How do I pronounce 'Gaudi', in the name of Antoni Gaudí (the architect)?
The "au" in Catalan (his native language) is pronounced like English "ow" (how, cow ...etc) and there's an accent on the "i" to indicate emphasis, so you pronounce it as "gow-DEE". However, most native English speakers would not be aware of the emphasis on the "i", so you most commonly hear "GOW-dee" in English-speaking countries.
The closest approximation to how a Spaniard, whether Castilian or Catalan, would say Gaudí is as [ga̠u̯ˈð̞i].
That won’t sound very English, of course. That’s because the second consonant is not one that occurs in English, and English-speakers often struggle to hear it clearly at all. That letter ‹d› there is actually a voiced dental approximant in Spanish, which is like a voiced ‹th› per English this but not so strong. It can be very faint indeed.
If you just say the sound from English this there instead, it will be ok, and people will know whom you mean. If you say the sound of English dud, it won’t be ok — at least if you are trying to sound like it’s Spanish.
More IPA details available here.
Gaudí's name and language were Catalan, a Romance language related to Spanish and French. There are multiple common ways to pronounce his name:
- The Catalan way:
How Gaudí himself and most people in Catalonia would pronounce it.
- the 'au' is pronounced similar to the vowel sound in an RP pronunciation of go
- The 'di' is pronounced like thee
- The stress is on the second syllable 'gau-DÍ'
- The Spanish way:
How most non-Catalan people in Spain would pronounce it.
- similar to the Catalan pronunciation, except the 'au' is pronounced like the 'ow' in cow
- The English way:
How most of the English-speaking world pronounce it.
- Rhymes with rowdy
If you want to sound authentically Catalan just stressing the second syllable (instead of the first) gets you most of the way there, but it's common for loanwords to undergo changes in pronunciation using the 'closest approximations' of phonemes native to the target language, so there's no shame in using the anglicised pronunciation.
There's a famous anecdote about the Basque essayist Miguel de Unamuno pronouncing Shakespeare in the Spanish way
/sakespeˈaɾe/ (sa-kes-pay-AH-ray) during a conference. He was apparently laughed at by his compatriots for this 'faux pas', but to their embarrassment and surprise he then delivered the rest of the lecture in fluent English.