If you’re puzzled on how to pronounce a difficult or unfamiliar proper name, there is a site that can help. Inogolo.com is a free service that provides a searchable database of visual and spoken pronunciation guides for people, places, and miscellaneous stuff.
Inogolo’s pronunciations are in American English with the General American accent. The phonetic pronunciations are represented using a respelled transcription with no special characters, signs, or symbols as in dictionaries or the International Phonetic Alphabet. For names in general, the pronunciations are verified and cross-referenced across multiple sources.
Simply plug a proper name into Inogolo (or browse the index if you’re feeling adventurous) and Inogolo returns the phonetic pronunciation, the audio (it’s available as an MP3), and the language of origin. Now you can finally learn how to pronounce all of those names that are commonly mispronounced! (The only names I found lacking were those of ancient Greek philosophers; it only lists a few of the most famous ones which I already know how to pronounce.)
Besides searching for a specific name, you can browse categories such as Arts/Humanities, Entertainment/Media, Food/Drink, Government/Politics, Sports/Recreation, Geography/Places, Religion/Philosophy, Science/Nature, Business/Technology, and Miscellaneous Stuff.
In addition, there are specialty pronunciation guides for such topics as names of dogs, countries of the world, Mexican foods, famous artists, books of the Bible, and Lord of the Rings characters. Try it, it’s quite interesting! Chances are, your own name and your family’s surname is in there too. http://inogolo.com