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The proper way to pronounce "Thunberg".

Posted on 22nd July 2020

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Greta Thunberg has been in the news again today, because she just announced that she will donate the €1M prize money from the Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity to charity. It reminded me to check on the proper way to pronounce her surname.

Having worked in Sweden for about 6 months, and having a Swedish derived surname, I was always sure that people were pronouncing her name wrongly, but no-one would believe me. Today I found out why: a Google search for "proper pronunciation of Thunberg" offers several YouTube videos, virtually all of which claim that the name is pronounced Toon-berg (examples here and here.

In this video of Greta speaking at the European Parliament, Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), she introduces herself (at exactly minute 8 of the video), pronouncing it correctly as Toon-berry.

This search on also has the correct pronunciation.

Swedish pronunciation is hard - just use to play the pronunciations for "sju" (seven), "Köpenhamn" (Copenhagen), "kiosk" (kiosk) and "sjuksyster" (nurse) to get an idea of how hard - but I believe it is important to pronounce people's names properly (insulting if you do not).