...

I always liked Eben Brooks' pronounciation of it. The sentence is at 2:30, but the whole song is great.
#32
Old 02-28-2011, 03:27 PM
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I could tell you, Miss Mapp, but then I would have to kill you. There are some things woman was just not meant to know.
#33
Old 02-28-2011, 04:26 PM
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I had mentally pronounced it "rye-leh" before realizing that would imply the transposition of two letters. I haven't actually pronounced it out loud, nor do I ever intend to.
#34
Old 02-28-2011, 06:03 PM
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I have always pronounced it Ruh ail ee.

As likely the only poster to have worked at Weird Tales, and to have done a one man street show as a preacher of Cthulhu's gospel, I like to think my opinion has more weight than most.


Even if it doesn't.
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#35
Old 02-28-2011, 10:00 PM
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I think it is rrolled "r", crooked letter, Krill-yea, crooked letter.

Last edited by devilsknew; 02-28-2011 at 10:01 PM.
#36
Old 03-01-2011, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post
It won't matter to Cthulhu how you say it; you're gonna get et anyway.
But if Cthulhu likes you, he'll eat you last.
#37
Old 03-01-2011, 05:44 AM
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Originally Posted by foolsguinea View Post
I pronounce it, "R'lyeh," assuming that's how it's spelled. "Rye-la," would be spelled "R'yleh" at best. You're transposing two sounds.

That is, I would say, "rəl-YEH," roughly. That said...

According to Wikipedia, it's [ˈrəʔlʲɛx]. So there's an official(?) pronunciation(!), there's a glottal stop, & there's a sort of fricative "h" at the end. I expected none of that, but yes, you are supposed to pronounce the apostrophe and the h. Who knew?

"Rye" was my attempt to pronounce the apostrophe as a short "i." "La," I suppose, was meant to be more of a schwa "eh" than an "ah," but it's hard to write out these nuances of vowel sounds.
#38
Old 03-01-2011, 06:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Mapp View Post
But if Cthulhu likes you, he'll eat you last.
No, no - first.

I pronounce it R<glottal stop>lyeh. Rhymes with "yeah".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miller
Ya R'Lyeh!

Last edited by MrDibble; 03-01-2011 at 06:24 AM.
#39
Old 03-01-2011, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by MrDibble View Post
No, no - first.
I stand corrected.

First... last... which would be preferred?

Last edited by Miss Mapp; 03-01-2011 at 06:47 AM.
#40
Old 03-01-2011, 06:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foolsguinea View Post
According to Wikipedia, it's [ˈrəʔlʲɛx]. So there's an official(?) pronunciation(!), there's a glottal stop, & there's a sort of fricative "h" at the end. I expected none of that, but yes, you are supposed to pronounce the apostrophe and the h. Who knew?
I'd say that it's a good policy to assume that every symbol in a transliteration (even fictional ones) should be pronounced, including apostrophes and Hs. That's the way transliterations should work, anyway.
#41
Old 03-01-2011, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Miss Mapp View Post
I stand corrected.

First... last... which would be preferred?
Oh, definitely first. Otherwise you go insane from the horror induced by eldritch, non-Euclidean entities.

Last edited by Achren; 03-01-2011 at 06:56 AM. Reason: Post 40 wasn't there yet.
#42
Old 03-01-2011, 07:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foolsguinea View Post
I pronounce it, "R'lyeh," assuming that's how it's spelled. "Rye-la," would be spelled "R'yleh" at best. You're transposing two sounds.

That is, I would say, "rəl-YEH," roughly. That said...

According to Wikipedia, it's [ˈrəʔlʲɛx]. So there's an official(?) pronunciation(!), there's a glottal stop, & there's a sort of fricative "h" at the end. I expected none of that, but yes, you are supposed to pronounce the apostrophe and the h. Who knew?
For the IPA-impaired, the best I can do is ruh-uh-lech. The r is rolled, the second uh is really short, and the ch is the German sound that sounds like a cat hissing.
#43
Old 03-01-2011, 07:50 AM
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Ruh-lay spoken quickly : rehlay
#44
Old 03-01-2011, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Miss Mapp View Post
I stand corrected.

First... last... which would be preferred?
Definately being eaten first. The Elder Gods wil be hungry, and devour you quickly and probably mostly painlessly. You would not want to still be aware when they are more sated, and start playing with their food or experimenting with different "recipes."

(I have often taken issue with those who call the Elder Gods malignant. They are not, no more than sheep feel malice towards the grass they eat. They are indifferent to human hopes, concerns, and suffering, which is more frightening than directed antipathy towards the works of Man.)
#45
Old 03-01-2011, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
Standard answer: you need an 18 inch tongue to pronounce it properly.
So you're saying that Giraffe is the SDMB Resident Expert on this?
#46
Old 03-01-2011, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by BigT View Post
For the IPA-impaired, the best I can do is ruh-uh-lech. The r is rolled, the second uh is really short, and the ch is the German sound that sounds like a cat hissing.
Possibly more like ertLayh, where the h is actually an h, the t is a glottal stop, & the er is inexplicably trilled.
#47
Old 03-01-2011, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Polycarp View Post
So you're saying that Giraffe is the SDMB Resident Expert on this?
I'm sorry, but I must claim expertise here.
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Qadgop the Mercotan slithered flatly around the after-bulge of the tranship. One claw dug into the meters-thick armour of pure neutronium, then another. Its terrible xmex-like snout locked on. Its zymolosely polydactile tongue crunched out, crashed down, rasped across. Slurp! Slurp!

Last edited by Qadgop the Mercotan; 03-01-2011 at 09:39 AM.
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