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This is the last name of a French mathematician. I would like to know how it is pronounced.

Is it a common last name?

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Use any text-to-speech software. Here is the first I found, and the result is quite good. What else do you need? It's too late to ask him personally… –  Stéphane Gimenez Apr 24 '12 at 19:04
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@StéphaneGimenez, Thanks, I'll keep in mind text-to-speech next time. –  Roronoa Zoro Apr 24 '12 at 19:06
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@StéphaneGimenez TTS software is not very reliable. Especially for proper names. –  Gilles Apr 24 '12 at 21:36
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@StéphaneGimenez — I think it is good to ask, especially for non-french names for which the pronunciation is very variable. Even for french names your website can be wrong, for example for Jacques Tits or Louis de Broglie. –  Lierre Apr 25 '12 at 0:49
    
Let me make a grouped answer: Either you ask for the typical French pronunciation of a name, which is pronounced as if it was from French origin, or the question is too-localized or off-topic (not related to the French language). Descartes, Fermat and Fourier are all pronounced correctly with text-to-speech software. –  Stéphane Gimenez Apr 25 '12 at 13:36

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

My maths teachers and fellow students pronounce it in the expected way: /vɑ̃.dɛʁ.mɔ̃d/ (in IPA).

This being said, this name is not of French origin, so this pronunciation may not be etymologically correct.

It is not a common last name. For instance, geopatronyme.com references only two births between 1891 and 1990. (I make no guarantees about the reliability of this site.)

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Can you direct me to a place where I can interpret /vɑ̃.dɛʁ.mɔ̃d/. I looked up 'French pronunciation charts' and came across this, is there a more official site? Plus, I don't see the letter 'n' in /vɑ̃.dɛʁ.mɔ̃d/, does that mean it's silent? –  Roronoa Zoro Apr 25 '12 at 13:32
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@RoronoaZoro If I remember my IPA classes correctly, your chart seems fine. The 'n' is comprised in ɑ̃; it is not a standalone sound in this case. Wikipedia's French IPA chart is maybe easier to understand. –  Kareen Apr 25 '12 at 13:56

I'm from Belgium and it is a typical Dutch name (Netherlands or Belgium). His name's history indicates the place you originate from, like you have de in French.

About the pronunciation, you can't make a big mistake. You will hear a slight difference when hearing it from English, French or Dutch speaking people (French speaking people won't pronounce the ending “e” as much as for example Dutch speaking people).

But overall, as long as you put the emphasis on the “mon”, you should do fine.

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Each syllable could be pronounced differently. /vɑ̃/ vs /van/, /dɛʁ/ vs /dər/, /mɔ̃d/ vs /mɔnd/. If I'm a correct observer, mine is something like /van.dəʁ.mɔ̃nd/. –  Un francophone Apr 25 '12 at 18:36
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@Unfrancophone: Even in Belgium, we pronounce lastnames different according to region. There are far more difficult lastnames to pronounce in other languages than this one. You should really try hard to pronounce this name so that your conversational partner wouldn't understand you. But you are right, there are slight differences phonetically. –  djerry Apr 26 '12 at 6:20
    
(I'm Belgian as well). We mostly agree. But I'm not sure I'd call /ɑ̃/ vs /a/ or /ɔ̃/ vs /ɔ/ slight, I know that it contributed to make me fail to recognize familiar names pronounced by French people. –  Un francophone Apr 26 '12 at 9:41
    
I don't agree with this explaination. If you ask a frenchman to pronounce it, he probably pronounce the sound "an" and the "er"(like é). instead of "ane" et "eur". –  Rabskatran May 21 '12 at 10:50

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