… the word is supposed to represent a fumbling human attempt to catch the phonetics of an absolutely non-human word. The name of the hellish entity was invented by beings whose vocal organs were not like man’s, hence it has no relation to the human speech equipment. The syllables were determined by a physiological equipment wholly unlike ours, hence could never be uttered perfectly by human throats.… The actual sound—as nearly as human organs could imitate it or human letters record it—may be taken as something like Khlûlˊ-hloo, with the first syllable pronounced gutturally and very thickly. The u is about like that in full; and the first syllable is not unlike klul in sound, hence the h represents the guttural thickness.
DESCRIPTION: In a letter to his friend Duane Rimel, Lovecraft explains how to pronounce the name of his most famous creation, Cthulhu.
CITATION: Lovecraft, H. P. “To Duane Rimel.” 23 July 1934. Selected Letters. Edited by August Derleth and James Turner, vol. 5, Arkham House, 1976, pp. 10-11.