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Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Annals of Catymology, #1

Aloysius vs. Aloyisius
And how do I pronounce my name?
Controversy over how to spell and pronounce my name has littered the World Wide Web, spreading confusion and leading to countless amusing exchanges among the catymologically challenged.

If one googles Aloyisius, Google asks, “Did you mean Aloysius?”
This morning, Google coughed up only 789 hits for Aloyisius.
For Aloysius, however, Google spat out 4,270,000 hits!

Therefore, I’m sticking with my name.
Aloysius is my name.

Even more prevalent than spelling errors, mistakes in pronunciation have dogged those lucky enough to be named Aloysius :

One pronunciation pedant insists on this pronunciation:
Aloysius (al-OY-see-us)
al-OY-see-us? Please! This poor, dogged human must have wasted his youth on too much Latin.

For, while Aloysius is a Catholic saint, good Irish folks—Catholic and otherwise—usually pronounce his name as follows:
Please pronounce our name "Al - Oh - Wish - Us"
Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love, shows a fine ear for catymology when she comments:
The Family Names:
Sometimes naming fictional characters is a lot like naming real babies. You come up with a name before you know much about them as individuals. You pick a name that represents an idea of what you want them to be.

I wanted the carnival family to be a classic all-American mix, rootless originals spliced into something new. The name Binewski was part of a rhyming pet name my mother used to call us kids when we were growing up. “Now, my little Rooski Binooski,” she’d say. It has a nice middle-European rhythm. Aloysius (which I pronounce “allo-wishes”) is a stereotypical Irish name. Lillian Hinchcliff is the snooty WASP/English contingent. The children have Greek or Italian names, partly to suggest a kind of ostentation by the parents, and partly for the lyric bombast native to the show world of carnivals and circuses.
Among Irishmen, the name Aloysius has literally achieved cult status.
Famous stage names include:
Elvis Costello - Declan Patrick Aloysius McManus

By 1986, Costello was preparing to make a comeback. Working in the US with Burnett, a band containing a number of Elvis Presley's sidemen (including James Burton and Jerry Scheff) and minor input from the Attractions he produced King Of America, an acoustic guitar-driven album with a country sound, augmented by some of his best songs for some time. Around this time he legally changed his name back to Declan MacManus, adding Aloysius as an extra middle name.

John Ford - Sean Aloysius O'Fearna

Famously irascible and proud of his Irish heritage, Ford often told people his birth name was Sean Aloysius Feeney (or O'Feeney).
Some find my name elegant—as in the following except from a bio of an Irish radio personality:
Weeshie Fogarty
A Profile of the Voice behind Radio Kerry's Terrace Talk

Christened Aloysius, his shortened version, Weeshie, came about when his young pals in lower New Street Killarney of the 40's and 50's failed to pronounce what he terms the "posh" Aloysius.

Please don’t call me Weeshie! I’m much too POSH for that.

Theater folks, who after all have to speak up, have sometimes wondered how to pronounce the name of a character called Aloysius:
Help: How do you pronounce "Aloysius"? (Doubt)
Posted On:10/30/05 at 09:34 PM

I'm preparing one of Father Flynn's monologues for an audition and he mentions her name. I've read the play, but not seen it, so I've never heard Sister Aloysius' name pronounced. I'm guessing it's "ah-LOY-shus" but I'm not sure. Can anyone help me out here? Thanks.

-- Yankeefan007

re: Help: How do you pronounce 'Aloysius'? (Doubt)
Posted On:10/30/05 at 09:34 PM



re: Help: How do you pronounce 'Aloysius'? (Doubt)
Posted On:10/30/05 at 09:48 PM

Believe it or not, I have relatives with that old Irish name. They pronounce it Al - Oh - wishus (that last is like 'wishes' with a u instead of an e)

--The Distinctive Baritone

re: Help: How do you pronounce 'Aloysius'? (Doubt)
Posted On:10/30/05 at 10:08 PM

So would it be like this then: "ah-leh-WISH-iss"?


re: Help: How do you pronounce 'Aloysius'? (Doubt)
Posted On:10/30/05 at 10:21 PM

Or Al-oh-wish-us. It's the name of the teddy bear in "Brideshead Revisited", too.


re: Help: How do you pronounce 'Aloysius'? (Doubt)
Posted On:10/30/05 at 10:23 PM

if you have access to the movie It's a mad mad mad mad world, i know they emphasize that name in there somewhere...(i'm an auditory learner hahahaha)

--The Distinctive Baritone

re: Help: How do you pronounce 'Aloysius'? (Doubt)
Posted On:10/30/05 at 11:10 PM

OK--thanks everyone. Glad I asked! I definitely would have said it wrong.

re: Help: How do you pronounce 'Aloysius'? (Doubt)
Posted On:10/30/05 at 11:17 PM

That's it EganFan. Emphasis is on the 'wish'.

"Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much." --Oscar Wilde


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