I have a question regarding the book The Sword of Shannara, by Terry Brooks. What is the correct pronunciation for it (regarding its emphasis)? Shànnara or Shannàra?

I tried searching the web, but I didn't find any references for it. I am Italian, and either one of the two pronunciations seem (at least in my language) legit.


4 Answers 4


The Word of God answer (from a recent Reddit AMA) is that it's pronounced 'shanner-ruh' (ʃănărŭ) with the harder accent on the last syllable.

Questioner : I know, now, that the correct pronunciation is "SHAN-ar-ah". How much does it irritate you when people refer to it as "shan-AR-ah"?

Terry Brooks : Hi Brent. How sneaky of you. No, I don't care much how people pronounce my names, so long as they can manage it.

He also goes into a little more detail in a recent Q+A

Terry Brooks replies: Here’s the thing, Bryan. I have deliberately avoided doing exactly what you are asking. Not that I haven’t been asked to do it over and over and not that I haven’t thought about it from time to time. But I adopted a hands-off policy early on in my writing career when it came to Shannara. I didn’t what a definitive vocabulary to facilitate pronunciation. I wanted readers to adopt their own way of saying names, which I think makes a book more personal to each reader. That’s why you never get a comprehensive description of characters and creatures. I want you to imagine them. I want you to be part of the process. If I put out a guide, it removes that element of the reading of the books.

Admittedly, in retrospect, I probably should have done something about “Shannara”, which no one has pronounced the way I do since the very beginning. I just thought everyone would say it like I do – SHAN-NA-RA. Isn’t it obvious?

Guess not. My mistake, but I still think I will leave the creation of a comprehensive vocabulary for another time and place.

You can also hear the author's own pronunciation here:

  • Thank you for the answer, Richard, +1. I choose your answer as the correct one for the additional reference.
    – Andrea
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 13:27
  • 1
    @Andrea - He certainly doesn't seem to mind how it's pronounced. It's notable that his own pronunciation of Shea seems to have been superseded (and modified) by his own fan's preference.
    – Valorum
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 13:34
  • sure, I got the point. Thanks again.
    – Andrea
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 13:35
  • ". . . with the harder accent on the last syllable." Where by "last" you mean "first", right?
    – user14111
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 22:27
  • @user14111 - I've corrected to make it a little clearer - "Shanner-ruh" but with the emphasis on the 'ruh' (rŭ) part.
    – Valorum
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 23:09

There's an interview with Terry Brooks available here:

where he gives the pronounciation (about the 5:03 mark onwards), and yes, it's Shann-ah-rah.

  • Thank you for the answer, Jimmy, particularly for the link at Youtube. +1.
    – Andrea
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 13:28

Terry Brooks pronounces it SHAN-a-rah, he did a reading of the book.

The correction pronunciation is however you read it to be, even amongst Native English speakers the actual pronunciation is still debated some even believe that Terry Brooks says it wrong.

  • You're not wrong, but it's helpful to back up an answer with some kind of evidence such as a quote or reference...
    – Valorum
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 16:24
  • @richard I was going to add the video after I had found it but the other answers appeared before I found it with what I think is the same video so I left it. Commented May 19, 2014 at 16:26
  • @Simon - Not a criticism, more an observation. Also if you think your answer has become obsolete, you may wish to simply delete it.
    – Valorum
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 16:29
  • @richard just explaining what is a lazy answer on my end. :) I like the pronunciation debate on my answer perhaps i should add links to the Terry Brooks forums Commented May 19, 2014 at 16:31

Well, the TV series (exec produced by Brooks) clearly has it pronounced sha-NAR-uh.

Here you can see Druid Allanon saying "the Sword of Sha-Nar-uh".


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