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There’s been a swathe of celebrities who have recently revealed their first or last names are patently said incorrectly by the public all the time. If you’ve been saying Rihanna like it rhymes with Anna from Frozen, you’ve been doing it wrong. If you throw out a hard r when you say Margot Robbie, you’ve been saying it wrong. If you thought you’ve been saying Jake Gyllenhaal’s last name correctly your entire life, well, it’s complicated.
Thanks to the wonder that is YouTube, a video of Conan O’Brien having a friendly late night chat with Jake Gyllenhaal recently popped up. In it, O’Brien confirms what he’d always suspected: the public has pronounced Gyllenhaal incorrectly throughout his entire career.
In fact, the comedian pulled out all the stops to pronounce Gyllenhaal, which sounds more like yee-len-hoo-oyl when it comes out of Conan’s mouth. It’s so hard to pronounce, I’m not even sure how to correctly write out the pronunciation key. But you can hear the two Hollywood personalities talk out what should be the correct pronunciation below.
So that’s the correct Swedish pronunciation of the name, and one the actor jokes is only said correctly in “Sweden” and “IKEA.” However, unlike the whole Rihanna situation, you shouldn’t feel so bad if you’ve been saying something along the lines of jill-in-hall your entire life.
Why? If you’ve seen Jake Gyllenhaal introduce himself before, such as in his interview about the web’s most asked questions he did with Ryan Reynolds, he does pronounce his name the way you’d probably guess. And in a separate Nightcrawler interview, the actor has confirmed that he rolls with the Americanized way of saying his name.
Like many a family that immigrated to the U.S. at some point, it seems that Jake Gyllenhaal and his family at some point Americanized their Swedish last name. Though it is worth noting the Ambulance actor is familiar with the route origins of how it should be said.
Interestingly, while people don’t seem to have too much trouble with Gyllenhaal these days — though that hasn’t stopped him from being asked about his last name constantly — his co-stars on Michael Bay’s Ambulance movie Eiza González and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II were interviewed and had a running joke about him given their own troubles with people remembering how to say their names correctly. Abdul Mateen II told Esquire:
So, as far as pronouncing Hollywood names goes, you’ve probably been saying Jake Gyllenhaal’s name the way he wants you to and he himself says it. However, if you want to dig into the topic a little more and learn the correct Swedish way of saying it, I assume that’s just worth bonus points. Anyway, I’m sure someone will ask Gyllenhaal again on the set of his upcoming TV thriller.