Albert Szent-Gyorgyi was a great scientist. He discovered vitamin C, a nutrient found in oranges, grape fruits, and – thanks to his research into how the body works with vitamin C – countless nutritional supplements.
Yet Szent-Gyorgyi has an extra, albeit much less important, credential: his name is really fun to say. Great people don't need great names, but isn't it even better when their monikers shine as brightly as their fame?
And some, like today's man of honor, simply have fun sounds.
But don't try to pronounce it Al-bert Sz-ent-Gy-orgy-i. Hungarian enjoys much more nuance than that.
First off, Albert shouldn't sound like the American name Al. The A should be softer, more like the O in "hot." Phonetically, the scientist's name could be spelled: Aul-bert.
Second, English speakers can ignore the Z in Szent. The name should sound almost identical to the word "sent."
Lastly, the "gy" that appears twice in Gyorgyi has a understated sound. It's nothing like the hard G in English's "gore." Some even say that the Hungarian "gy" sounds closer to the D in "due." (Again, this is based on how an English speaker would approximate it. In Hungarian, the pronunciation holds more subtly than a simple G or D.) The best comparison might be the word "urge." Gyorgyi comes off as something like: gurge-y.
So, all together now: Aul-bert Sent-Gurge-i.
If you want the exact pronunciation, it's closer to: 'ɒlbɛrt 'sɛnt-,ɟørɟi. (Don't expect to nail that right on your first try.)
Does that family name have a familiar ring to it? It's the Hungarian version of Saint George.
If there are any Hungarian speakers in the audience, feel free to share better suggestions in the comments section. Google doodles are a great chance to learn something unexpected, such as Szent-Györgyi's freedom-fighting, vitamin-discovering, Nazi-escaping, Nobel-winning history.
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