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Pronunciation of the surname Koenig

Notes by Donald K. Burleson

December 2011



During the great German-American migration of the early 19th century, the König surname (King) was routinely anglicized to Koenig because the American typewriters did not have an O-umlaut character.  Hence, a digraph of “oe” was used to replace the original ö.


1 - König - The original ö O-umlaut was pronounced as ”oo”, making the original Germanic pronunciation König as “coon”-“nig”.


2 - Köenig - Köenig,  A northern Dutch dialect of the original Germanic König is pronounced Kern-nig.


3 – Koenig - For Americans with the OE changes, “Kay-nig” is an Anglicization of the original pronunciation.



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