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post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
how do you propular pronounce this wonderful cheeses name??? was having a discussion with someone about this and we both have different way of pronouncing it...

post #2 of 8
dictionary.com says this:

Gruyère definition | Dictionary.com

hit the speaker icon on the link and it will pronounce it for you.
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
post #3 of 8
"Gru" as in "Gru" from "Gruesome", then "i" as in "idiot", then "air".

So you get Gru-i-air. Gru-y-ere. Gruyere
post #4 of 8
I'm... assuming you want to know the proper pronunciation. If you just want the closest pronunciation, it's "groo-yair". If you want more details, read on!

I am French. I have never, ever heard any American being able to properly pronounce the french vowel "u". It seems to be just as hard for Americans to pronounce the French "u" as for French people to pronounce the American "r". It's pretty much just as hard for Americans to pronounce the French "r", so with a word like "Gruyère" you're really asking for trouble! :lol: To give you an idea of what you may sound like, next time you meet a French person, ask them to say "Error". You should get a good laugh.

To describe the vowel "u" is a difficult thing to do. I think it's in there somewhere in the American word "few". You pronounce an "f", then you slowly morph "ee" into "oo". About halfway between that "ee" and that "oo" there's almost a "u". You really have to purse your lips way forward into a tiny circle. Almost like you're trying to whistle. It's a typical French sound where all the sound is forward in the mouth, and the cheeks and the lips are really tense. Since most of the American language is pronounced with a relaxed jaw, cheeks and lips and placed way in the back of the throat, it's not a sound you're used to make.

Now the French "r" I really can't describe. It's not rolling, but it does need some of the same kind of contact between the back of the tongue and the palate. Real hard for any American.

Everything else should be pretty straight forward:
G as in Grand
y as in Yeah
è as in met (as in we met in front of the statue...)

Here's a video where the word is pronounced correctly twice at around 1:21mn:

YouTube - Beaufort : Prince des Gruyères
post #5 of 8
Please note the emphasis falling on the second syllable: it's not GROO-yair but gru-YAIR.

Frankly, if you get it 90% right, only the French will be bothered. And they're going to laugh anyway: it's something French people enjoy, laughing at foreigners' attempts at French. That's okay, they're nice people anyway. :)

The one thing you must never, EVER do is correct anyone else's French pronunciation, no matter how horrible. (I mean, yes, if you're French and someone asks you -- as in this thread -- or it seems like a genuinely appropriate informal moment, but not otherwise.) I'll tell you why:

My wife teaches in a Modern Foreign Languages department at a major research university in a major US city. She was at a big department dinner held at a well-known mostly-French restaurant that shall go unnamed. One of the department members placed his order, and the waiter corrected his pronunciation with a slight superior sneer, then departed.

Unfortunately, of course, the man so corrected is a distinguished professor of French literature, someone who has regularly appeared on French radio in intense conversation with famous French intellectuals, and it is generally agreed that his 50/50 upbringing in the US and France, and his 50/50 parentage, makes it impossible for anyone to tell that he's not a native of whichever country he's in. There's a story that when he first had a radio conversation with, I think maybe it was Foucault?, the latter expressed surprise to learn that this man was not a French citizen, born and raised and all that!

So, there was a slight pause and then a great deal of therapeutic, convivial laughter that was extremely good for the department. :lol:

Don't be that guy.
post #6 of 8
Actually it really doesn't matter - I mean we don't have emphasis on certain syllables in France as you have in America. You could say GRU-yere or gru-YERE or gru-yere, depending of your mood, the sentence, etc.. there's really no rule on that one.

In fact when I first came to America I didn't know what an emphasis was or why it could be important. I walked into a supermarket and asked where I could find po-ta-TOES? And the guy asked "What? Toys?" - and I wouldn't believe it! I knew my english wasn't perfect but come on, saying "potatoes" and having the guy understand "toys"?!!!

Minutes later he finally understood and said "AAAaaahhh.. po-TAAAAA-toes".

That was my first lesson on the emphasis. :lol:

I don't think they'd be bothered (as long as they understand what you're saying). Just like many Americans like the French accent and think it's "beautiful", most French love the French spoken with an American accent. It's very... exotic.. and "cool".
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
excellent thanks for help guys... seems im the dope. i've been saying 'gree-yeah' noone has ever corrected me so i assumed i was saying i properly. until now. thanks again.
post #8 of 8
That "gree" isn't really all that far off the French u, as French Fries explained. The u should be halfway between oo and ee.
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