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I have come into a debate with some friends of mine about how to properly pronounce the name of Kvothe, the protagonist from Patrick Dreyfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles.

I seem to recall — but cannot find — Kvothe saying that his name is pronounced like “Quothe”. Some of my friends insist that both the k and v sound are explicitly sounded out, the way you do at the start of the verb kvetch.

What’s the right way to pronounce Kvothe, and why?

  • I actually thought he said his name was not pronounced like 'quothe'. – Nathan Feb 7 '14 at 20:01
  • Almost like Quothe, as Micah says below – sevvack Feb 7 '14 at 21:51
  • It's in chapter 7 of the first book: "My name is Kvothe, pronounced nearly the same as 'Quothe.'" – Bruce Jun 2 '14 at 20:29
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Patrick Rothfuss, the author of the Kingkiller Chronicles, says:

Ask the Author #4: How Do I Pronounce Kvothe’s name?

The initial “kv” sound in “Kvothe” doesn’t crop up in standard English that often. But it does appear in the Yiddish term “kvetch.”

The “o” is the same as in “roll” or “hole.”

The “e” is silent.

If you’ve been pronouncing it wrong, don’t sweat it. You’re not alone.

...

I put that bit in right at the beginning of his story. “My name is Kvothe, pronounced nearly the same as ‘Quothe.’”

Kv + Quothe = Kvothe. Simple.

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    What is Quothe from? Is that a character in an sf work or what? Are we supposed to know how Quothe is pronounced? If the e is silent, I guess it would be pronounced like the English word quoth, as in "quoth the raven"? Or is Quothe pronounced with voiced th as in loathe? – user14111 Feb 8 '14 at 0:11
  • If the 'e' is silent then it's "Quoth", as in Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.” Making Kvothe "Ka-Voth" with the "oth" sounding like the end of quoth and not like heavily mascaraed "goth". – Binary Worrier Jul 29 '15 at 12:34
  • @BinaryWorrier No, if the e is silent, it is most likely meant to rhyme with loathe (where the e is also silent). A silent e at the end of a word in English usually indicates that the preceding syllable is long, but also that the preceding consonant (if a fricative and orthographically ambiguous, like ⟨th⟩, which can represent both /θ/ and /ð/ or ⟨s⟩, which represents both /s/ and /z/) is voiced. This is because fricatives were voiced intervocalically in Old/Middle English and stayed that way even when the final e disappeared. So most likely /kvəʊð/, not /kvəʊθ/. Definitely not /kvɔθ/, no. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 7 '16 at 18:30
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I think the best explanation actually comes from The Wise Man's Fear, Page 313

"Ka-voth-ee." He read slowly, then turned the envelope toward me so I could see the front.

(Front of letter)

It was Denna's handwriting. "It's Kvothe, actually," I said absentmindedly. "The e is silent."

Based on Kvothe's corrections I think it's safe to presume the proper pronunciation would be Ka-voth with the oth sounding like Quoth.

  • I think the "a" between the k and v is also a mispronunciation that is only used because that consonant cluster is not familiar to English speakers. Micah's quote from the author seems to indicate that the intended pronunciation is monosyllabic. – sumelic Feb 7 '16 at 19:18

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