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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: February ::
Re: Henry VI Part 1 Questions
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0337  Friday, 21 February 2003

[1]     From:   D. F. Coye <
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        Date:   Thursday, 20 Feb 2003 11:47:58 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0333 Re: Henry VI Part 1 Questions

[2]     From:   H. R. Greenberg <
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        Date:   Thursday, 20 Feb 2003 12:16:55 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0333 Re: Henry VI Part 1 Questions


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D. F. Coye <
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Date:           Thursday, 20 Feb 2003 11:47:58 EST
Subject: 14.0333 Re: Henry VI Part 1 Questions
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0333 Re: Henry VI Part 1 Questions

I must disagree with Bruce Willis who wrote:

"Frequently, as I know is certainly the case in King John and Henry V,
having performed the Bastard and Henry in those plays, the French and
English pronounce the Dauphin in different ways. Usually scanning the
meter helps one determine how they pronounce it. The speech of the
French characters places the stress on the second syllable - Do-FAN.
Most of the English (although the characters in King John are sometimes
torn between the two and not clearly of one descent) tend to emphasize
the first syllable - DO-fin/fan, or DOLL-fin. I paid a lot of attention
to this during those productions. I clearly remember that for both the
Bastard and Henry, characters of British descent, they favored the first
syllable."

This word should never pronounced with second syllable stress no matter
who is speaking, as for example in H5 when the French King says to his
son at the end of 3.5 "Prince Dauphin, you shall stay with us in
Rouen".  The pronunciation Shakespeare intended was /DAW fin/, the
anglicized form we should still be using today.  If actors or directors
insist on a frenchified pronunciation, they can use /DOH fan/ (with the
second syllable the Fr. nasal vowel I can't reproduce here), but stress
still has to fall on the first syllable--which is normal for some recent
French words borrowed into British English but not American English (cf.
cafe, hotel, garage).  The spelling "Dolphin" was used in Eliz. times,
which simply indicates that Dauphin-Dolphin were homophones, the /l/
being silent in Dolphin as it was for many dialects in "falcon" and
"Walter" (cf. the pun in 2H6 on Walter-water).   The /l/ was later
restored in standard English for all these words--but some dialects,
southern NJ for example, still don't have an /l/ before a consonant in
any word (milk, elm, elk), even among  prestige speakers.

D. F. Coye
Princeton, NJ
Author of "Pronouncing Shakespeare's Words: A Guide from A to Zounds."
Routledge, 2002

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           H. R. Greenberg <
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Date:           Thursday, 20 Feb 2003 12:16:55 EST
Subject: 14.0333 Re: Henry VI Part 1 Questions
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0333 Re: Henry VI Part 1 Questions

My guess is that there was indeed some contempt for the Dauphin
expressed through the "wrong" pronunciation. One associates to the small
likenesses -- porcelain or ivory as I recall, that frontally showed
Napoleon looking suitably imperial, but the reverse of the status
revealed that he was sitting on a toilet.

I would also wonder about the English -- and not only the English
people's native love of jokey wordplay around foreign words: Ypres
becomes Wipers in WWI, et cetera. Something innate here to the language
brain, and folks in linguistics might have something useful to speculate
about here.

H. R. Greenberg

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