How do you pronounce the word 'Wilhelmine'?
February 13, 2005 11:30 AM   Subscribe

How do you pronounce the word 'Wilhelmine' used as an English adjective to describe things pertaining to the German Second Empire (1871-1918)? wil-HELM-meena, as in the female name? wil-HELM-meen? I've only read it, never heard it, and on-line dictionaries fail me.
posted by mojohand to Writing & Language (6 answers total)
vil-HELM-meena [Vilhelmine /Vilhelmina]. In certain cases, "W" in German is pronounced as a "V".
posted by Smart Dalek at 11:49 AM on February 13, 2005

In certain cases, "W" in German is pronounced as a "V".

Actually, it's true in every case. There is no "W" sound in German.

(Side note: Germans I've met, when speaking English, tend to pronounce "valley" as "walley," and "village" as "willage." I'm still not sure why. Maybe they're overcompensating?)
posted by ruddhist at 12:01 PM on February 13, 2005

As an English adjective, I would say it's pronounced WIL-hel-meen or VIL-hel-meen (emphasis on the first syllable). Unlike what Smart Dalek said, the final e would be silent because it's an English adjective. There's no need to mimic German pronounciation for the English -ine adjectival ending.

The German name is pronounced VIL-helm, but you can take your pick between the V or W sound because both are acceptable in English.
posted by stopgap at 12:13 PM on February 13, 2005

I'd agree with're using the English-language suffix "-ine" to create an adjective--like in the examples of "Benedictine" and "opaline" on it's always pronounced "-een", with a silent "e".
posted by LairBob at 12:39 PM on February 13, 2005

To clarify regarding Smart Dalek's links--the difference is that the examples in those Google searches were all uses of the Germanic proper name, which would pronounce the final "e", and not the English-language adjective that mojohand is asking about.
posted by LairBob at 12:42 PM on February 13, 2005

Stopgap and LairBob are correct -- emphasis on the first syllable, and "een" for the third syllable because it's an English suffix.
posted by scody at 12:43 PM on February 13, 2005

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