How do you pronounce "Lost City of Z"?
April 20, 2017 3:05 AM   Subscribe

Percy Fawcett was British, so did he say "Lost City of Zed" or, as the new movie trailers have it, "Lost City of Zee"?

It's possible that a recording of Fawcett saying the keyword exists. Also, possible that American recordings exist.
posted by CCBC to Writing & Language (7 answers total)
 
It's difficult to imagine any British person, particularly one born in the 19th century, saying 'zed'.

But of course the title of the film comes from the title of an article and the subsequent book, which has an American author, so arguably it should be 'zee' on that basis.
posted by pipeski at 3:19 AM on April 20


It's difficult to imagine any British person, particularly one born in the 19th century, saying 'zed'.

I assume that's a typo? A British person would definitely say zed, not zee.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:22 AM on April 20 [13 favorites]


Oops. Yes, I meant the opposite of what I said.
posted by pipeski at 3:24 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]


Zed. As Mark Kermode points out :) skip to around 4.10 or 4.15 and you'll hear the reason for the title.

It is well worth a watch, really interesting film although it is a bit over long.
posted by Fence at 4:08 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]


I assume that's a typo? A British person would definitely say zed, not zee.

This is a weird one. Ordinarily, I'd agree with you. But... Here in Prague there's a metro station called Jiriho z Prodebad, which happens to be in one of the most popular areas for Brits and Americans to live. Because Czech is a nutcracker language to pronounce, the station's name is almost always shortened to jay-zee-pee by English speakers. (The Czechs hate this btw.) I'd been pronouncing it like that for years, like all the other Brits of my acquaintance, before I got called out on it by a Czech friend. I had no explanation for why we always pronounce it that way, aside from maybe we first heard it from an American and it stuck.

Long story short, perhaps the pronunciation falls most naturally to how it's first heard?

Under just about all other circumstances, as a Brit, I pronounce 'Z' as 'Zed'. Anything else just feels wrong.
posted by veedubya at 5:26 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]


I just watched two trailers for the movie and both have British characters saying "Zed". If you're hearing "Zee" in another trailer is that a voiceover announcer reading the name in American English?
posted by Gortuk at 10:26 AM on April 20


Gortuk: It was indeed a voiceover in the trailer I saw. I looked up trailers on YouTube and see the scene where Fawcett says "I call it Zed!" So, thanks all. My question is answered.
posted by CCBC at 2:32 PM on April 20


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