View Poll Results: How do you pronounce Tolkien's last name?
TOL-kin, TOL-ken, emphasis on the first syllable 104 63.80%
tol-KEEN, tol-KEE-en, emphasis on other than the first syllable 35 21.47%
Other 24 14.72%
Voters: 163. You may not vote on this poll

Thread Tools
Old 11-11-2011, 02:01 PM
Voodoo Adult (Slight Return)
Charter Member
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Charlotte, NC, USA
Posts: 25,088
Author name pronunciation poll: Tolkien

How do you pronounce the name of the great J.R.R. Tolkien?

Poll to follow.
__________________
Did you see that ludicrous display last night?
Old 11-11-2011, 02:14 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 9,713
Despite what my friend says, about how he heard him pronounce his own name on a tape, I pronounce it:

"token" like a game token.
Old 11-11-2011, 02:28 PM
Charter Member
Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 77,468
Three syllables, with the emphasis on the first, which wasn't an option in the poll.
Old 11-11-2011, 02:36 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 27,512
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Three syllables, with the emphasis on the first, which wasn't an option in the poll.
So would that be TOLL-key-in, TALL-key-in, toll-KEY-in, tall-KEY-in, or something else?
Old 11-11-2011, 02:49 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Posts: 5,648
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skald the Rhymer View Post
So would that be TOLL-key-in, TALL-key-in, toll-KEY-in, tall-KEY-in, or something else?
The first one.

Edit:

Actually no. TOLL-key-en.

Last edited by amanset; 11-11-2011 at 02:50 PM.
Old 11-11-2011, 02:53 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: elsewhere
Posts: 5,897
Other: TOLL-kane
Old 11-11-2011, 02:57 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 27,512
Quote:
Originally Posted by koeeoaddi View Post
Other: TOLL-kane
I don't see how you get that. The digraph "ei" is often pronounced like the diphthong ending "day" and "they," but I can't think of a single word in which "ie" is pronounced that way.
Old 11-11-2011, 02:58 PM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: South Bay
Posts: 83,786
TOL-kin. Maybe just between that and TOL-keen, but closer to TOL-kin.
Old 11-11-2011, 03:03 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Cape Town, South Africa &
Posts: 22,890
I voted "Other" as neither "kin" nor "ken" are correct.
it's (very approximately)
TOLL - keen
Old 11-11-2011, 03:11 PM
Voodoo Adult (Slight Return)
Charter Member
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Charlotte, NC, USA
Posts: 25,088
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Three syllables, with the emphasis on the first, which wasn't an option in the poll.
Bah, a three-syllable-but-emphasis-on-the-first was supposed to be one of the examples for that option.
Old 11-11-2011, 03:11 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 44,454
TOLL-key-uhn is how I've always heard it, so I voted "other."
Old 11-11-2011, 03:11 PM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 14,840
According to this thread on The Tolkien Forum, where the same question is discussed, the prevailing consensus seems to be TOL-kin or TOL-keen (two syllables, not three, with accent on the first). Many of the posters there cite a letter written by Tolkien in which the author himself seems to clarify this. There is also a mention of standard German pronunciation, where "ie" is pronounced like English "ee"
Old 11-11-2011, 03:17 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Tornado Alley
Posts: 15,186
Stressed Tol, but long kien. Maybe equal stress sometimes?

Actually, very like "Toll keen" come to think of it, but not separated into different words.

Last edited by foolsguinea; 11-11-2011 at 03:19 PM.
Old 11-11-2011, 03:28 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: elsewhere
Posts: 5,897
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skald the Rhymer View Post
I don't see how you get that. The digraph "ei" is often pronounced like the diphthong ending "day" and "they," but I can't think of a single word in which "ie" is pronounced that way.
Beats me. Willful mispronunciation? Nah. What's left of my Philly accent? Probably not. My 9th grade English teacher? Well, that was the first time I heard the name pronounced, so it must be Mr. Redican's fault.
Old 11-11-2011, 03:34 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Howdy
Posts: 19,583
Quote:
Originally Posted by BMalion View Post
Despite what my friend says, about how he heard him pronounce his own name on a tape
And that was?
Old 11-11-2011, 04:18 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Over on the left
Posts: 13,186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sage Rat View Post
And that was?
Throat-Warbler Mangrove. (Come on, you knew someone was going to do it.)

I say TOL-kin, myself.
Old 11-11-2011, 05:15 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 9,713
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sage Rat View Post
And that was?
He said that the professer pronounced his own name "toll-keen".

But in my 13 year old head he had a silent "L" as in Sherlock Holmes.

And thats the way I likes it.

Last edited by BMalion; 11-11-2011 at 05:16 PM.
Old 11-11-2011, 05:16 PM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 10,971
I've always pronounced it Toll-kin, but the Brits I know use Toll-keen. But then again they also say Van Goff for the painter.
Old 11-11-2011, 05:23 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Scandinavia
Posts: 1,683
TOLL-key-en. This is how it's usually pronounced in Sweden.
Old 11-11-2011, 06:35 PM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: South Bay
Posts: 83,786
I didn't know it was a German name.
Old 11-11-2011, 06:37 PM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Atlanta area
Posts: 2,520
The Tolkien Professor says "TOLL-keen". I'd always pronounced it with 3 syllables (TOL-key-inn, with the last two syllables kinda elided together).

Change is hard.
Old 11-11-2011, 06:42 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: U.K.
Posts: 12,068
TOL-kee-EN
Old 11-11-2011, 07:08 PM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Posts: 36,682
TOLL-kin
Old 11-11-2011, 08:08 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 9,713
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
I didn't know it was a German name.
I thought it was Elvish.
Old 11-11-2011, 08:46 PM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 5,609
Other - TOL-kee-en is how I say it. But my Webster's Bio Dictionary says two syllables, accented on the first.
Old 11-12-2011, 12:20 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Greenbelt, Maryland
Posts: 13,937
I heard Christopher, Tolkien's son, say that the pronunciation was Toll-keen, with equal accent on each syllable. In this video, Adam, Tolkien's grandson, says the word "Tolkien" at 1:50:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=DFcjBzP7H-E
Old 11-12-2011, 06:25 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: The Brink
Posts: 11,343
"Tol-KEE-en" or "Tol-KEE-in" when I think about it, "TOL-kin" when I just say it offhand...and with my accent, they slur together to almost the same thing anyway, to a listener.
Old 11-12-2011, 07:24 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Southeast MN
Posts: 5,906
Jay Are Are Tee
Old 11-12-2011, 10:27 AM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Posts: 36,682
Quote:
Originally Posted by BMalion View Post
I thought it was Elvish.
Ladies and gentlemen, Elvish has left the building.
Old 11-12-2011, 10:40 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 4,553
I simultaneously pronounce it TOLL-kin and TOLL-ken, because ken and kin are the same syllable
Old 11-12-2011, 10:45 AM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 4,443
Like in this youtube video.
Old 11-12-2011, 12:43 PM
Charter Member
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Maine
Posts: 10,350
TOLL-KEEN, with approximately equal stress on each syllable, or perhaps with a little more stress on the first syllable.
Old 11-12-2011, 08:05 PM
TBG TBG is offline
Guest
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Michigan
Posts: 8,913
Toll-kin until I looked him up in the encyclopedia in 6th grade (pre-era of internet) and they had it as something more like Toll-key-in.

I think I got the Toll-kin version from some old TV commercial selling VHS copies of Rankin-Bass's version of the Hobbit.
Old 11-12-2011, 09:43 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2009
Location: New England
Posts: 5,541
I pronounce it TOL-KEN even though I quite know it's wrong. Just like I pronounce Lawrence Durrell's last name DYUR-ELL even thought I quite know it's wrong.
Old 11-13-2011, 05:23 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 9,713
"THROAT-warbler-MANgrove" ?
Old 11-13-2011, 11:15 AM
SDSAB
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: my Herkimer Battle Jitney
Posts: 76,554
Quote:
Originally Posted by BMalion View Post
"THROAT-warbler-MANgrove" ?
See post 16.
Old 11-13-2011, 11:28 AM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: New York Fucking City
Posts: 3,347
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDibble View Post
I voted "Other" as neither "kin" nor "ken" are correct.
it's (very approximately)
TOLL - keen
This is how I pronounce it, and I have absolutely no reason why.
Old 11-13-2011, 02:25 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 9,713
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
See post 16.
Dang.
Old 11-17-2011, 07:18 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: perfidious albion
Posts: 6,422
I've always pronounced it Tol-key-en, but have heard people on t.v say Tolkeen, I a Brit.
Old 11-17-2011, 07:23 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: America's Wing
Posts: 28,344
Quote:
Originally Posted by BMalion View Post
"token" like a game token.
The love of the hobbit's leaf has surely dulled your mind
Old 11-17-2011, 09:14 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 9,713
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludovic View Post
The love of the hobbit's leaf has surely dulled your mind
Guilty.
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:40 PM.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: [email protected]

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: native american nudity raccoons smart blue headlight tint lowes menards kevin durand imdb saloon doors history fret instrument drinking gallium melungeon traits two irishmen song best store bought pico de gallo can incense set off smoke alarm why is leather so expensive glow in the dark condom movie what happens to mice when they eat poison ships used in pirates of the caribbean i hate ashton kutcher how to address a nurse how many yards is a city block here's to swimmin with bowlegged