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Anyone else have this problem?

- 19 Dec 2010 -
31 posts / 0 new

I'm a design student and am obsessed with modern furniture. I have a good knowledge of iconic MCM designers but sometime have a hard time pronouncing some of the lesser know designers names (or danish/japanese designers). Everyone knows how to pronounce Eames, Bertoia, van der Rohe, Noguchi, and Saarinen but some of the others can be tricky. This may be an odd question but does anyone know a source where I can find the proper way to pronounce modern designers names? It seems to give you a whole lot more creditability if you can pronounce names correctly! These are a few of the designers that I have trouble with. (I'm not saying that these designer are lesser known, or less popular! I don't want to start a riot). Maybe others can add to this thread if people have the same problem.

-Jean Prouve
-Gerrit Rietveld
-Curtis Jere
-Milo Baughman
-Poul Kjaerholm
-Jens Risom
-Eva Zeisel
-Ole Wanscher

Thanks for any help you can provide. :)


- 19 Dec 2010

Good question
Here goes:

-Jean Prouve (Jean Proovey)
-Gerrit Rietveld ( garet reetveld)
-Curtis Jere (Curtis Eair or yeaar
-Milo Baughman ( Milo Bathman)
-Poul Kjaerholm ( Pol Careholme)
-Jens Risom (yens REsom
-Eva Zeisel (eve Zeyesel)
-Ole Wanscher (Olly Onesure)

Thats my stab I also have one that I didnt know properley for some time: Hvidt!

- 19 Dec 2010

I just saw a commercial the o...
I just saw a commercial the other day for Braun in which they pronounced it Brown... yeh i didn't know that

- 19 Dec 2010

Prouve - proovay

Prouve - proovay
Gerrit Rietveld - Hherrit Ree-et-velt

Serge Mouille is always a toughie even if your French is good. Moo-we-yuh (say it fast) is my best attempt

- 19 Dec 2010

what is correct

Should you have the money to purchase any products by these designers feel free to pronounce their names any way you choose. This is the "Golden Rule" - the person with the gold makes the rules.

If Jesus designed chairs there would be at least two ways to pronounce that name. Do the best you can and then forget about it.

- 19 Dec 2010

down in Texas, there is a...
down in Texas, there is a couple of ways to pronounce "Jesus." The regular way, and "hey-soos."

- 19 Dec 2010

What's the consensus on "Thonet"?
Toe-nay... or Ton-it?

The latter's supposedly correct, yet most Americans use the former. Should one go with the flow (so as to be understood), or risk coming off like a know-it-all jerk by pronouncing the "t"? (As with those Americans who pronounce Van Gogh as "Van Gock", or Nicaragua as "Neek-ah-rawh-gwa".)

- 19 Dec 2010

I thought it was sote-sess but on the Charlie Rose interview he pronounced his name as "sot s-ass" spoken quickly with the emphasis on the last syllable.

- 19 Dec 2010

That's correct,
tynellbuyer -- I graduated with a friend who went on to work for MB for a few years. Boffman is the way he pronounced it.

Ark, you have it almost correct: it isn't the customer who is always right about someone's name, it is the owner of that name. My high-school French teacher was the first of several in my life to point out that a person may pronounce his or her name any way they wish (typically based on family history) and others are obliged to follow suit.

Another correction to Arthur's list: Proovay. In French, the accented é is pronounced ay.

It was here, only a couple of years ago, that I was finally taught the correct pronunciation of Hans Wegner's name: Vayner, roughly. The silence of the Internet medium doesn't help us much in this matter !

- 19 Dec 2010

My pronunciation for Baughman...
My pronunciation for Baughman, Bau-gh-men. The gh is silent. Something like Baw-ahh-men...avoid every temptation to use a Southern drawl. More like the French word for wood, "Bois".

- 19 Dec 2010

A bit a Deja Vu, didn't we...
A bit a Deja Vu, didn't we discuss pronunciation before? Where's that thread.

MOMA printed a book back in the 60's that included a paper sheet addressing artist pronunciation. I should've bought it...not that it would've contributed much to this particular discussion but handy to have around.

- 20 Dec 2010

Marcel Brauer my ...
Marcel Brauer my daughter came back from design school and pronounced it Marcel Brouw er like eye brow , I say Brew er like brew beer what is it wise ones?

- 20 Dec 2010

Braun = brown..and also means brown in German.
Marcel Breuer is Hungarian, so I'm guessing Broyer?

- 20 Dec 2010


[phonetic translations into American English]

- 20 Dec 2010

Here's one...
what about Wegner?

I've heard VEE-ner. Is that correct?

- 20 Dec 2010

I've heard that too
and I thought they said "Hans Wiener" as in weener.

... as in:

- 20 Dec 2010

My guess
Would be "Vegner", like the German Wagner.

- 03 Jun 2011

Milo Baughman and other pronunciations
I emailed Brigham Young University where he taught for a number of years, and they told me it's pronounced "Boff-man."

I also wrote to the North American headquarters of Carl Hansen and Son, who have manufactured Hans Wegner chairs for decades, and they said his surname is pronounced "Veg-ner" if you're speaking English and "Vee-ner" if you're speaking Danish.

I've listened to countless videos and other recordings of interviews with designers, curators of museums, manufacturers and the like, and I have compiled a list of pronunciations. It is by no means definitive nor is it meant to be prescriptive, but if you're interested, you can find it on my blog.

- 04 Jun 2011

Wegner is "Vie-nehr" with hardly any r on the end and I think what they call a glottal stop in the middle. The two syllables are clearly articulated, anyway. I pronounced it "Wegner" once to some Danish friends and they looked at me blankly and then burst out laughing when they realized who I was talking about. That's the last time I ever did that! Around them, anyway.

There's a great site,, where you can type any word in any language and get at least one pronunciation and sometimes a bunch by someone who speaks that language. If the word isn't in their files, you can ask that it be added. Then they notify their members who do recordings of the request and BING! Someone records it and uploads it! And you get an email saying it's been added!

Words are so fun.

- 04 Jun 2011

I use Forvo and think it's a great site, but if you'll notice, right now there are three pronunciations of Wegner's name on Forvo, and none are the same. One says Veeg-ner, one says Vine-er and another says Vig-ner.

Just as there is confusion about how to say the name among Americans, there must also be confusion among Scandinavians.

That's why I contacted Carl Hansen and Son and decided to go with their pronunciation. They worked with Wegner and now work with his daughter Marianne Wegner Sorensen, who took over leadership of his studio in 1993. I figure they've actually heard the name pronounced by Wegner and his daughter themselves.

Here's a link to the content of their email to me. (Of course, in the overall scheme of things, it probably doesn't make a bit of difference how we say it. His designs speak for themselves.)

- 05 Jun 2011

Curtis Jere
Generally pronounced by big dealers and serious collectors as the signature reads (first part is an initialism) "see jerae". Leave the J in there. That part of the name is derived from the first name "Jerry". Since there is no such person as Curtis Jere, it seems most correct not to fill in anything.

- 05 Jun 2011

Interesting article about C. Jere'
Yes, I agree with vintagedamage.

According to an article by Mitchell Owens in the November 2010 edition of Elle Décor, the pronunciation is see jhair-AY.

- 06 Jun 2011

Dana, there are different...
Dana, there are different pronunciations of Danish words depending on where the Dane is from in Denmark, so maybe that's why the pronunciations of "Wegner" vary a bit. (And one of those guys is from Iceland, so.)

We lived in the small town of Fredensborg and there were a couple of pronunciations of that. And worse was Helsingør, a town in north Sjælland. The people who lived there said it very differently from Danes who didn't live there. As in, it barely sounded like the same word at all.

Anyway, like I said, words are fun.

- 06 Jun 2011

Spanky, I guess it's
Spanky, I guess it's really not so very different from all the regional pronunciations in the States. And names are even harder to pin down. If you lined up five people named Wegner, they might all pronounce it differently...and they'd all be correct.

That's why I finally decided to go with the pronunciation provided to me by someone who knew Hans J. Wegner and his daughter personally. It was starting to give me a headache. :)

Sometimes words are fun...and sometimes make you run in circles.

- 06 Jun 2011

Hahah, that's great!Cawl ...
Hahah, that's great!

Cawl Hansen. I had no idea.

eta: Oh wait, I didn't listen far enough. You were talking about Erik Hansen and not the guy from Joisey. I think Mr. Hansen just using an American pronunciation. Danish pronunciation of the letter W is definitely a V sound at the beginning of a word.

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