Milan (Prazak) Ilnyckyj: definitive guide to pronunciation

Part I: Ilnyckyj

While it looks fearsome, this part of the name is quite easy. It is pronounced: ill-knit-ski, as in sick-crochet-snowboard.

Part II: Milan

For starters, how do you know if you are pronouncing it wrong?

If you pronounce the first syllable ‘mah’, as in “Mah name is Slim, what’s y’urs?” you are pronouncing it wrong. If you pronounce it ‘my’, as in “My blasted quadruped has scampered,” you are also pronouncing it wrong.

The first syllable is ‘mill’ as in: “Let’s head down to the Old Mill, where I hear John Stewart Mill has cooked up his famous cider.”

If you pronounce the second syllable ‘lawn’, you are pronouncing it wrong. This is especially bad if you used ‘mah’ as the first syllable, because then the two together sound like you’re saying: “Mah lawn needs watering.” Lynn, as in Lynn Creek or Linseed Oil, is also incorrect for the last syllable.

The right way to pronounce it is ‘lhun’, as in London.

The hardest part of all is properly timing and stressing those two syllables: mill-lhun. The l-sound should be pronounced twice, with a brief pause between them and the first l-sound lasting quite a bit longer than the second. This part takes practice, but frankly I would be rather pleased just to see the errors described above diminish somewhat in their frequent usage among my friends.

Part III: Prazak

My middle name is pronounced prah-Jacques and not pray-zack or prah-zack.

So, there you have it: Milan Ilnyckyj = mill-lhun ill-knit-ski. Perhaps it will help you remember that ILL-KNIT-SKI is like SICK-CROCHET-SNOWBOARD.

14 thoughts on “Milan (Prazak) Ilnyckyj: definitive guide to pronunciation”

  1. Now, I cannot be certain if this feeling is a result of several years getting accustomed to your style of speech and writing, but nevertheless I really do believe there is something about it a little bit extrordinary. (Something which shines through just a little brighter in expository or descriptive passages, this entry being a combination of those). It makes me hope that you do at some point become comfortable enough to write and publish fiction, or even write publicly consumable non-fiction (as in the Economist, or similar). Which reminds me, I still havn’t actually read the fish paper, I think it is my Gmail inbox archives…

  2. Tristan,

    Thanks. One of my great hopes for the next ten years (along with completing a PhD and traveling almost everywhere) is to write either a book-length piece of fiction or a play. Right now, I am just trying to assemble enough experience and writing skill to make it anywhere near possible.

  3. Regarding: “you are pronouncing it wrong,” as commenting upon via email.

    While some purists may assert that the proper form of the above idea would use the adverb ‘wrongly,’ I can only counter that the Oxford English Dictionary recognizes the use of the word ‘wrong’ in an adverbial sense since at least 1330 A.D. Moreover, it is necessary for producing the proper Hermione Granger-inspired state of priggishness, with regards to pronunciation.

  4. The name ‘Ilnyckyj’ started as a Ukrainian word with a silent concluding letter. It was then transliterated through German, contributing to the ‘J’ at the end.

  5. Milan (given name)

    Milan is a common Slavic male name derived from the Slavic element mil, meaning gracious. Milan was originally a diminutive or nickname for those whose names began with “Mil-“. It is used predominantly by Czechs and Serbs but also frequently in Russia, Croatia, Slovenia, and Bulgaria. It was in the top 20 names for boys born in Slovakia in 2004. It was the eighth most popular name for boys born in the Netherlands in 2007.

  6. The surname I definitely needed help with. I got the first name right , though, as it’s pronounced the same as the second part of the Scots name MacMillan.
    As a well-educated Canadian, though,(you, not me!) I’m surprised that you don’t double the l in travelled, or spell programme the British way. Especially after attending Oxford! Please tell me you don’t pronounce it the American way, progr’m.

  7. In many ways, Canada sits between the British and American traditions.

    As such, I feel free to choose whichever spelling I prefer, without obsessing about consistency. I like using ‘z’ in words like ‘analyze’, and I like using ‘u’ in words like ‘colour.’

    I don’t like the look of ‘programme,’ but I enjoy pronouncing words like ‘ephedrine’ in the British way.

  8. P.S. “Political Science” is a misnomer. Politics is an art, not a science. (not all art is beautiful)

  9. The American influence is overwhelming and obvious, but they made some deliberate changes that we didn’t. I have a romantic preference for British usage, but some battles are not worth fighting. I don’t insist on “vackyoo-um” for vacuum, for instance, which I don’t believe is used anywhere anymore. By the way, is that zed or zee?

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