Russ Beattie had a similar post on how to pronounce his last name a while ago, and since mine is infinitely more difficult for American English speakers, I hope that my readers will allow me this indulgence. If you see me at a conference or in a business setting you can impress me right off the bat by not mangling my name. Here’s how…
I pronounce it MIN-YAY. When my father entered college in the late sixties, he changed it from the more Americanized pronunciation of MEW-NEAR to this pronunciation, in order to return it to the original pronunciation.
What I discovered in doing some genealogy research is that he would have to change it to Meunier dit Lapierre if he were to take it back to our French Canadian roots, and Meunier if he were to return it to our French roots in Rennes, Bretagne, France in 1625:
I was born in Canton, Ohio, though, and have always pronounced my name MIN-YAY.
However, the proper American English pronunciation and the proper French pronunciation are both acceptable to me. These variants (that I’ve heard several times in my life) are not:
The ironic thing about my name in America is that in French it means “Miller”, which is an extremely common surname in the states. I’m told it’s also a very common name in France, where I do not live.
Again, pardon the aside. If you never meet me you can still use this information at cocktail parties to properly pronounce the kind of wine made from a grape primarily used for champagne– Pinot Meunier— or the Belgian painter and sculptor known for his peasant sculptures and indirect influence of Vincent Van Gogh– Constantin Meunier (no relation).
All wav files in this post were generated by the AT&T text to speech engine.
Ha. Only Cudahy folks and karate senseis are allowed that pronunciation, Jammer. Everyone else should stick to these guidelines.
I just happened to be blogging today about the various versions/spellings etc. of the descendants of Andre Mignier dit Lagace. (not your ancestor, of course).
I’ve been corresponding with other Migniers, Meuniers, and Lagaces as well as anglicized Millers and I had just made the point that not all American Millers of French Canadian descent are Andre’s descendants!
In Quebec the min-yay pronunciation is used for Mignier and the mew-near (if I understand your phonetics) is more for the Meunier.
May I use some of your comments in my next post ?
Evelyn in Montreal
Hi Evelyn. Yes, please feel free to reference this in your next post. And let me know when you do, as I’m also interested in the discussion. My oldest ancestor in North America, Joseph Mathurin Meunier Monier was apparently the first person to get married in Montreal, and my great great grandfather was born in Marieville, Quebec, so I appreciate that your blog exists to help people like me find out more about our families. Thanks for visiting! Best, Bryson
I started saying “moon-yer” as a joke (someone’s, I think) and now I can’t stop. Sorry.
Help… I was born with this Meunier surname. My grandparents were from Canada (French Canadian). When growinge up the name was phonetic as
“Mewn-ear” Ugh! When I attended college my French Professor said it was pronounced Mini-A’. ?? My son and his family use MIN-Yay. My wife knows a french person who says it should be MOON-yay. I have no idea any more… I am 66 and still struggling with the correct way to say my name. I will probably go to the grave without knowing my name. Very sad indeed. My father told me the complete name was Meunier de’legesse. I am wondering now if it was indeed Meunier d’Legaces. I think MIN-yay works well and is easier to say than MOON-Yay. I could just forget it and use Manure… but…. you know how we Meunier’s feel about that! Let me know what you think.
Help me in Montana
My sympathies, of course. It’s sort of nice to know that there are other American Meuniers out there with similar problems with the elusive pronunciation of our common surname. The way that I’ve resolved it, as I explained in the post, is by acknowledging that there are different pronunciations based on what the speaker’s native language and dialect is. All of the sound files I’ve posted here are accurate pronunciations of Meunier, they’re just different dialects. French speakers pronounce it differently than American English speakers, who pronounce it differently than British English speakers. I pronounce my name according to the dialect that I prefer, and I consider that the correct pronunciation of my name, but I don’t get that upset if people pronounce it differently, because to them it’s accurate for their dialect. I think, though, that your son’s pronunciation and your French professor’s pronunciation are closest to the original French language pronunciation. If you’re looking for a correct pronunciation independent of dialect, either one of those will do.
In my genealogy research I’ve discovered many variations of Meunier, and I believe the Meuniers you are related to are the Meunier dit Lagace family. Good luck in your search!
Thanks Bryson. This is the most information I have found regarding the
Meunier dit Lagace name. Your response is most appreciated.
I obviously have a interest in this. I am from Rhode Island, USA, which used has a pretty sizeable Quebecois population. Anyway, my mom pronounces it myoon-yer, or myoon-yah My dad says mur-nyur,. In Rhode Island, we over pronounce where R’s shouldn’t be, and don’t pronounce them where they should.
I introduce my pronunciation of it varingly. It depends on the person. If they are close to me, it is myoon-yah. If it is my professional life, mer-nee-ur (not with 1 syllable at the end like my dad’s pronunciation)
Also, telemarketers (countless) have pronounced it Manure until I did donotcall.gov or whatever that was. That was always a huge laugh at home growing up.
I’m a meunier also.