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Your travel guide, Ms. Tramp, would like to keep YOU from making egregious errors [20041206|10:59]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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A Short Pronunciation Guide for Americans Visiting England.

Bath: It's "BAA-th." It's not "BAH-th" unless, as I once heard an Englishman claim, you're a complete git.

Beauchamps: It's not "BOH-sham." It's "BEECH-um."

Cockfosters: Okay, so we usually get that one right. It's the same in American and Englandian. My mature side would like you to know that the stop before Cockfosters on the Piccadilly line is Oakwood.

Islington: It's not EYES-lington. It's IZ-lington.

Kebab: It's not a ke-BAHB. It's a ke-BAAB.

Leicester: It's not LIE-chester. Nor is it LIE-ster. It's LESS-ter. The English just stuck a lot of extra letters in there. Like Gloucester. Just pretend the "-[vowel]ce-" bit isn't there and you'll get it.

Marylebone: Not only is this one immensely confusing to Americans, the English can't even seem to agree on it. The way you choose to pronounce it seems to place you in a particular class. If you pronounce the "L", you say it "MARRY-lee-bon." If you don't pronounce the "L," you say it "MARRY-bon." The former marks you a snob, the latter a working-class person. Depends on whom you're trying to ingratiate at the time, I suppose. Under no circumstances does it seem to be "MARE-ill-bone."

Pasty: It's not PASTE-ee. It's PAST-ee. They make edible PASTE-ees, but you can't generally buy them from a corner stand.

Premiership [football league]: It's not Prem-EAR-ship. It's PREM-ear-ship.

Reading: It's RED-ding. This is just for the place name, though. I can't explain it either.

Streatham: It's not STREET-ham. It's STRAT-um.

Slough: It's not SLUFF. Neither is it SLOO. It's SLAH-ow.

Twat: It's not "TWAHT." It's "TWAAT." To rhyme with cat.

And my own personal favorite!

Wymondham: This one so totally wins the extra letters count. It's not "WHY-mond-ham." It's "WIND-am."

For bonus points, pronounce "Loughborough" correctly on your first attempt.

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[User Picture]From: nanila
2004-12-07 17:07 (UTC)
Welsh with a Texan accent. It boggles the mind.

(P.S. It's LUFF-burrah. Kind of. Ish. Definitely LUFF. Second part has a lot of regional/socioeconomic class-based variation.)
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[User Picture]From: seamusd
2004-12-06 13:22 (UTC)
One of my favorite English pronounciations is "Sin Gin Sm-I-th" for Saint-John Smith.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2004-12-07 17:05 (UTC)
The one that really gets me is RED-ding. You don't say you're RED-ding a book! Why, god. Why.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2004-12-07 17:03 (UTC)
And this is part of why we love Susan Cooper, for cleverly weaving explanations of the Welsh names to us into her narrative. Must! Visit! Wales!
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From: ripperlyn
2004-12-06 14:59 (UTC)
Cockfosters: Okay, so we usually get that one right. It's the same in American and Englandian. My mature side would like you to know that the stop before Cockfosters on the Piccadilly line is Oakwood.


In Edinburgh, off the Royal Mile, Cockburn Street is pronounced "Co-burn" street. Not "Cock-burn" street.

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[User Picture]From: opheliablue
2004-12-06 16:01 (UTC)
A lot of pronounciations (god knows if I spelt that right, I can't be bothered checking) are different in Scotland...Edinburgh being in Scotland not England :P I'm not sure that most American people (or most English people for that matter) know that, eg, Loch Ness, is pronounced...ummm I can't think of how to spell it now - anyway, it's NOT LOCK Ness, which is what most people say. It's....Lochhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh....someone help me out here! It's not a 'ch' sound it's an oooooccccccchhhhhhhh sound. Ok I give up.
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[User Picture]From: 3g0
2004-12-06 15:45 (UTC)
Here in St. Louis we have a street called Loughborough, and it's pronounced LOFF-bro. I suspect that I'm still nowhere close to Brit-speak though.
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[User Picture]From: kittenhotep
2004-12-06 16:39 (UTC)
For Loughborough I'd say Loff-burrow. There will be local accent laws that range from pronunciations of "burra" to "burrow" to "bra".

Although this whole post has made me think I should maybe just pronounce it Low-Brow and be done with it. I'm confused and it's my bloody accent. Gah!

(Bonus points for twat!)

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[User Picture]From: becala
2004-12-06 17:55 (UTC)
.. and in Austin, the roads Manchaca and Guadalupe are generally pronounced MAN-chack (the a like in hat) and GWAD-a-loop. Yauger Lane there is jager like the meister, but up here in Olympia, the road and park by the same name is pronounced YAW-ger, as it should be.

Leah, I keep meaning to send you a link to the flash animation that I kept quoting every time we past the cockfoster stop. Quick smart boy! I sense seepage!
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[User Picture]From: beeblebabe
2004-12-06 16:34 (UTC)

My pronounciation guess: SPRING-field.

...makes as much sense as anything else.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2004-12-07 16:48 (UTC)
And it follows the pronunciation rules, of which there are exactly none.

(It's LUFF-burruh. The second part is accent-dependent. The first part is definitely LUFF, as in, "Whitney LUFFs Solid Snake."
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[User Picture]From: greyface
2004-12-06 16:38 (UTC)
And one lesson that should be carried Eastward across the Atlantic.

Pots are something you cook in.
Not something storebought yogurt comes in.

Thank you, that is all.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2004-12-07 16:46 (UTC)
Oh, the vocabulary post is forthcoming. Lemme tell yah, it's been a bitch to prune it down to the critical differences.
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From: joegotamuffin
2004-12-06 16:44 (UTC)
aeY~ aeY~ ImA Laidy I em
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[User Picture]From: nationofsheep
2004-12-06 16:49 (UTC)


Seen stuff like this in Massachussetts. Woburn = WOO-burn.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2004-12-07 16:45 (UTC)
Wussta! Ha! I love it. The Bostonian accent always makes me smile. I had a labmate from Mass, and he learned to smooth his accent over, as most academics do, but every now and then it would creep out. For instance, "I have to move my caah, the meter's run out." :-D
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[User Picture]From: katyakoshka
2004-12-06 19:24 (UTC)
I can't imagine not pronouncing Islington as "IZ-ling-ton", and I had too many pastys growing up (awkward spelling to not confuse with nipple coverings for the not-so-modestly garbed) to not know how to say it correctly.

I think I have an unfair advantage, though, having majored in English (with an emphasis on the British lit), and being only two generations removed from England, with too many ties in Canada to have any excuses.
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[User Picture]From: aziraphale
2004-12-07 01:12 (UTC)
For bonus points, pronounce "Loughborough" correctly on your first attempt.

Is it LUFF-boor-uh?

I swear, it has to be.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2004-12-07 16:43 (UTC)
The LUFF is right! The second part is sorta accent-dependent. For the most part, it sounds like "burrow."
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[User Picture]From: enn
2004-12-07 01:30 (UTC)
although, i cant say i am too sure of where the accent would be..
perhaps LAH..
in ny, there is houston street, pronounced house-ton; &so new arrivals &tourists are easy to spot pronouncing it as the city is.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2004-12-07 16:42 (UTC)
It's LUFF-burrow (or barrow, or brah, depending on your accent). The first part is definitely, LUFF, though, as in, I received my new calendar and CD from you today and I LUFF them. xoxo!
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