A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Frank Reed
Date: 2021 Jun 20, 10:13 -0700
Six months ago, I started a thread on this topic which didn't go anywhere. Time to revive it...
I'm putting together a guide to navigational star name pronunciations. The pronunciations have been biased towards english-speakers, which is not a terrible thing given that this is a major language of international navigation, but there are issues. I'm leaning towards pronunciation "pairs": one more anglo-friendly and another that uses clean vowels, fewer diphthongs and fewer sounds that are difficult for speakers of other languages. I'm not interested in creating "original" pronunciations that attempt to answer that unanswerable question 'how were they originally pronounced?'.
Is anyone familiar with a guide to star name pronunciations that is not English-based?
Also please note, I don't think we should be bound by any of the recommended pronounciations from the 1940s. There were a couple of guides published back then that claimed to be definitive which were largely opinionated declarations. Ignore them. Some pronunciations that were once scoffed at are now standard and no longer demand debate. For example, David Pike noted a couple of days ago that BBC coverage pronounced Betelgeuse as if spelled "beetle juice," and indeed I contend that it was the (very British!) Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio and television series that locked in that pronunciation, long common in the US and among navigators, from the late 1970s.
Repeating my question from last December: How do you say Rasalhague??! And how about Achernar? How do you pronounce the initial "A" in that name?
As a model and precedent for internationized pronunciation issues, I recommend reading the Wikipedia article on the NATO phonetic alphabet.