If you told me over 10 years ago, when I first started writing about games, that I’d be writing an article about how to pronounce something… Man. The wild part is I’d probably believe you. Anyway, 2017’s NieR: Automata recently re-released on the Nintendo Switch, making Yoko Taro’s modern cult classic immediately relevant again. I say that because “how to pronounce NieR: Automata” is a “breakout” Google search trend this week. There isn’t really a better way to present this.
Unlike other games from Japan people like to make fun of, there’s nothing particularly unusual about NieR: Automata’s title aside from the capital “R.” While it isn’t really clear what “Nier” exactly means in the context of this series (Yoko Taro calls it a “curse”), it’s also an established surname in the real world. Meanwhile, “Automata” is the plural form of “Automaton,” which is basically a fancy word for “robot.” It’s a NieR game, and it’s about living machines. NieR: Automata.
Pronouncing NieR: Automata is pretty easy. There are no shenanigans here. “NieR” is pronounced how it looks, like the English word “near” or phonetically “knee-ur.” And if you can pronounce “automaton” you can pronounce “Automata.” It isn’t said like it’s two words (Auto-Mata) like it is here. It’s something like, “Aw-tah-mah-tah.” Here’s a screenshot I took of what pops up when you search this term on Google, which I have to assume you’ve seen if you’re reading this.
Of all the wacky things in the works of Yoko Taro that are hard to understand, how to pronounce the title NieR: Automata isn’t really one of them. Now go read about something much more difficult to explain, such as whether or not being an android and backing up your memories to a second body after the previous body blows up means the original android is still alive or not. Have fun!