Do you sometimes ask yourself if you are pronouncing names from books and movies correctly?  Well, you’re not alone. As a matter of fact, the audio book retailer  ‘Audible’ carried out a survey with 2000 participants and discovered that 39% of people have incorrectly pronounced the names of well-known fictional characters.

Today we thought we’d enlighten you on how to say 10 Star Wars words, and at the same time provide you with some more general pronunciation tips so that you can sound more natural in English conversation.

Let’s start with the title of the movie itself!

 

MISPRONOUNCED WORDS FROM STAR WARS:

 

 

1. Star Wars 

 

As will can hear, the stress is on the first noun  STAR , and not on the second noun WARS

Therefore, the correct pronunciation of this compound noun is STARwars (starWARS).

 

Compound nouns

Compound nouns are generally pronounced with the emphasis on the first part of the word. The following are only some in a long list of English compound nouns.

 

  • Cowboy
  • Email
  • Super market
  • Deadline
  • Grandmother

 

2. Skywalker 

 

Again, the first part of the compound noun is emphasised.

In addition, the ‘L’ is not pronounced (silent ‘l’). As a result, the pronunciation is:

 

SKYwawkə

 

Silent ‘l’

Words with a silent ‘l’ are very common in English. Other examples include:

 

  • Talk =   tawk
  • Walk =  wawk
  • Could = kud
  • Would = wud
  • Half =    hahf

3. Palpatine

 

Here we have the stress on the first syllable: PALpateen

Can you also hear that the final ‘e‘ on palpatine  is not  pronounced?

This is an example of a silent ‘e’ in English.

 

silent or magic 'e'

The silent ‘e’

The silent ‘e‘ is common in many English words. It is also known as ‘Magic E

As a general rule, silent ‘e’ occurs when words end with a single vowel and single consonant + e

 

Compare these two words:

  1.  mad   –  vowel + consonant
  2.  made  – vowel + consonant + silent e  = ‘e’ is silent

 

In addition, magic e changes the sound of the first vowel, so made is said with the alphabet sound ‘A’  /meid/

The same is not true of mad.

 

Here are some more examples:

 

  1. bit       bite     ( The final e  makes us say  ‘I’)
  2. con     cone   ( The final e makes us say ‘O’)
  3. plan   plane  ( The final e makes us say ‘A’)
  4. cut     cute.    ( The final e makes us say ‘U’)

 

4. Empire

 

Here the stress is on the first syllable of the noun: EMpire.  Not emPIRE

 

Syllable stress

 

In fact, the general syllable stress rule for 2-syllable nouns, adjectives, and adverbs is as follows:

  • 2-syllable nounsadjectives, and adverbs are usually stressed on the first syllable

The word present for instance is a 2-syllable word. If we stress the first syllable (PREsent), it is a noun (gift) or an adjective (opposite of absent).

However, if we stress the second syllable (preSENT), it becomes a verb (to offer).

Other examples include:

 

NOUN VERB
PROject proJECT
RECord reCORD
PROtest proTEST
CONtract conTRACT
OBject obJECT

 

 

Now that we’ve briefly explored compound nouns, silent letters, and 2-syllable word stress in English, let’s  quickly proceed down the list with some more Star Wars names:

4. R2D2

 

Here, the first part of the word is emphasised:  ARtoo-DEEtoo

 

5. Han

 

Just in case you have been saying Hans all this time, we now know that the correct pronunciation is HAHN

 

6. Leia

 

 

The pronunciation here is LEYa,  and not LIa

 

7. Chewbacca

Chewbacca can do it

Note the stress on the second part chewBAKA

 

9. Jedi

Notice the pronunciation  JEdai

 

10. Darth Vader 

 

This legendary Star Wars character is pronounced :  VEydə

 

 

We trust you will now start pronouncing Star Wars words correctly. Of course, it doesn’t help that English is not a phonetic language, so you’ll just have to rely on the sounds rather than the spelling. And in case it makes you feel any better, even the star actors of Star Wars are unsure about the correct pronunciation of some words!