02 May 2012

Nabokov: Teen or tin?

This morning I stumped Twitter with Is PNIN pronounced to rhyme with teen or tin? This afternoon I Googled it myself. Hit it, Internets:
  • From the original New York Times review, "Pnin (pronounced P'neen) is an √©migr√© of the old Russian school." Can't go into that cocktail party unprepared.
  • And, from a transcript of an interview with the man himself: "The "p" is sounded, that's all. But since the "p" is mute in English words starting w-ith "pn", one is prone to insert a supporting "uh" sound-- "Puh-- nin"-- which is wrong. To get the "pn" right, try the combination "Up North", or still better "Up, Nina!", leaving out the initial "u". Pnorth, Pnina, Pmn. Can you do that?"
Probably teen then! I was about to call someone out for rhyming it with teen, because I thought she was just being pretentious, and now I don't have to. Also, I should re-read this book because I didn't find it that funny when I read it, just convoluted.

I also turned up this list of five books about college professors (PNIN being one) that some of you might enjoy.

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