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David Horner, professor of biblical and theological studies at Biola University, seeks to answer the age-old dispute:

[W]hile consideration of the Latin original of Augustine’s name does not determine a single, grammatically obligatory English pronunciation, it does suggest that aw-GUS-tin is the more fitting or appropriate pronunciation. This is because the latter most closely preserves the distinctive placement of the accent in the original.

. . . Augustine’s Latin name is properly pronounced ow-goost-EE-nus, with the accent on the penultimate syllable. The pronunciation of aw-GUS-tin preserves that accent pattern: when the final syllable is dropped from the Latin name in forming the anglicized name, aw-GUS-tin retains the accent on the penult rather than wrenchingly shifting it to the antepenult, as in the case of AW-gus-teen. In this way aw-GUS-tin is closer to the original pronunciation pattern, and it thus constitutes a more natural and appropriate pronunciation.

For this reason, the Oxford Encyclopedic English Dictionary, recognized universally as authoritative in things most fine and fitting, lists aw-GUS-tin as the single recommended pronunciation.

You can read the whole thing here, humorously written in the style of a medieval disputation in response to a piece in a similar vein written by his colleague Garry DeWeese.

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3 thoughts on “St. Augustine: Should His Name Be Pronounced *AW*-gus-teen or aw-*GUS*-tin?”

  1. Brent Hobbs says:

    I’ve got no reason to add other than my personal preference, which is aw-GUST-tin. So naturally I think that David Horner is on to something. :)

  2. Brad Williams says:

    I’ll start taking this pronunciation seriously when they start saying Emperor “con-STAN-tin”. ;)

  3. Ken says:

    Now try convincing all those Floridians.

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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