Welcome to my video classroom on how to pronounce all ten 100-letter thunderwords found in Finnegans Wake. I do an awful lot of talking in these videos and they’re all pretty self explanatory, so there’s not much to say here beyond a handful of thank-yous:

We have John Mugford and the New Mexico State Library to thank for the wonderful sound quality. Plus, contributors to my summer 2014 Kickstarter campaign inadvertantly provided this project’s original impetus. Backers who pledged a certain amount were promised mp3 thunderword audio tutorials. It seemed like a great idea at the time, but the same problem I was having with my live performances presented itself here: Fun though Finnegans Wake is to recite, and as essential as it is to hear the words in order to appreciate them, Joyce’s language does require visuals. Simply telling people to open the book to thus & such page isn’t enough, at least when it comes to the thunderwords. These linguistic colossi can be utterly boggling to look at. They’re like an enormous side of beef that you wouldn’t dare swallow all at once; they have to be broken apart in order to be properly digested.  Enter Powerpoint, Garage Band, Quicktime, iMovie and a whole lot of clicking, dragging and cursing. The final product is the first of its kind from what I can tell, and I’m very pleased with it.

#1 – located on page 3

#2 – located on page 23

Thunderword #2 Addendum: ‘The Prankquean’

#3 – located on page 44

#4 – located on page 90

#5 – located on page 113

#6 – located on page 257

#7 – located on page 314

#8 – located on page 332

#9 – located on page 414

#10 – located on page 424

15 comments on “ThunderVideos

  1. Peter Chrisp says:

    Brilliant work Adam! I’ve added a link to this on my blog

  2. Chris says:

    Marvelous tutorials! Are these free to download, Adam ?

    I wish there were an extensive podcast series on Finnegan’s Wake in its entirety..

    • JoyceGeek says:

      The tutorials are indeed free to download, though contributions are always welcome.

      Most projects attempting to encompass “Finnegans Wake in its entirety” generally fall into one of two categories: unfathomably herculean or woefully incomplete. You can’t drink up the Atlantic Ocean with just a few swallows; some things take time.

      However, a study of all ten thunderwords is a great way to quickly introduce yourself to the book as a whole, if I do say so myself. I’m glad you like it.

      • Chris says:

        True. What is the best way to donate ?

      • JoyceGeek says:

        Thanks for your help. Every little bit counts.

        Update: Peter Thiel’s endorsement of and contribution to the 2016 Donald Trump presidential campaign have forced me to remove the PayPal link from this website – permanently. If (for any purpose) you’d like to make contact, you can go to my reading group page where you’ll find a contact form.

        Fascism must be fought at every possible turn.

  3. Tom Rike says:

    I always seem to mangle phrases I want to memorize, but I have committed myself to memorizing these thunderwords so that I can say each of them in one breath. This is one of the ways I plan to slow down senility (I’m 72). We will be encountering number four next week in the Berkeley FW reading group so I have appropriately started there “in medias res.” Thanks for the website and insights that I find very inspirational.

  4. tom ross says:

    Mom musicalized, doing klikka klakka:

  5. I am a Geek from Iceland. In three days I will be in Dublin for the first time (I was born 1950) and will take three Joyce-walks with Irish Geeks. Thanks so much for your ten lectures.
    When you pronounce Ragnarok, the o is pronounced like the u in dum.
    These days (Sunday nights) my programs on Wagner’s operas (11 programs) are being repeated on the Icelandic Radio Channel one (Rás 1). I called the programs Watching music (a phrase from Wagner himself). I give you here the program on Rhinegold:
    You talk about Norse myths. Who would know about them if Icelanders had not written them down and preserved them? No Norseman came to that work. The Eddas are written in Icelandic, not Norse.
    Thanks again for excellent lectures, your style and verbality are for first prize.
    Arni Blandon Einarsson

    • JoyceGeek says:

      Thank you – pronunciation nuances are always welcome, as is your revelation re the Icelandic role in bringing us the Nordic mythos. I’m afraid my knowledge of the Eddas doesn’t go much beyond popular culture – shamelessly evidenced by my choice of visuals for t-word #10. I should brush up on it.

  6. […] for his own famed book. I absorbed Adam Harvey’s wonderful video explanations over on JoyceGeek. I read Ulysses again and even set up a Joycean book group to discuss it in more detail. Finally, […]

  7. Lars Johansson says:

    I’ve just discovered your blog, and i like the videos much! But I think you’ve got some things wrong about Thunderbird no. 3, so I’d like to contribute with my own version!

    This is my explanation of Thunderword no. 3:

    Divided into 16 words:


    klikka (Norwegian): to clic
    claque (French): slap
    click-clack: a clicking sound
    kacken (German): to shit
    klaskac´ (Polish): to applaud
    khlopat (Russian): clap
    klatsch (German): splash
    battere (Italian): to clap
    crappy: bad
    crépiter (French): to splutter
    crotte (French): dung
    greadadh (Irish): clapping
    semmih: Shem (with an oriental touch)
    sammih: Shaun (oriental)
    nouith: Nuvoletta/Issy (oriental)
    applåd (Swedish): applaud
    a bloody: a fucking
    con (French): cunt; fucked up
    Kot (German): dung
    plop: sound of shitting

    So this is an onomatopoethic word made out of sounds (often in pairs) of clapping, splashing and shitting plus ”bad” and the names of Shem, Shaun and Issy.

    /Lars Johansson from Sweden

    • JoyceGeek says:

      Thank you for this – I agree, and you’re not the first to make this observation. There are a number of things I need to change in the TW3 vid, not just the pronunciation. I also need to correct the names of the composers who’ve covered the Ballad: Kristen (not Kirsten) Bachtle and Stephen (not Michael) Albert. That last mistake is particularly egregious. Look for a correction in the near future.

  8. […] language for his own famed book. I absorbed Adam Harvey’s wonderful video explanations over on JoyceGeek. I read Ulysses again. I established a Joycean book group. Finally, when there could be no more […]

  9. Tom Ross says:

    I got my creaky mom to pronounce them. btw creppycrotty is prob. Latin + Greek, former in crepitu, thunder or farts.

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