-stein pronunciation
Posted: 09 November 2019 11:55 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Both CNN and the BBC pronounce Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein to rhyme with teen, clearly because the bearers do and did. In Britain everyone rhymes Klein, Wittgenstein, Brian Epstein, etc with fine. I once heard Leonard Bernstein insisting on stine and pointing out that no one pronounced Einstein eensteen. Weinstein is Einstein with a W at the front and the syllables must rhyme if you think about it. Hardly anyone in Britain or America has ever studied German so I’m wondering how the British do it germanically but not the Americans and how Weinstein, etc happened when Einstein has been a household name for about a century.

I’d be interested to know how American philosophers say Wittgenstein and how others would, same with the German rock band Rammstein who have a fairly large following there.

[ Edited: 10 November 2019 12:02 AM by venomousbede ]
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Posted: 10 November 2019 12:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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And I’ve always been curious how it could have ever seemed logical to anyone to pronounce Weinstein as they do? Either Winestine or Weensteen would have internal logic, but Winesteen? Does not compute.

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Posted: 10 November 2019 02:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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That’s exactly what I said, but thanks for repeating it.

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Posted: 10 November 2019 05:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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There’s no consistent American pronunciation on this. -stein can be either /-stine/ or /-steen/ depending on how the bearer of the name pronounces it. The journalistic (and polite) rule is to pronounce it the way the person wants it.

As to why these particular men (and presumably their families) pronounce their names with the nontraditional /-steen/, I have no evidence. I speculate that they or one of their forebears assumed that /-steen/ sounded less Jewish and pronouncing their name that way would make assimilation easier.

Of course, there is this classic case.

[ Edited: 10 November 2019 05:35 AM by Dave Wilton ]
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Posted: 10 November 2019 01:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I’d be interested to know how American philosophers say Wittgenstein

-stine

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Posted: 11 November 2019 01:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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It’s the same with anything. Why do we pronounce Borgnine differently for Tova versus Ernest? Or Mancini differently for Andrea versus Henry? Or Ralph differently for Fiennes versus normal people? You can’t argue with someone about how their name is pronounced.

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Posted: 11 November 2019 02:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Dave Wilton - 10 November 2019 05:31 AM

I speculate that they or one of their forebears assumed that /-steen/ sounded less Jewish and pronouncing their name that way would make assimilation easier.

I have no evidence either, but I don’t see why a different pronunciation would make an obviously foreign and probably Jewish surname look less Jewish. EI has many pronunciations in English, but I suspect that an anglophone (at least in North America) with no particular linguistic training, confronted with an unfamiliar EI, would be more likely than not to pronounce it as EE. Anyone with a name that often gets mispronounced will know there comes a point where you simply get tired of correcting people.

I met a Canadian who was touring Europe when I was working in Leipzig. He kept pronouncing the first syllable as EE, apparently not noticing that I was saying it differently.

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