I know very little about Faroese except that it’s a Scandinavian language, related to Norwegian and Icelandic, and spoken by the fifty thousand people who live on the Faroe Islands, halfway between Scotland and Iceland. But one thing I thought I did know about this language was that despite using the letter ð in its orthography it has no dental fricatives — no phonetic ð and certainly no θ.
So how can this Faroese name be pronounced as shown in Duden?
I consulted my colleague Michael Barnes, who until his retirement was Professor of Scandinavian Studies at UCL and is an expert on Faroese. He tells me that Heðin Brú is a pen-name taken by the Faroese writer Hans Jacob Jacobsen.
This pseudonymous surname is a form of the Faroese word for ‘bridge’, which is more usually brúgv brɪɡv. The older form brú is found in Faroese ballads. Prof. Barnes says it would be pronounced roughly bryu, where the first part of the diphthong is somewhere between Norwegian y and Norwegian ʉ. In the reference work Faroese by Höskuldur Þráinsson et al. (Tórshavn: Føroya Fróðskaparfelag, 2004) it is given as brʉu.
So Duden’s “brɨθu” must be one of that dictionary’s very few misprints. It should read “brʉu”. Aliquando bonus dormitat Homerus. And we who live in glass houses mustn’t throw stones.