Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I can read it, but I can't say it.

cover of book Junot Díaz is making a splash in the literary world, and I wanted to pick up The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Placing a hold and checking the book out presented no challenge, but trying to figure out how to pronounce Mr. Díaz's first name without being embarrassed took a little research.

Apparently I'm not the only one with this problem, because there's the Author Name Pronunciation Guide which has sound clips of writers pronouncing their own names. Unfortunately, Junot isn't on that one. Then there's the Say How? page from the Library of Congress, which covers all public figures. No Junot there either. There's also a helpful blog in which folks weigh in on how they think an author's name is pronounced at The Millions.

Thankfully for someone who doesn't listen to much radio or watch much television, there's an abundance of both online. This YouTube clip from the Google campus gives me a good idea of the pronunciation, as does this interview from NPR. And as a final confirmation, this printed interview with the author answers this question for me right at the top!

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