Pronunciation – How to Say Names of Actresses (video)

by Melanie on February 28, 2012

Do you like to watch English TV shows and movies? Do you get nervous if you have to say the name of an actress? Don’t worry! Even native speakers have trouble pronouncing some of these names.



Drew Barrymore
Kate Beckinsale
Halle Berry
Cate Blanchett
Helena Bonham Carter
Sandra Bullock
Penélope Cruz
Kaley Cuoco
Ellen Degeneres
Zooey Deschanel
Cameron Diaz
Whoopi Goldberg
Anne Hathaway
Rita Hayworth
Katherine Heigl
Audrey Hepburn
Milla Jovovich
Angelina Jolie
Keira Knightley
Gwyneth Paltrow
Michelle Pfeiffer
Chloe Sevigny
Amanda Seyfried
Charlize Theron
Liv Tyler
Emmanuelle Vaugier
Sigourney Weaver
Rachel Weisz
Kate Winslet

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Zaki August 4, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Angelina Jolie


2 Alessandro January 2, 2013 at 10:54 am

Thank you Melanie! Great Job, I’m an Italian teacher and I just shared this on my FB page! I’m just asking your opinion on this: English Speakers prounounce the end of many French words/names like this e.g.) Vaugier. er= /ei/. Now, in French there is in fact no ‘i’ sound at the end these words. See also attaché, ballet…etc. The French pronunciation of these dipthongs is rather a sound in between the schwa /ə/ and /ɜː/ let’s call it a sort of French schwa (maybe the sound exists in ther French phonetic symbols, I don’t now). The same happens in Italian with e.g.) DiCaprio, which takes an /ou/ sound at the end. In Italian it’s actually a narrow ‘o’ but no ‘u’ sound. Because there is no equivalent sound in the English language, understandably the sound /ou/ is the closest to Italian an Anglo-Saxon can produce. Anyway, while quite a few Italian names are popular in the USA, there aren’t many Italian nouns or verbs commonly used in Englsh. But there are a quite a lot of originally French words. So my question is: Is there a linguistically traceable reason why it was never ‘resolved’ to assign French words a more ‘authentic’ sound?


Melanie 3 Melanie January 2, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Hi, Alessandro

I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed this video & thank you for sharing it on Facebook!

I have never studied linguistics, so I don’t have an answer to your question. The same thing happens in reverse, though. The French & Italians don’t pronounce English names or words with an authentic sound. If a sound does not exist in one language, then it’s not natural for people to make that sound. They will just naturally move to the sound that is easier for them to make. I guess that just how languages develop.

Happy New Year!
= )


4 Alessandro January 2, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Well, the French, Spanish and Italians definitely have some problems with pronunciation! ;) keep up the good work!


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