Pronounciation: House Richese

How would you pronounce Richese?

  1. RI-CHESS (this is how they pronounce it in the abysmal Lynch movie)
  5. RI-KESS

This has actually bothered me a long time, ever since I read the prequel novels.


I have always used no.1, even from before I saw the first Dune film.

Thinking about having been asked the question I still go with that pronunciation, though I would accept that no 5 also sound right.

My mind rebels against the extended ‘e’ in 2 & 4 and my instinctive desire to separate the Ri from the chese breaks no 3 for me.

I’m British, though have a very generic regional accent due to my family never settling in one place for any length of time.


The 10 character minimum precipitated this line of drivel.

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A French friend of mine pronounces it with three syllables: Re-chez-ee.

I tend to go with Re-Shess but I suspect this may be like Clan Tzimisce where everyone has their own way of pronouncing it. :slight_smile:

I’ve always thought it pronounced as option 1, but I’m not married to it.

I love the Lynch movie. It’s the reason I read the Dune books and fell in love with the stories. It isn’t without its lumps and warts, but you can’t fault the effort, casting, or visual design. It brought something completely rich and new to the cinematic world. Or maybe you can, which I respect and is fine - but I still love it.

There is a handwritten image with Tzimišče (note the diacritics) in one of the books. Which implies Czech, Slovak, or Slavonic-latinski… which makes it both i’s short , and the šč kind of like an sh, but more air and the tongue further back… In Russian Cyrillic, тзймйщэ. Which works out to be Ukrainian for winter…
… how throroughly appropriate.

As for Richese, the i can be hard or sodt, the ch can be anywhere from a firm hard-ch to an sh. My dyslexia results in doubling the s half the time, so by rules of english, as taught in elementary school, it should be short i “rich-ees”… but I prefer it to sound sneeringly french and nasally… hence my above.

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As a native Slav, so far I know, this letter combination is only in Russian Ukrainian, & Bulgarian alphabets, as you excellently show and describe; the Tz at the beginning is liable to trip up English speakers as well, but sometimes gets glossed over in media. Separately, they show up in Western and Southern Slavic alphabets. Which sometimes provide for some hilarious English-language sounds. Like Nikšić; a city that produces some damn fine beer, but sounds a bit vulgar in English.

You could go Ri-ghees using ch as in Loch. It is especially dramatic if you roll that leading R hard.

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In my head when I’m reading it I say “righteous”.

but my daughter that takes french says “ree chez” :fr:

the šč is used in some medieval Czech and Slovak. And thanks for the compliment…
I’m an SCA Submissions Herald, and I’ve seen it in period Czech from 1200 or so; my language in College was Russian, not any of the south slavic. And I’m Ruthenian Greek Catholic, so Ukrainian Church Slavonic mostly in Latinski.

Which brings up something - each house seems to have a different mix of fairly ethnic names. Atreides is Greek, of course, but the personal names seem more Romance language, coupled with the bullfighting, I’d say Spanish.

Harkonnen seems derived from Norwegian ‹har konnen› (“has the ability” per google). Vladimir is pan-European, Abelard is English, Rabban is Urdu (master)… “Vlad has the ability” is a great joke, and Frank Herbert played a lot with names…

Most of the fremen names are Middle-Eastern - a variety of semitic origins, which is quite suitable… but some have shifted pronunciations. On purpose, I suspect.

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@fremen-naib your daughter is right
It would be written : Richèse in french

The husband grew up in the Middle Ages—Kingdom of Meridies, page to a squire-then-knight in the House of Duke Sir John the Bearkiller, circa 1980-85.

Herbert’s use of language has been a reference point for me back when I taught Lit at university (fictional languages derived from non-English sources).

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