The Unpronouncables

I generally don’t have any trouble with the English language but here are five books whose titles I just can’t seem to pronounce no matter how I try. Are there any others that test your powers of pronunciation?

Chthon by Piers Anthony
1972 – Panther
Cover artist not credited

Anthony Chthon

The Book Of Ptath by A. E. van Vogt
1969 – Panther
Cover artist not credited

van Vogt Book Of Ptath

Syzygy by Michael G. Coney
1975 – Arrow Books
Cover art by David Bergen

Coney Syzygy

Phthor by Piers Anthony
1975 – Berkley Medallion
Cover art by Richard Powers

Anthony Phthor

City Of The Chasch by Jack Vance
1974 – Mayflower
Cover art by Peter Goodfellow

Vance City Of The Chasch


10 thoughts on “The Unpronouncables

  1. Bernie 04/07/2014 / 10:27 am

    I know you, this was just an excuse to show more lovely covers 🙂 I can pronounce Syzygy, the 1st 2 syllables are like the si bit of silly, the zi bit of zigzag, and the last is similar but strung out a little so it’s more like gee.


    There’s a 9 second youtube piece here:-

    As for the other titles, personal preference I say, do your own thing 🙂


    • unsubscriber 04/07/2014 / 10:31 am

      Of course it’s just an excuse for more covers Bernie, you know the way I am. Thanks for the pronunciation guide for Syzygy, I’m still struggling through my teeth with the others though!


  2. Postcard Cafe 04/07/2014 / 10:32 am

    Brilliant 🙂 I hope this is first in a series of unpronouncables! Nicely photographed as always. Cheers Mr Cafe 🙂


    • unsubscriber 04/07/2014 / 10:36 am

      Thanks for the kind comments Mr Cafe, unfortunately I’ve no more unpronounceables to follow on from this but there’s still plenty of other covers to come!


  3. franzwesten 04/07/2014 / 3:11 pm

    Larry Niven’s World of Ptavvs maybe (perhaps that is just me)?

    Great covers as ever. Never been a huge Piers Anthony fan, but the cover on Chthon is great. is it worth a read? I am presuming Chthon refers to earth, rather than any elder gods flailing around?


    • unsubscriber 04/07/2014 / 3:16 pm

      I’ll take World of Ptavvs, no idea how to say that one. I’ve not read Chthon as yet but it’s a great cover, I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with Lovecraft’s oeuvre though.


      • Evelyn C. Leeper 11/11/2015 / 7:09 pm

        Chthon comes from the Greek “chthonios” meaning under or beneath the earth. “Chthonic” is a perfectly good (if underused) English word–look it up!

        Liked by 1 person

      • unsubscriber 13/11/2015 / 11:13 am

        Thanks so much for your comment Evelyn, I have to bow to your knowledge on this word and promise to look it up immediately. All the best.


  4. Lestaret 04/07/2014 / 9:01 pm

    We have a saying in Soddenham about this sort of thing – “Many a Thphor makes two in the Chthon” – wise words. Wise and bewildering words.

    Excellent covers, as always…


    • unsubscriber 04/07/2014 / 9:09 pm

      Wise and bewildering words indeed, thanks for the kind words Mr Lestaret.


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