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Subject: About Magdalene in English
Author: Cressida   (Authenticated as Cressida)
Date: May 26, 2009 at 5:56:02 AM
I noticed that someone posted on Magdalene recently on the Opinions board and asked how people pronounce it. Everyone except me seemed to think that the G is pronounced.

I've always assumed that, in English, the given name Magdalene would be pronounced like Magdalen and Magdalene Colleges at Oxford and Cambridge: that is, like Maud-lyn (see, for instance, This was seemingly confirmed for me when I met a (British) Magdalene a few years back who pronounced her name Maud-lyn and went by the nickname Maud.

As far as I know, the English pronunciation of this name is closely related to the French name Madeleine (also derived from the Latinate Magdalene and also with the g dropped out). Historically speaking, Chaucer spells this name Maudeleyne in a more phonetic representation of how Magdalene is/was pronounced. And I'm quite confident that I've seen spellings such as Mawdelin, Mawdelyn, Maudelin, Maudlin, Maudelyne, Maudlyn, etc. in early modern English texts in reference to Mary Magdalene and also as female given names(apparently more phonetic spellings of the name based on real-life pronunciation).

It's not super-common, but a little google searching confirms that the name Maudlyn is still in use today and would appear to be a variant spelling of Magdalene.

Am I crazy? Is Maud-lyn only an antiquated pronunciation of Magdalene, or is it still the correct English one? Are both pronunciations (i.e. with and without the g) okay? Or are many Magdalene fans on these boards actually mispronouncing the name (at least as it should be said in English)?

This message was edited by the author on May 26, 2009 at 5:56:59 AM

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