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I know it is normally Daleks, but I have seen it writen Darleks too.

I also noticed that the actors too, usually pronounce it "Darleks".

So, are the two spellings interchangeable?

  • 14
    Where did you see the spelling 'Darlek'? – Ian Thompson Jun 19 '16 at 21:55
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    Are you sure you are not simply hearing a certain feature of some British speakers, which adds a phantom "r" sound after the "ah" sound? (Myself, as a Brit, I say it like "Darlek". I can't help it, even though I know it is spelled "Dalek". It's just my accent.) – Praxis Jun 19 '16 at 22:01
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    @Praxis As a Brit, it's actually more likely that what you do is the opposite: you remove any /r/ after a vowel, pronouncing words like ‘card’ and ‘barley’ like ‘cahd’ and ‘bahley’ (as it were). That means /ɑː/ (‘ah’) and /ɑr/ (‘ar’) end up sounding the same, and since the latter is much more common in English than the former, Brits often tend to think they pronounce words like ‘Dalek’ or ‘father’ with an ‘ar’ sound, when really they're pronouncing words like ‘darling’ and ‘farther’ with an ‘ah’ sound. :-) – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jun 19 '16 at 22:21
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    @JanusBahsJacquet I think that's what Praxis means: Brits would pronounce "Darlek" the same way as "Dalek", so saying Dalek is pronounced like "Darlek" is an easy way to distinguish it from "Daylek". (See also my comments on the answer below.) – Rand al'Thor Jun 19 '16 at 22:23
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    It's pronounced "ehks-tuhr-mih-nAt". Gotta roll the "R" ;) – Machavity Jun 20 '16 at 1:58
25

It's spelled Daleks and pronounced Dahleks (or 'Darleks' in a British English accent).

Here's the most official page I could find about them, the BBC website's character page on the Daleks. If you look them up on the internet, they're ALWAYS spelled "Daleks": on Wikipedia, the BBC website, the Chakoteya episode transcripts, TARDIS Wikia, everywhere. Anywhere you might have seen them spelled "Darlek" is either a misspelling or a reference to such a misspelling (e.g. at Urban Dictionary and the Free Dictionary).

However, yes, the actors and everyone else do pronounce the word in the same way as "Darlek" would be pronounced in a British English accent, i.e. as /ˈdɑːlɛk/ (as opposed to e.g. /ˈdeɪlɛk/ or /ˈdælɛk/). That's just a peculiarity of the English language - specifically, non-rhotic accents of English - and doesn't at all mean the word is spelled Darlek.

  • This comment thread, while very interesting, has moved somewhat off-topic, so I've moved the discussion to chat, where we can keep on discussing the intricacies of rhotic and non-rhotic accents in English for as long as we want. – Rand al'Thor Jun 20 '16 at 18:45
7

There's already a great answer here, but I thought I'd add that it's also definitely "Daleks" because, in the original series episode where the Doctor travels in time to when the mechanical Daleks were created ("Genesis of the Daleks"), we learn that they are the opponents of the "Kaleds", whose name is an anagram of theirs (as if to underline the pointlessness of their conflict).

In fact, Doctor Who himself spells out the name K A L E D S and notes that it's an anagram of Daleks in this scene.

  • 4
    Is it pronounced "Karleds"? 8) – Izkata Jun 20 '16 at 2:12
  • @Izkata No, it sounds like Kaleds or Kaaleds or Kahleds, to me, but then, Daleks doesn't really sound like Darleks to me either. Here's one example of Kaleds: youtube.com/… . Also, a few seconds after, Doctor Who himself spells it out "K A L E D S" and notes that it is an anagram of DALEKS. – Dronz Jun 20 '16 at 5:06
2

It's always written Dalek, and I've never heard it pronounced with an "r" sound. Perhaps a non-rhotic speaker would, upon hearing the word as I've always heard it pronounced, might infer a "r", especially if they hear it spoken by another non-rhotic speaker (such as Matt Smith).

1

Of course it's Dalek. The actors in the show itself call them Daleks, Davros calls them Daleks, and if it was Darleks, then I guess the people that invented them would be the Kalreds? No, no no no. It's Dalek, and don't let anyone say otherwise. In fact, if you see someone that says "Darlek" make them wright "Dalek has no R" one hundred times on a screechy chalkboard.

P.S. every time I tried to type Darlek it wanted to autocorrect me, but did nothing when I typed Dalek.

  • Thank you for your answer, but it provides nothing new to what we already have. Why don't you take a look at some other questions on the site and see if you can provide an answer to those. I can also provide questions limited to Doctor Who and Daleks if you prefer those. – Edlothiad Jul 10 '17 at 16:17
  • You have a very geeky spellchecker. – DJClayworth Jul 10 '17 at 17:06
  • "make them wright" - can't work out if intentional irony or Muphry's law. – Rand al'Thor Jul 10 '17 at 18:50

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