User comments for Stephen (Pronunciation Only)

I'll speak on this because I have dealt with this confusion my whole life. I've been called "Steven" by Anglo-Canadians and Americans, while non-native English speaking or French-Canadians pronounce my name "Stefan". My name is spelt "Stephen" and pronounced "Stephen" with the long FFF sound as in photo or philosophy. My mom was Swiss German, and in German, the first E is a short sound, and they spell and say the name Ste-FF-an. The Greek name Stephanos, from which Stephen was derived, has a long EEE sound, and is pronounced "St-EE-f-anos" like steeped tea. Apparently this was difficult for English speakers to pronounce, so the V sound was adopted in English. I think the issue here is that the Anglo world dominates media, and is often assumed the norm. In the rest of the world, besides Anglo countries like Britain and America, Stephen is pronounced in a huge array of ways. Germanic ways with the long FFF, or with a P like in Czech or Armenian "Stepan", or like the ancient Greek origins with a hard EEE, which might be followed with an F, T or V sound, like EEE-stvan in Hungary, which is spelt Istvan. Non-native English speakers usually call me Stephan. The shocking thing to me is that many websites I view claim the ancient or "biblical" pronunciation was the very anglo sounding "Steven" which I just don't believe to be true. Why would mainland Europe continue to say "SteFF-an" or "Ste-Pan" or "StEEE-fan" and why would the spelling be as such? And consider all the related names like Stephanie and Stephano. And considering that in "biblical" and ancient times, English pronunciation was basically non-existent.
step_6  4/28/2017
There are so many people heckling Ye old name of Stephen. They wonder why it's pronounced Steven. True it is an "f" PH is always "f" Just not a hard "F" the "f" of "ph" in Stephen is called a Passive "f" like in the two letter preposition 'OF' pronounced "uV" That is why it IS pronounced Steven. The reason more people prefer the one with a "ph" is due to it's aesthetic look. So why do people still have to go on to say it's STEH-FEN? Uggh I seriously need to write the book!
Stephen1976  1/19/2014
The secret is in the length of the first e. In Greek, the ph combination makes an f sound, as in telephone, Phoebe etc. But when the first syllable of Stephen has a long eee sound, this affects the f and it becomes a v; not in spelling originally, but in sound. English-speaking people have for centuries found this easier to pronounce.

In German, the first e is a short sound, and they spell and say the name: STEFF-an. (SHTEFF-an, actually.) Same for girls - think Steffi Graf.

In the 20th century people started using Steven instead of Stephen because that sounded like what they said anyway. No problem there. Stephen is the more traditional form, and Steven the more modern. They are pronounced the same.

Stephanie has always had a short e sound in the first syllable, which is why nobody ever says STEV-a-nee, so the spelling has never changed.
Anneza  3/11/2008
If Stephen can be pronounced like Steven, then Stephanie should be pronounced "Steev-en-ee".
― Anonymous User  2/20/2008

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