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Jan 26, 2008 01:59 PM

How to pronounce Saveur, as in the magazine

Is it sa-voor' or is it say'-ver, as rhyming with flavor, or maybe something else??

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  1. Closer to Savoor, I guess. It's easier for us Germans to make that second syllable sound, but for people who aren't used to French pronounciation it's tough. How do you pronounce the "d'hoeuvre" in 'hors d'oeuvre'? It's about the same sound.

    1 Reply
    1. re: linguafood

      Good example linguafood.
      I'll add this: Say sa-voor, but when you pronounce the second syllable, allow your lower lip to come forward slightly and the back of your tongue to occupy more of your mouth cavity, thus dimishing the roundness of the "oo." (I believe it's called "shortening" of the vowel; linguists?) Also think how you pronounce: liquer. -Cay

    2. It would be difficult to render the exact French pronunciation in writing, but I think an Anglophone might correct say "sah-vuhr", with stress on the second syllable. What's tricky in French is the "eur" sound that I personally cannot express in text. I think you have to hear it. Best to use cayjohan's example and think "liqueur."

      Although it would sound pretty pretentious to drop in the word *saveur* into normal conversation using a precise Parisian accent.

        1. Wow. Somewhere I got the impression it was pronounced saav-WAH. Not sure where I got that from. RicRios convinces me otherwise.

          3 Replies
          1. re: alanstotle

            actually, there is a french word that is pronounced saav - WAH, but it's spelled savoir and it means "to know". Completely different word!

            1. re: divamon

              Ah...that explains a lot. Thanks for the correction.

              1. re: alanstotle

                Not really, as there's an "r" on the end of "savoir". "saav-WAH" would be more like Savoie, the French department.

          2. Thanks for the feedback. I just came across the audio of a recent NPR broadcast: "Saveur 100:' Favorites From the World of Food" by Michele Norris. You can hear the interviewer's pronunciation:

            11 Replies
            1. re: JanRan

              How about trying Sah-'VEUR(L) end by ALMOST saying an "L" sound.

                1. re: JungMann

                  JungMann, idia has something here. The way the tongue is brought down in pronouncing the "L" is very close to the closing of the vowels described upthread, although from the front end, rather than the back. The key is that idia says ALMOST an "L." I think it's a good "almost" sound to practice.

                  1. re: cayjohan

                    I've been saying it at my desk for the past 5 minutes (and probably getting stares) but it doesn't seem like the "L" or even an almost-L modifies the vowel at all. The shape of the vowel is already determined by the "R." And the above still gives no clue as to where to begin in pronouncing the -eu sound. Of course if you can get the correct pronunciation this way, vive la différence!

                    1. re: JungMann

                      The French (unlike the Italians who delight in any kind of Italian spoken to them), disdain improper or sloppy pronunciation of their language.
                      If it sounds strange to you, perhaps you might ask a French person to say it and listen for that "silent L" which is definitely there if one knows how to speak "good" French.

                      1. re: idia

                        J'ai beaucoup d'amis francophones. Je parle français et je l'entends souvent. And still have never encountered a "silent L." Are you perhaps confusing the Northern pronunciation of the guttural "R" with an "L" sound. If one exagerrates the French "R," the sound could be confused with a sort-of "L" sound.

                        1. re: JungMann

                          That just might work too!
                          By George, I think you've got it!

                          1. re: idia

                            Just to be clear, that pronunciation would still be improper, not to mention vaguely offensive in its caricature of a French accent if someone is unaccustomed to using a guttural R (which can also be interpreted as pretentious in Standard American).

                            Cay and linguafood both had good, simple initial instructions. It might be best to save the uvular trills for when buying the magazine at Orly.

                            1. re: JungMann

                              I want to partake in uvular thrills but, alas, I am Greek. But I can pronounce "chutzpah, challah, Hanukkah..." like an angry settler on the West Bank.

                              That silent L is almost as cacophonous as the R in Sade or Florid-er, Canad-er, Chin-er. Blech, I just got goose bumps!

                          2. re: JungMann

                            I don't hear the silent L either. If anything, I think of it the way Agent Orange put it (sah-VUHR) with the lightly gutteral R sound as if you were just, JUST beginning to aspirate to hock a loogie.

                            1. re: inaplasticcup

                              "Well, MY family used to live in a box in the middle of the road and we would duck into the pothole when cars drove over us." ...You know, I think I'll skip the aspiration and just go with the hock. I don't hear JUST the silent L, but I do hear the silent Laughter. ;) This pronunciation thread is just so... so... *cough* Cheers! :)