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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

On Chigurh's Name

I have read several reviews of the Coen brothers' movie adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel "No Country for Old Men."

Several critics have described the antagonist's name as being "unpronounceable."

Jim Emerson, in his Scanners blog, wrote "Chigurh, with the nearly vowel-less-sounding, unpronounceable name, is a Western figure of mythical stature."


Not only is the name pronounceable, it is actually pronounced in the movie.

The bad guy is Anton Chigurh. "Chigurh" is an unusual name, no doubt. As I read the book, I pronounced it "chigger" in my mind. Like the bug. In the movie it is pronounced as "shi-GUR," with the accent on the second syllable.

Okay, that's fine. It ain't unpronounceable, however.

What makes Emerson's characterization of the name even more absurd is that he gives the phonetic spelling - shi-GUR - just seven paragraphs earlier in the same article before saying the name is "unpronounceable."

You want unpronounceable? Try reading some eastern European hockey players' names out loud. Those are unpronounceable.


  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chigger

  2. Not unpronouncable at all. In the book Carson Wells tells Moss, "Chigurh" Moss replies,"Sugar"
    Wells then states "Chigurh, Anton Chigurh." Page 152 in the 2005 Vintage edition.