Did Tolkien the linguist intend for the name of the dragon Smaug to be pronounced "Smog" [IPA: /smɒɡ/ or /smɔːɡ/]? The trailer for the second installment of The Hobbit trilogy pronounces the word (pronounced 'sma-ow-g' [IPA: /smaʊɡ/]) entirely differently than the way I have been reading it for all these many years.
"Therefore names such as Sauron or Smaug are pronounced like Sow-ron or sm-ow-g." According to the LOTR Wiki.
Also this references Appendix E – Writing and Spelling: I. Pronunciation of Words and Names.
I had always read it as sm-og until I heard the guys from MST3K / RiffTrax say it this other way. Then I looked it up.
This is addressed in the appendices:
Tolkien, J. R. R. "Appendix E – Writing and Spelling: I. Pronunciation of Words and Names". The Lord of the Rings.: "All these diphthongs were 'falling' diphthongs, that is stressed on the first element, and composed of the simple vowels run together. Thus ... au (aw) as in loud, how and not laud, haw."
I didn't actually know this answer (probably because although I have read the book my main memories of it are from one of the audio recordings and so that's how I've always taken it), and was interested to find out so I checked Smaug's Wikipedia page which cited the above text.
Great website. Explains that Smaug is pronounced Sm-ow-g
For me, the pronunciation of 'Smaug' has always been with 'Sm' as in 'smile' and 'aug' as in 'August' or 'Augment'.
With Smaug having a horde of 'golden treasure' and Smaug representing a symbol of greed or lust for gold in the book and other renditions of the story, I would ask how one would pronounce 'auric' or 'aurous' both of which relate to gold.
Is the word 'Smaug' made up of 'SM'...'au'...'g' as some insist by citing 'au' as 'ow' in the authors appendixes or, rather, is the word made up of 'Sm'...'aug'?
It seems that people follow fashions! I recall how, back in the 70's and 80's the word Smaug had the 'Sm'..'aug' sound in popular speech but now (and especially since a certain film maker got involved) the fashion is for Smaug with the 'Sm'...'ow'...'g' sounds.
In fairness, though I'll stay with 'aug' as in 'augment', I agree with a certain quote from a certain author;
"...and the strange names that they meet they may, of course, pronounce as they like." - John Ronald Reuel Tolkien.
Though I cannot find citation for this quote, I think it is in one of the prints of one of the books by Tolkien.