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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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  • Don't you think you'd get more useful Answers from linguist pages dealing with accents, phonetics or the like? The difference between "Bo-ba-tins" and "Bo-bah-tahn", with or without the tiniest bit of "n" will simply not be noticed by most Brits, let alone ex-colonial speakers of English from US America to Zimbabwe. Personally, I'd go for "Bo-ba-ton" yet what would my vote be worth, even if I'd used a real phonetic notation? Nov 20, 2021 at 23:05

4 Answers 4

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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. Feb 13, 2015 at 16:10
  • @ThePopMachine You're right. Think of Pierce Brosnan's "My name is Bond" 's 'bond' ;)
    – Eregrith
    May 15, 2017 at 13:39
  • I would continue the conversation, but apparently I'm not allowed to respond for 2-3 years. May 15, 2017 at 14:34
  • Hey @ThePopMachine I think you're allowed to respond now?
    – Eregrith
    Oct 20, 2021 at 8:21
  • Well you commented so now the clock restarts. Oct 20, 2021 at 17:08
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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? Dec 5, 2012 at 2:01
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    No need for it to be a comment, it is a valid answer and has supporting semi-canonical evidence.
    – John O
    Dec 5, 2012 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. Dec 6, 2012 at 0:36
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    @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. Feb 12, 2015 at 18:49
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    I agree with @DVK. Without a description of what the "French way" is, this answer is basically useless.
    – Valorum
    Feb 13, 2015 at 10:04
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Bo - batton

In Rowling's long, partially published, writing on the eleven wizarding schools, she includes the correct pronunciations.

Beauxbatons [Bo - batton]

Thought to be situated somewhere in the Pyrenees, visitors speak of the breath-taking beauty of a chateau surrounded by formal gardens and lawns created out of the mountainous landscape by magic. Beauxbatons Academy has a preponderance of French students, though Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Luxembourgians and Belgians also attend in large numbers (both Beauxbatons and Durmstrang have a larger studentship than Hogwarts). It is said that the stunning castle and grounds of this prestigious school were part-funded by alchemist gold, for Nicolas and Perenelle Flamel met at Beauxbatons in their youth, and a magnificent fountain in the middle of the school’s park, believed to have healing and beautifying properties, is named for them.

Pottermore - Wizarding Schools

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    good answer, but how you pronounce "batton" could still be open to interpretation. In the films - Dumbledore says "bo-batten" as in 'batten down the hatches' vs "batton" as in "pass the baton"
    – NKCampbell
    Aug 1, 2018 at 18:49
  • @NKCampbell - That seems very unlikely indeed, noting the double-t
    – Valorum
    Aug 1, 2018 at 19:51
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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 (http://translate.google.com) or the Bing Translator (http://www.bing.com/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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