Jay Bees
January 16, 2007 9:57 AM   Subscribe

One of my favorite writers is Edmund Jabés. However, I have never heard anyone pronounce his name.

I usually assume standard French pronunciation, which would render it as "zha-BAYES," but the stress could come on the first syllable as well.

What is the correct pronunciation?
posted by jimfl to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Also, apparently I need guidance on how to spell his first name. (Edmond).
posted by jimfl at 9:59 AM on January 16, 2007


If you download radio show mp3 #14 off this page they say zha-BEZ, but they don't bother with the French accent grave on the 2nd syllable, which I would render differently than you do but can't do it with English syllables.
posted by Listener at 10:47 AM on January 16, 2007


Just about one minute into the interview.
posted by Listener at 10:47 AM on January 16, 2007


If you download radio show mp3 #14 off this page they say zha-BEZ, but they don't bother with the French accent grave on the 2nd syllable, which I would render differently than you do but can't do it with English syllables.

é is aigu, not grave.
posted by juv3nal at 11:25 AM on January 16, 2007


Yes, juv3nal, you are right, but everywhere on the net such as amazon cover pic, I see his name as Jabès, which is indeed grave, and cannot be correctly spoken by most native speakers of English, and a French language mp3 would give a different pronunciation, I expect.
posted by Listener at 11:54 AM on January 16, 2007


Not to get too pedantic about it, but Jabes is not French, he's an Egyptian Jew who moved to France in 1956 during the expulsion of Jews from Egypt. (Which is not to say that he doesn't pronounce his name in a French fashion, but which isn't to say that that's the way he pronounced his name in 1950.)

I've always said, and heard said, it pronounced in a Spanish fashion, with a bit more J sound (less H), and that particular s/z sound at the end. I've known a lot of people to pronounce his name that way.

If you can't get an answer here, you might send an email to Burning Deck and see if Rosemary Waldrop, who's translated him, might give you an answer.
posted by OmieWise at 1:29 PM on January 16, 2007


If you can't get an answer here, you might send an email to Burning Deck and see if Rosemary Waldrop, who's translated him, might give you an answer.

Burning Deck probably would have an answer, but you don't need to bother Ms. Waldrop specifically. Would you ask Stephen Hawking whether or not to hyphenate "wormhole"?

(I've always heard zha-BEZ, like Listener above)
posted by sleevener at 1:53 PM on January 16, 2007


Zha-BEZ is correct in French. Note also as per above that it's spelled «Jabès».
posted by Wolof at 2:45 PM on January 16, 2007


I've always said, and heard said, it pronounced in a Spanish fashion, with a bit more J sound (less H), and that particular s/z sound at the end. I've known a lot of people to pronounce his name that way.

I don't understand what you're trying to say. There is nothing in common between the Spanish pronunciation (kh) and the French (zh); you have to use one or the other. I have never heard his name pronounced à l'espagnole.

Zha-BEZ is correct in French

No it's not. Final -s is never pronounced z in French (by "final" I exclude liaison, as in les oiseaux). In French it would be zha-BES, which is how I say it. I'd love to know how Algerian Jews say it, however.
posted by languagehat at 3:32 PM on January 16, 2007


Waldrop is the one interviewed in that mp3 (the translator of the book in the pic) so she may say it later in there as well.
posted by Listener at 3:59 PM on January 16, 2007


hat, you're right.

No excuses.

Except my awful hangover this morning.
posted by Wolof at 4:05 AM on January 17, 2007


languagehat writes "There is nothing in common between the Spanish pronunciation (kh) and the French (zh); you have to use one or the other."

I was trying to suggest a French lead with a Spanish finish. But, as always, I would defer to you in these cases.
posted by OmieWise at 7:35 AM on January 17, 2007


sleevener writes "but you don't need to bother Ms. Waldrop specifically. Would you ask Stephen Hawking whether or not to hyphenate 'wormhole'?"

Well I don't know Waldrop, but quite aside from their relative importance, I think that questions of language and pronunciation are more likely to interest a poet (whose stock in trade is, y'know, language and pronunciation), then they are to interest a cosmologist.
posted by OmieWise at 7:37 AM on January 17, 2007


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