Pronouncing Joyce.

As I said here, I’m reading Lena Eltang’s Другие барабаны [Different drums], and part of the multicultural mix I talked about is the epigraphs from all over, like this one (in English):

The Vico road goes round and round
to meet where terms begin.

I was pretty sure it was Joyce, and sure enough it’s at FW 452.21. (It’s a road in Dalkey; you can see a couple of photos here and read a discussion of possible origins of the name here.) But how was it pronounced? I had a vague memory it was /ˈvaɪkou/, but I wanna know for sure… and the internet turned up Pronouncing Joyce, a wonderful site that not only tells you how to say things (“Proper names in Joyce’s writing can be pronounced in Dublin English in ways which are surprising to those unfamiliar with the dialect”) but gives you audio files so you can hear them said. Vico is indeed /ˈvaɪkou/, Aungier (Street) is /ˈe:nʤəɹ/, Capel (Street) is /ˈke:pl/, Chapelizod is /ʧæplˈɪzəd/… Man, I wish I’d had this resource when I was intensively reading Joyce.

For lagniappe, here’s a great word for you: gaspergoufreshwater drum,’ used chiefly in Louisiana. Etymology :

Louisiana French casburgot, casseburgau, from French dialect casse-burgot, a kind of fish, from casser to break + burgau, a kind of shellfish


  1. A coupla Irish navvies were havin a smoke and the foreman walks up and he says, you lazy ignorant lay-abouts, it’s a wonder you’ve not been sacked months ago. Why, I’ll wager you can’t tell the difference between a girder and a joist.
    And the first navvy takes a draw and he says, well now, girder, he wrote Faust.
    And the second says, and joist, a’ course, he wrote Ulysses.

  2. PlasticPaddy says

    Re Chapelizod, I am told its old village inhabitants say ChapelISSod, whereas the echt Dub (from between the canals, perhaps by way of Finglas or Ballymun) says ChapeLIZZard.

  3. Hmm. The IPA is shaky. There are student errors and others. Perhaps the audio files were recorded first and the IPA transcribed from them by a different person who misinterprets the hyperenunciation. Clanbrassil is /klænˈbrʌs(ə)l/ when it should be /klænˈbræs(ə)l/ (1h32m13s in this 1982 reading) All the Clon- names show initial stress when in fact only Clongowes is such. Rialto is actually /raɪˈæltou/ (3h26m13s).

  4. Alexandra is pronounced with /-gz-/, not /-ks-/, as the IPA has it. Athlone has the stress on the second syllable, not the first. (That is wrt to the audio clips on the site. I don’t know how they are pronounced in Dublin.)

  5. PlasticPaddy says

    Aleksandra, Alegzandra are allophones, not only in Dublin but I think elsewhere in the English speaking world, where Aleksandra would be slightly preferred in measured or refined speech.
    Athlone is pronounced correctly with final syllable stress.

  6. Kevin Kiely: “Joyce lived in Trieste at Piazza Giambattista Vico but the Vico Road in Dalkey is not named after the author of Scienza Nuova (Joyce thought it was). The beautiful Dalkey highroad takes its name from a town near Sorrento called Vico Equense.”

    Bob Frewen: “The name derives from an abbreviation of vicolo, a narrow path or alley, common in the Neapolitan area”

    I think Sorrento Cottage and Vico Cottage were the first houses in the area (by 1840), with Vico Road built over the track to the latter.

  7. “Aleksandra would be slightly preferred in measured or refined speech” — I don’t think a survey would support that claim. I think I personally would only unvoice the x if I were for some reason pausing after each syllable.

    PS I don’t think the places in Dublin are pronounced any different from the eponymous queen.

  8. PlasticPaddy says

    I felt bad about that judgment and tried to hedge with “slightly preferred”. I am sorry for putting that in. Re eponymous queen, I recall a discussion I had many years ago with a Maynooth cleric, who insisted that the village name referred to a desert (or retreat/hermitage), so Séipéal an Dísirt, rather than Séipéal Íosolde. But seems to have withstood his clerical influence????.

  9. @pp: my vague; “eponymous queen” referred to Alexandra, not Iseult, whose name has been subject to a good deal of mangling around Dublin, from the Lizard to Isolde Fort via Izod Tower.

  10. PlasticPaddy says

    ???? loadsaqueens in Dublin

  11. per incuriam says

    A coupla Irish navvies … and he says, well now, girder, he wrote Faust

    Irish? The joke is not optimised for Irish accents. It would take a granny-rule for navvies to make it work.

    Peugeot markets its cars with a purr in England and a pew in Ireland.

  12. John Cowan says

    I daresay that their accents had been affected some by years of work on the English canals.

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