Feb 11 2011, 3:08pm
Vowel Movements and Burrrrs
Also, I have been pronouncing it as "Bay-lin" and "Dway-lin" since the first time I read them, and was surprised to hear "Bah-lin" and "Dwah-lin" Anyone else? anyone got definitive pronunciation?
It’s quite definitely supposed to be [ˈbɑːlɨn] and [ˈdwɑːlɨn], not [ˈbeɪlən] and [ˈdweɪlən]!
It sounded like she got all the other dwarves’ names pretty close correct, too, including even using [ɾ] instead of [ɹ] for Ori, Dori, and Nori, and using a two‐syllable hiatus instead of a one‐syllable diphthong in Óin and Glóin. That was all nice to hear.
She did botch the final r in Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur, but that’s just her own non-rhotic accent punching through. It should be [ˈbɔːmbɚ] — which is sometimes written [ˈbɔmbəɹ] — but certainly not [ˈbɒmbə] the way she said it with no r whatsoever. So it’s not correct, but I imagine they’ll fix it up for the production in any Kiwis whose twang they decide needs taming. She’s also a victim of the cot–caught merger, as I’ve indicated above in the first syllable of Bombur.
Like Tolkien himself and also John Rhys‐Davies’ portrayal of Gimli, the two Scots should both be native rhotic speakers, which will work out well for them. I think James Nesbitt is too; not sure on Aidan Turner. The Englishmen and Kiwis are not native rhotic speakers, however, so they may have to fix that up during dialect coaching.
I figure that just as they did with Merry and Pippin versus Frodo and Sam, they might well try to zero in on a single shared dialect only between each set of Dwarves who are closely related and then let each group vary a bit from each other group. Balin and Dwalin should have no trouble being both Scots, but these are after all actors, so they should be able to handle any required dialect shifts without too terribly much work.
I wouldn’t be surprised if they left Martin Freeman pretty close to RP, which is non‐rhotic, since it will give him a more bourgeois or semi‐posh sound. I seem to recall that Ian McKellen put more r into his Gandalf, having studied and adopted Tolkien’s own (rhotic) accent for the rôle.
Here are the actors’ nationalities:
Interesting that there’s no one from the States, Canada, or Australia. Harder to work the accents, maybe? Or maybe it’s just because those countries don’t end in “‑land”? :)
- Bilbo: Martin Freeman – England
- Thorin: Richard Armitage – England
- Fíli: Rob Kazinsky – England
- Kíli: Aidan Turner – Ireland
- Balin: Ken Stott – Scotland
- Dwalin: Graham McTavish – Scotland
- Bifur: William Kircher – New Zealand
- Bofur: James Nesbitt – Northern Ireland
- Bombur: Stephen Hunter – New Zealand
- Óin: John Callen – New Zealand
- Glóin: Peter Hambleton – New Zealand
- Ori: Adam Brown – England
- Nori: Jed Brophy – New Zealand
- Dori: Mark Hadlow – New Zealand
PLEASE NOTE: That’s all written using standard IPA notation. If you quote this posting in a reply, you must change Post Style to read “Markup and HTML” or else it will be ugly and scrambled.
…all eyes looked upon the ring; for he held it now aloft, and the green jewels gleamed there that the Noldor had devised in Valinor. For this ring was like to twin serpents, whose eyes were emeralds, and their heads met beneath a crown of golden flowers, that the one upheld and the other devoured; that was the badge of Finarﬁn and his house.
The Silmarillion, pp 150-151
while Felagund laughs beneath the trees
in Valinor and comes no more
to this grey world of tears and war.
The Lays of Beleriand, p 311