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What is the correct pronunciation of 'Beauxbatons'?

I was wondering about Beauxbatons this morning. In the Goblet of Fire movie, Dumbledore pronounces Beauxbatons as "Bo-ba-tins." It's been many years since I've taken French, but I've always pronounced Beauxbatons in my head as "Bo-bah-tahn" and with only the tiniest bit of "n".

Has J.K. Rowling ever gone on the record as to how Beauxbatons is pronounced? J.K. Rowling was a French teacher prior to becoming a published writer, so I wonder if she's ever shared the pronunciation in any interviews. It seems like a topic she might like to discuss. Or perhaps a native French speaker could weigh in?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

The french pronunciation of Beauxbatons is "Bo-ba-ton" with the ending sounding almost the same as the english word "bond" without pronuncing the "d"

The standard pronunciation form is : /bɑ.tɔ̃/

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Interesting description of how to make the nasal French vowel, but the vast majority of English speakers pronounce Bond way more low and back (short o). What you describe would be much closer to French an/en. French 'on' is a nasalized long-o. –  ThePopMachine Feb 13 at 16:10

I would make this a comment, but SE is not letting me make a comment. In his voice recording of the books, Jim Dale pronounces Beauxbatons the "French" way.

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Can you clarify what "French way" means for the non-french-speakers? –  DVK Dec 5 '12 at 2:01
No need for it to be a comment, it is a valid answer and has supporting semi-canonical evidence. –  John O Dec 5 '12 at 2:47
@DVK : See Eregrith's answer below. The last syllable has a nasal vowel that does not exist in English. You almost but not quite say the "n" sound. –  Stefan Smith Dec 6 '12 at 0:36
@DVK - The French pronunciation works like this. Say "tone". With your lips making an "O" shape, the tip of the tongue touches the front of the roof of your mouth and drops away as you exhale, to make the "toe" part. Then the tongue returns to contact your hard palate slightly farther back while you hum, and your lips relax, which gives the "n" sound. If French, after the "t" part, the tongue stays in the middle of the mouth, while you make a sort of muffled "unh" which doesn't last long, and your lips keep the "O" shape. Hmm. Maybe it's better if you just find somebody who speaks French. –  WhatRoughBeast Feb 12 at 18:49
I agree with @DVK. Without a description of what the "French way" is, this answer is basically useless. –  Richard Feb 13 at 10:04

Your tiniest bit of "n" is a bit too much. In french, the sound "on" is a single sound, without any trailing "n" or diphtong effect. It is similar to the english word "bond" without the trailing "d" but is not identical because the english word "bond" is kind of a diphtong while there is no diphtong in the french language.

An easy way to hear the correct pronunciation would be to go on the Google translate page ( or the Bing Translator (, write down either "beaux bâtons" or "beaux batons", chose french as the source language and then click on the listen button to hear it.

For an unknown reason to me, this listen button doesn't work when I open these pages with IE on my computer but it works perfectly with Google Chrome.

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