Where can one find the pronunciation of special names in Dune?

I found the following site but none of the sound files on it seem to work:


EDIT: The link above seems the most authoritative, since it is described thusly:

The following page is to clear up how to pronounce certain terms of the Dune universe and are excerpts taken from a reading of Dune by Frank Herbert himself.

  • 3
    If only there existed SFF work written by a linguist who cared about precise pronunciations... Commented May 5, 2012 at 19:15
  • Well, now my brain hurts. I've spent years thinking the G in Bene Gesserit was soft G like a J sound. Then I started thinking it was a hard G like in gift. I think that's the way they say it in the new movie. As I'm reading the books I flip back and forth in my head trying to force the hard G sound. Now you give me a link that supposedly has FH himself saying it like "Jesserit". I feel like I've been living a lie. At least it likely means that the reason I long used a soft G is because that's probably what they used in the 1984 movie which is what introduced me to Dune. Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 19:01
  • I actually found this page while searching for somewhere that would tell me how to pronounce Scytale. I think I invent a new way to pronounce his name every time I read it. Sky-tail, Sky-tl, Sigh-tail, I can't figure it out. Is the c vocalized or silent? Does the e silently make the a long? I think the natural way to say it in my particular American English interpretation would be "Sky-tail" but that sounds a little goofy to me. My favorite absurd pronunciations are "Skittle" or an exaggerated Italian "Skih-TALL-eh". Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 19:10

2 Answers 2


The site works fine for me; try right clicking on the items, and save them locally - They are wave (.wav) files, and your browser may not understand them, if you don't have the right plug-ins.

Incidentally, the first version of the movie is not a bad guide; Herbert was involved with it (despite having misgivings about some of the results) and the pronunciations should be consistent with what he wanted.


You could alternatively purchase (or find a library which holds) the Audio CD of Frank Herbert reading parts of Dune. That's probably the source for the above; either way it certainly would be authoritative.

  • I don't think Herbert himself ever recorded an audiobook, but I'm gonna go make that a question. From wikipedia I found "In 1993, Recorded Books Inc. released a 20-disc audio book narrated by George Guidall. In 2007, Audio Renaissance released an audio book narrated by Simon Vance with some parts acted out by Scott Brick, Orlagh Cassidy, Euan Morton and other performers."
    – Justin C
    Commented May 6, 2012 at 22:58
  • @JustinC Yeah, I looked for an audiobook actually read by Herbert but could find nothing. The CD I linked to appears to be 'selections', not the entire book. Commented May 6, 2012 at 23:12
  • 1
    looks like he did read some of the others though. scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/16291/…
    – Justin C
    Commented May 7, 2012 at 0:38

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