Pronunciation: Colleen

natkretep

Moderato con anima (English Only)
English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
I occasionally catch the television programme Colleen's real women over BBC Entertainment.

I am a bit disconcerted by the fact that I hear three pronunciations of her name in the same programme:

COLL-een /ˈkɒli:n/
col-LEEN /kɒˈli:n/
kuh-LEEN /kəˈli:n/

Is there really no consensus on how to pronounce the name? How do people here pronounce the name (in English, not Irish)?
 
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    The second or the third, Nat. (I wouldn't bat an eye hearing the first vowel reduced to a schwa in BE.) Any idea how the 'lady' herself pronounces it?
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    The thing is, she never refers to herself, so it's always someone else or a voice over, and of course there's the continuity announcer.

    I've just checked the website (over in ITV2), and it looks like I spelt it wrong - it's Coleen, but I don't think that should affect the pronunciation.

    I understand different Colleen's having different preferences, but these all refer to the same lady!!!
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I've heard all three, Nat. I remember once being corrected when I called someone col-LEEN who pronounced her name COLL-een:(. I now avoid saying the name until I know how the 'owner' prefers it....
     

    nzfauna

    Senior Member
    New Zealand, English
    In my experience there is no one pronunciation for that name. It is up to the individual (or, their parents, perhaps) how they choose to pronounce it.

    There are many names that can be pronounced differently but spelt the same.

    e.g.

    Yvonne
    [EVE-on] vs [iv-ON]

    Marie
    [m'-REE] vs [MAH-ree]

    Stefan
    [STEF-in] vs [stef-FAHN]

    etc.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    In my experience there is no one pronunciation for that name. It is up to the individual (or, their parents, perhaps) how they choose to pronounce it.
    I think this is not in dispute if we are talking about a name without reference to a particular individual. I suppose what I'm saying is that I find it unusual to have different versions of the name when a single individual (with presumably a preference as to how her name is pronounced) should have her name pronounced differently in a single television programme, which presumably has undergone careful editing.

    So if there is a certain Sophia who calls herself suh-FIGH-uh rather than suh-FEE-uh, or a certain Anastasia who calls herself ann-uh-STAH-zyuh rather than (say) ann-uh-STAY-zhuh, and they appear on a television programme, I would expect to hear suh-FIGH-uh and ann-uh-STAH-zyuh consistently, rather than the alternative pronunciations. Can this not be expected?
     

    nzfauna

    Senior Member
    New Zealand, English
    It's probably entirely involuntary, sub-conscious. Perhaps the speaker does not know how this particular Colleen prefers her name to be spoken, so switches between various pronunciations they have heard over their lifetime. Perhaps they automatically pronounce it the easiest way for the sentence in question in terms of flow, rythm etc.

    So, no, it cannot always be expected.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    OK, I've since discovered that the person I'm thinking of is Mrs Coleen Rooney (nee McLoughlin), wife of footballer Wayne. Does anyone know how she pronounces her first name?
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    She's from my city, so if it's anything like I hear other scousers saying Coleen then it's /kəli:n/.

    (Kuh-leen)
    Ah, thank you - a definite answer! :thumbsup: So it is also regional and this is the Liverpool pronunciation.
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Ah, thank you - a definite answer! :thumbsup: So it is also regional and this is the Liverpool pronunciation.
    You're welcome!

    (But) I don't think it's 'regional', I imagine some people from all over the UK would also pronounce it like this, all I can vouch for is this is how it is said where I am from, not that it's the way we say it (and everyone else is different).
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Thanks, Alx. All right, maybe regional is not the right word. In the television programme referred to, her name was pronounced all sorts of ways by clearly Southern English speakers, and if you can vouch for the fact that in Merseyside there is only one common pronunciation, the place she comes from is a kind of a clue as to her preferred pronunciation.
     

    Latigo1026

    New Member
    English - American, Midwest
    It looks like this has been thoroughly discussed but let me throw in an America perspective since this is a frequent source of conversation in our family even after 60+ years. I am from the American Midwest (Michigan) but my wife is from what we call the South (North Carolina).

    My wife's name is Colleen. She and her family all pronounce it Ko LEAN. (Long O, accent on the second syllable). Or as one might expect "Colene" to be pronounced.

    After our marriage we lived in the North (Michigan) for 20 years. There she was questioned about the pronunciation by people insisting that it should be pronounced Kahl LEAN and was told more than once that she didn't know how to pronounce her own name correctly. (By relatives, in fact!)

    We have now lived in the South for 20 years. Here more people pronounce her name the way she does, even without an introduction. For example, on producing her voter I.D at the voting booth, it will be pronounced that way.

    By the way, her family is Scotch-Irish. This all seems to be a combination of family origin, family preference and regionalism.
     
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