Law Students

Yale Law Students Create Dictionary of Pronunciation
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Did you know Dougas was not do-gas, but doo-gwah? If you didn’t, then this one is for you. Recently, a group of Yale Law School students have compiled and published what they call the Pronouncing Dictionary of the Supreme Court of the United States. The dictionary published on the web here lists seminal Supreme Court case names and audio files of their pronunciations – including things like Arave in Arave v. Hoffman being pronounced as ‘ay-rav,’ and Bache in Bache v. Hunt being pronounced as ‘baych.’ Of course, if you already knew that Bouldin, in Bouldin v. Massie is actually ‘bool-da’ then you can contact the authors, and may be try to get on the team.

As the group of Yale Law Students point out very significantly, “Although the United States is famously a nation of immigrants, Americans often struggle with the pronunciation of foreign words and names. Mispronunciation of even common foreign words is ubiquitous (Eye-rack and Eye-ran spring to mind). Foreign names in legal matters present a particular challenge for legal professionals. The purpose of the Pronouncing Dictionary of United States Supreme Court cases, compiled by  YLS students Usha Chilukuri, Megan Corrarino, Brigid Davis, Kate Hadley, Daniel Jang, Sally Pei, and Yale University Linguistics Department students Diallo Spears and Jason Zentz, working with Florence Rogatz Visiting Lecturer in Law Eugene Fidell, is to help conscientious lawyers, judges, teachers, students, and journalists correctly pronounce often-perplexing case names.”

The dictionary, which draws on textbooks, recordings, accounts by litigants or counsel, pronunciation guides, journalism, and surveys, is quite illuminating. At least, the mind gains peace, when you find affirmation to your suspicions that Fourniquet in Fourniquet v. Perkins has nothing to do with ‘fornicate’ but should be pronounced as ‘foor-nee-kay.’


The dictionary compiled by the students, in addition to offering audio recordings of the pronunciations of the names of Supreme Court cases, which get mispronounced most often, also mentions the words in actual languages of their origins.


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