Spellczechs (and others)

The stories behind hard-to-spell athlete names

Lodewicus Theodorus “Louis” Oosthuizen

with 2 comments

Tale of the tape:

English Pronunciation : LOU-dew-ic-ious THE-od-OR-ous WEST-hye-zen

First/middle/last names subject to misspelling: All

Spellczechs degree of difficulty(1 – 5 diamonds, 5 being hardest)♦♦♦♦

Valid in Scrabble (name(s) also valid Scrabble words in and of themsel(ves)?: None

Playable in Scrabble (name(s) able to be formed with standard 100-tile English set)?: All 3

Best Anagram Genius anagram: Cold, duteous Zionist whorehouse

The story:

Louis Oosthuizen just won the 2010 British Open on Sunday.  This was the first Major championship for the 27-year-old native of South Africa.

Mr. Oosthuizen’s full birth name is a triple threat of tongue-twisting.  Let’s try tackling his first name . . . umm . . . first.   Here is the most important bit of advice I can give you in remembering how to spell certain words/names . . . try and break the word up into smaller, recognizable subwords, prefixes, suffixes, abbreviations and/or acronyms.  So, let’s see if we can tear apart “Lodewicus”.

Lodewicus is problematic because it doesn’t look like it would end with a “cious” sound.  (LOU-dew-ic-ious) But let’s try and break it down just the same. It the contains the subword “lode“, but “wicus” doesn’t really subdivide well.  However, what if we divided it into Lo/dew/ICUs. Then we’d have three subwords/acronyms we know and can easily relate to/remember.  From there, you many want to try and put the words into some kind of sentence such as “The lo dew of the ICUs“.  This is an example of a mnemonic device.  Simliarly, we can apply the same principle to his middle name (Theodorus), with The/odor/us, as in “The Odor of us“.

Now his last name, that’s a whole different kettle of fish.  And speaking of fish, oost happens to be, amongst other things,  the Dutch word for odor, while Huizen is Dutch for houses.   So is Louis affiliated with the a fish house, or is he a fan of heretofore unrecorded Weird Al interpretation of The Animals hit (namely, “House of the Rising Smell”)?  Sorry, I digress.

Depending on who you ask, his last name could be pronounced WOOST-hay-zen, or OAST-hay-zen, which would at least give you a fighting chance of spelling it correctly.

Its a bit messy, but you CAN break “Oosthuizen” up into smaller subwords prefixes and abbreviations:

Oo: is a prefix referring to egg or ovum

St: is an abbreviation for street

Hui: is a Chinese word meaning conference or secret society

Zen: is a type of Buddhism

In future posts, I’ll provide links to foreign name pronunciation guides, along with other tips/hints on spelling those hard-to-spell athlete names.  In the meantime, congrats to Mr. Fishhouse Mr. Oosthuizen.


Written by dianagram

July 18, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Posted in Golf

Tagged with , ,

2 Responses

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  1. The Dutch pronunciation of the first syllable would be OAST (the latter you listed).

    From what I know about Afrikaans (little) I understand that their “oo” vowel is pronounced a bit differently (presumably close to the first pronunciation you listed)

    Perhaps someone with more knowledge of Afrikaans can be a bit more enlightening.


    July 22, 2010 at 8:18 am

    • Interesting. Thanks for the input. Yours are one of the types of comments I am looking for, as I am NOT a professional linguist, and appreciate any/all assistance in pronunciation/spelling.


      July 22, 2010 at 9:29 am

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