Mr. Jonathan Teatime's name is, as specified in the book Hogfather, pronounced "Teh-ah-tim-eh".

But since there's no marks of pronunciation included, its pronunciation is still under question.

The TV adaptation seems to get it entirely wrong, pronouncing it "Tea-uh-timey".

Personally I've always pronounced it to rhyme and match stress of syllables as "anathema" ( ə-năthˈə-mə - updated with better marks).

Is there a canon statement from Pterry on its pronunciation? Something from an interview, perhaps?

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    BTW, anathema is pronounced ə-năthˈə-mə (uh-NAth-uh-muh). – OrangeDog Aug 27 '18 at 16:08
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    As a french reader, I have no idea. But for sharing an anecdote, the french translation adds a clever pun on this name. Teatime is called "Leureduthé" (= the tea time, with a little mispell) , but the assassin wants everybody to call him "Le redouté" (= the feared one). The pronunciation is really similar ; one syllable only is slightly different when pronunced.. I just learn now there was no pun in the original version :) – Professeur Dronte Aug 27 '18 at 16:25
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    You're not the only person to wonder about this. For the record, it's much better in the French translation (edit: argh! ninja'd by @ProfesseurDronte :-D ) – Rand al'Thor Aug 27 '18 at 16:25
  • :D ... It's not perfectly canon, but it would be interesting to look on the audiobook version – Professeur Dronte Aug 27 '18 at 16:32
  • @Randal'Thor - would you believe it, that was me as well. – VBartilucci Aug 27 '18 at 17:01

The pronunciation in the Nigel Planer audiobook is pretty much as written in the text, with short hard syllables, and the 2nd and 4th syllables stressed.


Note that the narrator refers to him as "teatime" throughout.

A similar pronuncation is seen in the made-for-TV miniseries


I had assumed the pronunciation mimics a posh, over-the-top accent, when I read the German version. In it, the name is "Kaffeetrinken". The word "Kaffee" (coffee, if you couldn't tell), has different pronunciations in use, one with a long /e:/, and one with a short /e/, almost a schwa under the breath of the /f/, and various alternative spellings such as "Kaffe", "Café, Cafe" The later is the more common pronunciation for the beverage, but Jonathan Kaffeetrinken insists his name be pronounced "Kaf-feh-trin-ken".

The phonetic spelling first appears when he is served by an attendant (or a valet?), hence an expression of arrogance does seem to fit the character.

I can't explain the difference very well, that would be due on German.SE, but I have no doubt that "common" and "elite" is the intended contrast.

It's possible the translator reinterpreted this, and that I'm missing a joke about the original, but I believe the translation is faithful. I've read or rather listened to a fair share of the original, except for this one, and I don't know the particulars of English Accent, so I cannot answer the question regarding the original pronunciation in due detail.

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    Personally, I'd understand this from an American angle (think Seth MacFarlane riffing on "programmee" or "whip cream" in Family Guy), Doctor Who's timey-wimey-wibbly-wobbly kind of joshing around and Hugh Laurie memes (see) – vectory Feb 22 '19 at 19:25
  • When I read it I ignored the "Teh-ah-tim-eh" and let my inner voice read it as teatime – Danny Mc G Feb 22 '19 at 20:27
  • @Danny3414 if you mean reading the regular spelling regularly, then that's intended. The phonetic spelling does not appear very often anyhow. – vectory Feb 22 '19 at 21:56

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