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In my copy, there is a footnote on the first page in Chapter 1 which explains how the name is pronounced. It reads as follows:
"The Bohemian name Antonia is strongly accented on the first syllable, like the English name Anthony, and the i is, of course, given the sound of long e. The name is pronounced An'-ton-ee-ah."
*Cather, Willa. My Antonia. 2004. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Well, if it is, the book says, like Anthony, that would make it not AN-tone-EE-ah, but AN-tone-ya. -- Rick
My "AN toh NEE ah." I woke up this morning with a clear head, and I think that Willa Cather's accenting the first syllable doesn't preclude also accenting the third; in other words, she wanted to indicate that it was not pronounced an TON ya. There is nothing at all awkward in the pronunciation if you stress both the 1st and 3rd syllables.
P.S.---I also meant to say that I'd love to discuss this with Willa Cather herself! That would probably be interesting.
I just finished reading the book, after intending to for several decades. It was good! I, too, was always troubled by how to pronounce "Antonia" with that accent over the 1st "A," and reading that the Simon & Schuster ed. footnote compares it to "Anthony" gives me little comfort. Pronouncing "Anthony" on the first syllable is easy; "Antonia" on the first is impossibly awkward. I agree with Antonia Bowman, and her being named after the book surely must give her some authority on this issue!
This reminds me of the lovely flower "clematis," whose pronunciation is also on the 1st syllable, and it's not hard to say, either. However, I've found that very few people KNOW the correct pronunciation, so I'm left with the choice of saying it wrong, or seeming weird.
I was named after this book by my parents. Yes, My Ántonia is pronounced with the accent on the first syllable of "Ántonia," but I think a better pronuciation guide is: ahn-TO-nee-ah
or using familiar english words: ann-TOE-knee-ah
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