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Any British place names you want help with?


Laura Corin
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Worchestershire.  Please, end our years-long household debate.  You pronounce it... how?

 

There's no 'h' in Worcester.  It's pronounced Wooster, with the oo like book; it doesn't rhyme with rooster.  I think the 'shire' is like shur, but the Brits I'm guessing don't pronounce the final 'r'?

 

Which I guess is still similar to how "real" locals here in MA would pronounce it (Worcester is the 2nd largest city in MA), as they don't use final 'r's either....  while I'd say Wooster, they'd say Woostah.  But certainly no chester, and please do completely ignore that first 'r' - it's just there for... well, who knows, but that one's never pronounced. :D

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I've been enjoying the PNW ones, and am happy to help. Some to start you off:

 

Mousehole, Leicester, Beaulieu, Edinburgh, Culross, Alnwick, Shrewsbury, Greenwich, Frome, Warwick, Birmingham, Anstruther, Beaulieu, Belvoir,....

 

L

I Think I know Greenwich and Edinburgh and maybe Leicester and I could be wrong on those. The rest would be wild guesses, so please enlighten me.

 

BTW, my guesses are:

 

Gren-ich

Edin-bur

Ly-ster

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Worchestershire.  Please, end our years-long household debate.  You pronounce it... how?

 

First - the spelling.  It's Worcestershire (no 'h').  And in standard British English (BBC, RP) it's pronounced WOO-stuh-shuh.  The 'WOO' is as in the word 'book'.  Listen to 'Mooncow' here.

 

Newcastle-upon-Tyne.  The Tyne part.  And like Audrey, we have a family argument hinging on this. . . 

 

'Tyne' is like the tines of a fork, to rhyme with 'fine'

 

I think my dh was born in Cambridgeshire.  How is that pronounced, and where is it in England?

 

KAYM-bridge-shuh.  It's over on the east of England, in flat land a little to the north of London.

 

L

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I Think I know Greenwich and Edinburgh and maybe Leicester and I could be wrong on those. The rest would be wild guesses, so please enlighten me.

 

BTW, my guesses are:

 

Gren-ich

Edin-bur

Ly-ster

 

Mousehole - MAO-zuhl 

 

Leicester - LESS-tuh

 

Beaulieu - BYOO-lee

 

Edinburgh - ED-in-BUH-ruh or ED-in-bruh 

 

Culross - koo-ROSS

 

Alnwick - AN-ick

 

Shrewsbury - SHROOS-bree or SHROWS-bree (opinion is divided)

 

Greenwich - GREN-itch

 

Frome - FROOM

 

Warwick - WOH-rick (short 'o')

 

Birmingham - BUR-ming-uhm

 

Anstruther - AN-ster (the 'r' is pronounced in Scotland) or AIN-ster, or AN-struh-ther

 

Belvoir - exactly the same as the word 'beaver', but with the RP accent it would be 'BEE-vuh'.

 

I just thought of another one: Thames is pronounced 'TEMS' with a short 'e'.

 

L

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I Think I know Greenwich and Edinburgh and maybe Leicester and I could be wrong on those. The rest would be wild guesses, so please enlighten me.

 

BTW, my guesses are:

 

Gren-ich

Edin-bur

Ly-ster

The Leicester here in MA is Lester (or Lestah if using the Boston accent) Since we still get Worcester right, is that still right as well?

 

Is Fraidycat right about Edinburgh? We don't have one of those here, but I was thinking Edin-burra?

 

I'm with her on Greenwich = Gren-itch...

 

ETA: hey, you posted answers while I was typing... :lol:

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Mousehole - MAO-zuhl

 

Leicester - LESS-tuh

 

Beaulieu - BYOO-lee

 

Edinburgh - ED-in-BUH-ruh or ED-in-bruh

 

Culross - koo-ROSS

 

Alnwick - AN-ick

 

Shrewsbury - SHROOS-bree or SHROWS-bree (opinion is divided)

 

Greenwich - GREN-itch

 

Frome - FROOM

 

Warwick - WOH-rick (short 'o')

 

Birmingham - BUR-ming-uhm

 

Anstruther - AN-ster (the 'r' is pronounced in Scotland) or AIN-ster, or AN-struh-ther

 

Belvoir - exactly the same as the word 'beaver', but with the RP accent it would be 'BEE-vuh'.

 

I just thought of another one: Thames is pronounced 'TEMS' with a short 'e'.

 

L

Thanks. So I had Greenwich, almost had Edinburgh, and I did know the Thames one. The kids and I just laughed hysterically when Dr. Who drained it overpowering a spider lady monster thingy yesterday. :)

 

And basically you're telling us the UK never learned their phonics. ;)

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And basically you're telling us the UK never learned their phonics. ;)

 

Absolutely.  Or more like: well, how are we going to deal with all these highly consonantal words that the Anglo-Saxons, Celts and Vikings left lying around.....?  Oh, I know!  We'll just skip the fiddly bits!

 

Some surnames:

 

Cholmondely - CHUM-lee

 

Featherstonehaugh - FAN-shaw

 

Farquhar - FAR-kuh( r ) (it's a Scottish name, so a Scot would put an 'r' on the end)

 

Urqhuart - ER-khu( r )t (also Scottish)

 

L

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And basically you're telling us the UK never learned their phonics. ;)

 

Hahaha!  That's the truth.  Listening to the stop announcements of the Tube or on a train in England is very entertaining, especially since the name is shown on the board.  It makes no sense!

 

Absolutely.  Or more like: well, how are we going to deal with all these highly consonantal words that the Anglo-Saxons, Celts and Vikings left lying around.....?  Oh, I know!  We'll just skip the fiddly bits!

 

Some surnames:

 

Cholmondely - CHUM-lee

 

Featherstonehaugh - FAN-shaw

 

Farquhar - FAR-kuh( r ) (it's a Scottish name, so a Scot would put an 'r' on the end)

 

Urqhuart - ER-khu( r )t (also Scottish)

 

L

 

Featherstonehaugh always gets me!  It makes absolutely NO SENSE!  How do you all know how to pronounce things????

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What about Welsh? We're currently reading The Grey King from the Dark is Rising series and those Welsh names are giving me fits. I'd look it up now but I reeeeeeally need to get to bed!

 

That's a completely different language.  I only know the rudiments of pronunciation and I'm likely to get it wrong....  It's spoken natively in parts of Wales but other parts use English as the first language.

 

There's a story that a couple of decades ago, a Welsh film-maker wanted to enter a film into the foreign language category at the Oscars.  It kept being rejected by someone who didn't really believe that Welsh was a separate language from English (rather than a dialect).  So the film-maker sent him an English-Welsh dictionary.  The film was allowed in.

 

L

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Absolutely. Or more like: well, how are we going to deal with all these highly consonantal words that the Anglo-Saxons, Celts and Vikings left lying around.....? Oh, I know! We'll just skip the fiddly bits!

 

Some surnames:

 

Cholmondely - CHUM-lee

 

Featherstonehaugh - FAN-shaw

 

Farquhar - FAR-kuh( r ) (it's a Scottish name, so a Scot would put an 'r' on the end)

 

Urqhuart - ER-khu( r )t (also Scottish)

 

L

The rest I can "see" but to the bolded ... WTH are they smoking?

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Hahaha!  That's the truth.  Listening to the stop announcements of the Tube or on a train in England is very entertaining, especially since the name is shown on the board.  It makes no sense!

 

 

Featherstonehaugh always gets me!  It makes absolutely NO SENSE!  How do you all know how to pronounce things????

 

Just by hearing them.  It's like 'Yosemite' - the pronuncation makes no English phonetic sense, so someone has to tell you.

 

A thing that it took me a while to get used to in Scotland is a difference in stress.  In English English, one tends to stress the first syllable of most words.  In Scotland, the second syllable of place names is more often stressed, as in Braemar (bray-MAR) and Guardbridge (gard-BRIDGE).

 

L

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How about some of the colleges at Oxford & Cambridge? Working from memory, but isn't

Caius = keys

Magdalene = MAUD-lin

Jesus = ?

 

also ...

St John = SIN-jin

 

And some Tube stations in London ...

Marylebone = MAR-ley-bone (???)

Chiswick = CHIZZ-ick ?

 

 

I did NOT know about Featherstonehaugh. I love it!

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How about some of the colleges at Oxford & Cambridge? Working from memory, but isn't

Caius = keys

Magdalene = MAUD-lin

Jesus = ?

 

also ...

St John = SIN-jin

 

And some Tube stations in London ...

Marylebone = MAR-ley-bone (???)

Chiswick = CHIZZ-ick ?

 

 

I did NOT know about Featherstonehaugh. I love it!

 

All those sound right - I'd probably say MAR-li-buhn, but there's probably some variation.  Is there a special pronunciation for Jesus?  It seems to be normal here.  Keble is 'KEY-buhl', I think and Balliol is 'BAY-lyuhl'.

 

Another tube station that trips people up is 'Holborn', which is pronounced 'HOE-buhn'.    Oh, and Gloucester Road - 'GLOSS-tuh'

 

L

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And basically you're telling us the UK never learned their phonics. ;)

I always think of the song from my fair lady where prof. higgin's is complainging "why can't the english learn to speak?" (keep in mind, george bernard shaw who wrote the play was irish socialist/fabian who thought langauge kept people in their respective "classes".) and the corresponding commentary that the french don't care what their children do with their language, as long as they pronounce it correctly.

 

Some surnames:

 

Cholmondely - CHUM-lee

dh's favorite for you better know how to pronounce english names.

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I always think of the song from my fair lady where prof. higgin's is complainging "why can't the english learn to speak?" (keep in mind, george bernard shaw who wrote the play was irish socialist/fabian who thought langauge kept people in their respective "classes".) 

 

He was also in favour of simplified spelling, so Cholmondely would have been something like Chumly anyway.  At which point, would the English know how to speak?

 

L

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This is not a place name, but how do you pronounce forecastle?  I hate books with ships in them because I can never figure out how to say it!  

 

Traditionally, it's pronounced 'FOKE-suhl' but I suspect that lots of people don't know that now.

 

L

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How is the city of Bath pronounced?  Is it  Bath, as in "I'm going to take a bath tonight."

 

or is it  Baahhth, as in "I sound really snooty." ;)

 

LOL - I strongly suspect that the Brits pronounce both the same way, so even they want to "take a baahth", it also sounds snooty (well, at least to American ears). ;)

 

I had a friend in elementary school who had a British nanny, and would ask to go to the baahthroom, which got her some ribbing...

 

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Before our trip to London, I had to coach my husband, repeatedly, on the correct pronunciation of Southwark. I only knew it because I had been listening to lots of travel podcasts. :D And since we were staying there, I didn't want us to make utter fools of ourselves if we had to ask for help getting back to the area of our hotel. Of course, we managed to make fools of ourselves in other ways, but we at least got that right! Got Leicester right too. Might have butchered some others, but we were okay on those.

 

Fun thread!

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Traditionally, it's pronounced 'FOKE-suhl' but I suspect that lots of people don't know that now.

 

L

I knew that from 'Master and Commander,' 'Hornblower,' etc. ... :) Speaking of that, guess how Ioan Gruffudd's name is pronounced? I think his last name is something like 'Griffith.' I correspond with my fourth cousin in Wales, but if the Welsh-speaker in this thread wants to confirm, that'd be great! (My cousin & I haven't discussed 'Gruffudd'!)

 

... I sometimes see forecastle written in nautical books as fo'c'sle ...

 

(ETA: I just googled it, b/c really it should be fo'c's'le, but that's a TON of apostrophes, haha, and I see that James Michener spelled it fo'c's'l in his book 'Hawaii’.)

 

 

Also coxswain = COCK-sun (at least, that's how college crew teams pronounce it in the U.S.)

 

When we lived in Europe we used to watch a lot of BBC documentaries. Guess how 'cervical' is pronounced? At least by the surgeons in the show, it's something like sir-VYE-kuhl

I did hear (British) people grumbling about how TV newscasters in Britain were starting to pronounce harassment the American way (har-ASS-ment), rather than HAR-ass-ment ...

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How is the city of Bath pronounced?  Is it  Bath, as in "I'm going to take a bath tonight."

 

or is it  Baahhth, as in "I sound really snooty." ;)

 

In standard received pronunciation (and in the city of Bath itself, which is in southern England) it would be BAHTH, which is how I pronounce 'taking a bath.'  However, if you live in the north of England, it's a short 'a' as in 'cat', which is how they pronounce 'taking a bath'.

 

L

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I am a Welsh speaker. Let me know if I can help with your pronunciations. Some really are doozies.

 

Ok, we've only gotten through chapter 3, in which the Welsh boy gives the English boy pronunciation lessons. But there are a few words not pronounced that I think will come up again later in the story:

 

Calan Gaeaf (Halloween)

Tylwyth Teg (the old spirits, little people)

Brenin Llwyd (Grey King)

 

And might there be any special pronunciation of the name Caradog? Or does it sound pretty much the way it's spelled--CA-ruh-dog? Except for the r sounding a bit like a soft d--that was part of the pronunciation lesson in the chapter.

 

Thanks for your help!

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In standard received pronunciation (and in the city of Bath itself, which is in southern England) it would be BAHTH, which is how I pronounce 'taking a bath.'  However, if you live in the north of England, it's a short 'a' as in 'cat', which is how they pronounce 'taking a bath'.

 

L

 

::face palm::

 

How is one to choose if one wants to fake...er, acquire an English accent??!!

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In standard received pronunciation (and in the city of Bath itself, which is in southern England) it would be BAHTH, which is how I pronounce 'taking a bath.'  However, if you live in the north of England, it's a short 'a' as in 'cat', which is how they pronounce 'taking a bath'.

 

L

 

Thank you!

 

 

and I don't think you are snooty at all. lol

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I knew that from 'Master and Commander,' 'Hornblower,' etc. ... :) Speaking of that, guess how Ioan Gruffudd's name is pronounced? I think his last name is something like 'Griffith.' I correspond with my fourth cousin in Wales, but if the Welsh-speaker in this thread wants to confirm, that'd be great! (My cousin & I haven't discussed 'Gruffudd'!)

 

 

Ioan Gruffudd's name would be pronounced Yo-ann Griffith, with the "th" sound being a soft "th" as in "then", rather than the unvoiced "th" of "thick". Dd is one letter in the Welsh alphabet and is always pronouncedd (soft) "th". Griffith is a common Welsh surname, also.

 

 

Ok, we've only gotten through chapter 3, in which the Welsh boy gives the English boy pronunciation lessons. But there are a few words not pronounced that I think will come up again later in the story:

 

Calan Gaeaf (Halloween)

Tylwyth Teg (the old spirits, little people)

Brenin Llwyd (Grey King)

 

And might there be any special pronunciation of the name Caradog? Or does it sound pretty much the way it's spelled--CA-ruh-dog? Except for the r sounding a bit like a soft d--that was part of the pronunciation lesson in the chapter.

 

Thanks for your help!

 

Calan Gaeaf - more properly translated as Winter Holiday, would be pronounced Kallan Gay-av. One f always makes a "v" sound, and Ff (again, considered one letter in the alphabet) is the harder f sound.

 

Tylwyth Teg - Tull-with (hard th) Teg

 

Brenin Llwyd - Brennin Lllooid. Ll is one letter in Welsh and is pretty unique. You make an l sound, but blow at the same time. You should get a soft snakelike vaguely spittle inducing sound. 

 

Welsh is very phonetic once you know the basics. Y is always a vowel, and w sometimes is, which is why so many place names look like a jumble of consonants to outsiders. One thing to note is that the stress is always on the penultimate syllable of a word, so a two syllable word - stress the first syllable. Three syllables, stress the middle one.

 

Caradog would be pronounced Carraddog, with the a in the middle stressed and not a schwa, but a proper short a like in "back". The o in the dog part is also a real short o and that part is pronounced exactly as you would say dog (unless you're from New Jersey, I understand). All vowels in Welsh tend to be pronounced, There are very few schwas - except for the vowel y, whose sound is just that - "uh".

 

Hope that helps.

 

Katie

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I have always heard Pal Mal or Pel Mel. I remember my father warning me, because, as an American, I always wanted to make those words more 'English' by saying Paul Maul. Does that make any sense? It always puzzled me that those words sounded Americanized.

 

The only place I've encountered double ff is PG Wodehouse. Isn't there a Bassington-ffrench family?

What do you need explaining about Pall Mall and The Mall?

 

 

Supposedly, the ff names are actually a transcription error. There are some double ff names that are Welsh though - like Ffion.

L

I have always heard Pal Mal or Pel Mel. I remember my father warning me, because, as an American, I always wanted to make those words more 'English' by saying Paul Maul. Does that make any sense? It always puzzled me that those words sounded Americanized.

 

The only place I've encountered double ff is PG Wodehouse. Isn't there a Bassington-ffrench family? Welsh, that makes sense. ETA Oops, it's Agatha Christie.

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I have always heard Pal Mal or Pel Mel. I remember my father warning me, because, as an American, I always wanted to make those words more 'English' by saying Paul Maul. Does that make any sense? It always puzzled me that those words sounded Americanized.

 

The only place I've encountered double ff is PG Wodehouse. Isn't there a Bassington-ffrench family? Welsh, that makes sense. ETA Oops, it's Agatha Christie.

 

Pall Mall and The Mall are usually pronounced with a short 'a' (like 'cat') rather than a long 'a' like 'all'.  The names came about because both streets were previously 'alleys' used for playing a game called Pall Mall, which was similar to croquet.  The 'pell-mell' pronunciation is archaic.

 

 

Did you do Cirencester? I have heard several pronunciations. And, how would people who say Shrows-bry pronounce it?

 

Btw, Laura, you are a genius at phonetic spelling!

 

Cirencester is sometimes pronounced 'SIGN-sess-tuh'.  Otherwise, it's just syllable by syllable, 'SIGH-ruhn-sess-tuh'

 

Shrewsbury is sometimes pronounced SHROWS-bree ('shrow' like show and 'bree' like breeze).

 

L

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thanks laura.  I had fun giving featherstonehaugh to dh to pronounce.  I had warned him it was really tricky.  he stared at it, and asked if it had "featherstone" in it. nope.

 

I looked it up (I thought it was a place and was trying to find it) - and found references to both featherstone castle and a featherstonehaugh family. (which seemed to use the haugh, or not, as the mood moved) so, which is it?

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