The Name Engine® provides the correct name pronunciations of athletes, entertainers, politicians, newsmakers, and more. Even well-known names are often pronounced in different ways, leaving you to wonder what the correct pronunciation is. You'll find the right answer here. Better yet, you'll actually hear the right answer.Sounds as if the BBC Pronunciation Unit will be put out of business, not to mention pronunciation dictionaries.
All names are painstakingly researched for authenticity. Personal confirmation is the ultimate goal. At a minimum, they are confirmed by individuals with firsthand knowledge of the name in question. These individuals include team play-by-play announcers, public relations representatives, sports information directors, agents, etc.
Pronunciations are given in respelling (no IPA) and as sound clips. This is an American website, and both are strictly in AmE only.
At the moment the database of names included is very limited. It is divided into Sports (twelve subsections) and Miscellaneous (Companies/Brands, Entertainment, Newsmakers, Places, Politics).
Under Places there are just fifty or so geographical names, all of them places in the US except Abbotabad, Kyrgyzstan, Montevideo, and Qatar. (The “correct” pronunciation of the last-mentioned is given as ˈkɑːtɚ, a possibility I don’t countenance in LPD. In Arabic it’s ˈqɑtˁɑɾ.)
I looked in vain under Sports for Sharapova (blog, 1 and 5 July) and under Entertainment for Beyoncé. In the latter section I also learnt that Björk is “correctly” pronounced disyllabically, as biˈjɔːrk. H’m. (In Icelandic, monosyllabic bjœɾ̥k, and in BrE usually bjɔːk.) Under Companies/Brands, Bombardier (blog, 6 July) is given the respelling “bom-BAR-dee-ay”. But the associated sound clip is stressed differently, as bɑːmˌbɑːrdiˈeɪ.
The website looks very professional and clearly has great potential. There is no information given about who sponsors it or runs it. On the face of things, if it lives up to its grandiose claims, it might in time be more reliable than do-it-yourself Forvo (which currently boasts “1,108,951 pronunciations in 279 languages”).
I wonder whether The Name Engine® will get round to giving Americans guidance on the pronunciation of “difficult” British names such as Leicester.