None of those attempts to spell "carillon" appear in any of the many standard English-language dictionaries accessible to the author of this page.
The mis-spelling "carillion" is probably derived from the pronunciation of "carillon" as "kuh-RIL-yun". However, this pronunciation appears in very few English-language dictionaries, and when it does it is as the least-preferred of several alternatives.
The pronunciation "kuh-RIL-yun" does prevail in some parts of the English-speaking world, most notably Australia, and may have originated from an old French or Spanish pronunciation. However, it is not accepted by aficionados of the carillon in North America (as represented by The Guild of Carillonneurs in North America) nor in Great Britain (as represented by the British Carillon Society). The correct pronunciation of the word "carillon" in these areas is approximately "KEH-rih-lon".
It is usually found that native speakers of either American English or British English who use "carillion" (either the spelling or the pronunciation) are mostly or completely unaware of what a "carillon" actually is. They may use the term not only in the various senses explained in our Glossary, but also to mean "bell tower" or "clock tower" (and not just the bells therein) or indeed a group of any kind of bell or other thing that produces a somewhat bell-like sound, especially via automatic operation.
Non-native speakers of English who use "carillion" (either the spelling or the pronunciation) are likely to mean "carillon" in the sense used throughout this Website, but probably have picked up this word through informal learning.
"Carrillón" may be legitimate in Spanish and/or Portuguese, but the situation in these languages is not yet clear to us. Relevant information from persons knowledgeable in these languages would be welcome.
This page was created 1999/11/03 and last revised 2010/06/20.
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