I was hearing the news in German and the recently deceased soccer player Pelé (Edson Arantes do Nascimento) was mentioned.

I want to know how his name is written phonetically in German. I'm used to hearing it pronounced [peˈlɛ] which corresponds to Pelé as it's written and pronounced in Portuguese but the way it's pronounced in German it would be written Pêlê with a circumflex on the e in Portuguese.

  • 2
    What do you mean by "he way it's spelled in German"? It's spelled Pelé in German, same as in Portuguese. de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pel%C3%A9 I have trouble understanding the question because of this. How is it pronounced in Portuguese? Are you saying that [peˈlɛ] is also the Portuguese pronunciation of the name or not? If not, what would be correct in Portuguese?
    – HalvarF
    Jan 3, 2023 at 16:52
  • [ˈpe:lɛ] (stress on first syllable) is a mispronounciation based on the fact that the stressed vowel is usually lengthened in German. It's how a German would pronounce the word Pele, without any diacritics which are not used in German.
    – RHa
    Jan 3, 2023 at 16:52
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    @bad_coder Your question still does not make any sense. Pelé is a Portuguese name and thus spelled and pronounced as in Portuguese. There is no German way to spell or pronounce it, except for misspellings and mispronounciations.
    – RHa
    Jan 3, 2023 at 17:04
  • @bad_coder It's not entirely clear what you mean by "write phonetically in German". There's IPA to describe the pronunciation, but that's (on purpose) not specific for German, Portuguese or whatever.
    – DonHolgo
    Jan 3, 2023 at 17:28
  • @RHa I'm not sure "it's pronounced as in Portuguese" can be guaranteed:) I guess whether you try to pronounce as it should depends of the language you import the word from german.stackexchange.com/questions/22482/…
    – c.p.
    Jan 4, 2023 at 6:35

1 Answer 1


The German Wikipedia article states that the name is pronounced [peˈlɛ], but in Germany, I have always heard [pe:ˈle:], like for example in this video.

I don't speak Portuguese and I don't know how Brasilians actually pronounce it, so I can't comment on whether one of them is correct or not.

In this video, in my ears, I hear the man himself pronounce it as [pɛˈlɛ].

  • Exactly, I meant the way like it's pronounced in the 1st video (Sport Bild) you linked which obviously is very different from how it's pronounced in Portuguese (Pelé himself in the second video tries to smooth the tonic syllable slightly but it's still the original pronunciation); the english interviewer in the 2nd vid is also funny because he also says it in a different way.
    – bad_coder
    Jan 3, 2023 at 18:21

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