Cowart's Common Room
For our non-UK correspondents

Have just read something with the English surname Featherstonehaugh in it, and remembering it was pronounced 'Fanshaw', tried to remember the other non-obviously pronouncable English surnames and forenames.

Cholmondley - pronounced 'Chumley'
Featherstonehugh - 'Freestonhue'
St John - 'Sinjun'
Dunbarton - think it's sometimes said 'Dumberton'
Siobahn (Irish forename) - 'Sharn' or 'Sh'vorn' (no doubt I'll be corrected on that one)
Niamh (Irish again) - 'Neeve'

Any other examples?

Posted at 27th Mar 2009 - 10:34AM   Posted by Jackofall   For our non-UK correspondents Comments: 44

Re:
CalicoKate's Avatar And the Scottish surname Sinclair is Sinkler

Posted by: CalicoKate on 27th Mar 2009 at 10:37AM

Re:
Preseli Mags's Avatar This one stumped me the other day: Roisin - Rosheen.
And there's Magdalen - Maudlin.

Posted by: Preseli Mags on 27th Mar 2009 at 10:39AM

Re:
Bicester - Bister
Worcester - Wooster
Worcestershire - Woostershear

and

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch Shocked - don't even go there! Laughing

Posted by: Celtic Heart on 27th Mar 2009 at 10:40AM

Re:
Oh and then there are all the places with the silent 'w' like

Goodwick - Goodick

Posted by: Celtic Heart on 27th Mar 2009 at 10:41AM

Re:
Westerwitch's Avatar In Scotland Menzies pronounced Mingis . . .

Posted by: Westerwitch on 27th Mar 2009 at 10:41AM

Re:
Westerwitch's Avatar Although the g is mostly silent

Posted by: Westerwitch on 27th Mar 2009 at 10:41AM

Re:
Ivy's Avatar Featherstonehaugh can't even type it ( had to copy and paste itVery Happy ) let alone pronounce it. Hope my daughter never falls in love with ( and marries) one of thoseBlink would be daft if I'd not be able to say or write her name any longer.

Posted by: Ivy on 27th Mar 2009 at 10:42AM

Re:
Westerwitch's Avatar There is actually a Dunbarton and a Dumbarton up here - I have seen signposts for both . . .

Posted by: Westerwitch on 27th Mar 2009 at 10:43AM

Re:
Ivy's Avatar I have recently come across a place called Uttoxeter how would you pronouce that than?

Posted by: Ivy on 27th Mar 2009 at 10:45AM

Re:
Preseli Mags's Avatar You-tox-etter

An American visitor once asked a friend of mine where Creewee was (Crewe - Croo), which is quite understandable. I'd forgotten about Worcester (being from there, I take it for granted!). Then there is Leominster - Lemster.

Now, here's a test: Eglwyswrw and Mynachlogddu. How do you pronouce those then? Laughing

Posted by: Preseli Mags on 27th Mar 2009 at 10:58AM

Re:
Inthemud's Avatar In Norfolk we have a place called Happisburgh- it's falling into the sea!- pronounced Hazebrgh!

Posted by: Inthemud on 27th Mar 2009 at 10:58AM

Re:
Ivy's Avatar Why can't you either write the towns like they are spoken or speak them as they are written? (ok with Eglwyswrw and Mynachlogddu the last option is ruled outShocked )

Posted by: Ivy on 27th Mar 2009 at 11:01AM

Re:
Withy Brook's Avatar Home - Hume
Straughan - Strawn
Barkes - Barkes not Barks or Barkess
Vaughan - Vorn
FFrwdgrech - Froodrech (Can't spell the ch phonetically!)

Posted by: Withy Brook on 27th Mar 2009 at 11:08AM

Re:
Preseli Mags's Avatar I think it's some kind of code which excludes incomers. So that when you drive innocently into an area and say: "Excuse me, but could you possibly direct me to Happisburgh?" The local chewing of a stalk of straw can happily say: "Happisburgh? Nah, never heard of it." And then watch you get lost.
As for Welsh, it's phonetic and is always pronouced exactly as it is written. Except when Welsh names get anglicised (e.g Hwllfordd becomes Haverfordwest which is then pronounced Harfat).

Posted by: Preseli Mags on 27th Mar 2009 at 11:10AM

Re:
Faith's Avatar Jacko. I thought it was

Sian - pronounced Sharn
Siobhan - pronounced Sh'vorn

Posted by: Faith on 27th Mar 2009 at 11:15AM

Re:
Jackofall's Avatar And of course there's Leicester - Lester, and Leicestershire, Lestershuh (though I noticed CH wrote Woostershear - that may depend on accent, of course, but it's definitely not 'shire', as many Americans have it at the end, though shire on its own is pronounced like that).

Posted by: Jackofall on 27th Mar 2009 at 11:15AM

Re:
Jackofall's Avatar You're right, Faith.

Posted by: Jackofall on 27th Mar 2009 at 11:17AM

Re:
Elizabethd's Avatar And Mousehole = Mouzzle

Posted by: Elizabethd on 27th Mar 2009 at 11:25AM

Re:
Siobhan is pronounced Sh'vorn, and an Irish name. Sian is pronounced Sharn, and is Welsh.

Posted by: Zoe on 27th Mar 2009 at 11:26AM

Re:
Leominster ,Lemster, Winwick, Winick, Dunloaghahaire [c'mon cait] dunleary.

Posted by: Bodran on 27th Mar 2009 at 11:31AM

Re:
Fennie's Avatar And Berks, of course, - Barks and Derby - Darby. Frome - Frume,

Posted by: Fennie on 27th Mar 2009 at 12:01PM

Re:
Frances's Avatar This is fabulous stuff! I did know many of these names ... and how to say them, but not all of them. I may have to keep a printout of this lesson.

Many thanks to all who are contributing to my education. xo

Posted by: Frances on 27th Mar 2009 at 12:10PM

Re:
Inthemud's Avatar Towcester is pronounced Toaster..........so many to confuse.

PM, you're right about Happisburgh,locals love to confuse visitors and get them lost! We just direct them out to sea, that's where the old village lies!!

Posted by: Inthemud on 27th Mar 2009 at 12:33PM

Re:
Tiggywinkle's Avatar Smashing post Jacko. Got stumped many times when I worked travelling around England. The first one was on the tube to Holborn - Hoburn. I can never even attempt Welsh names, always get them wrong. Roisin is more Row sheen. Many of the Irish names were originally Irish names that became anglisized ie Dun-Laoghaire - the nearest English pronounciation was Dunleary which is as it is pronounced to-day. Howth is a difficult one pronounced Ho th. We have a few strange named suburbs as well - Ballsbridge, Stillorgan. How about Beaulieu - Bewley, Berkley - Barkley. Now look at what you started. I'll be thinking of them all day!Uploaded Image

Posted by: Tiggywinkle on 27th Mar 2009 at 12:39PM

Re:
KittyB's Avatar Gotham near Nottingham is goat-um, not pronounced as in the Batman version! I was most disappointed.
Masham is mass-um
Chop Gate (a N Yorks Moors village) is to some chop-yat and to others chop gate. Those who say chop gate deny that anyone pronounces is chop-yat, but undoubtedly some people do.
Harewood is harwood, Hervey is harvey, very confusing.

Posted by: KittyB on 27th Mar 2009 at 01:29PM

Re:
Milla's Avatar the trouble is when you go down the biss take route of all this as, strangely, we do, you can get stuck. So we now call Sean Bean (not to his face, natch) seen bane as there was some oirishness packed into his pronunciation which we could never remember, or perhaps it was because it looked as if it should be either shorn born or seen been to match the identical spelling so we changed it into something it shouldn't be.
And Cheltenham is Cheltnum.

Posted by: Milla on 27th Mar 2009 at 01:38PM

Re:
Preseli Mags's Avatar In this household we say Seen Been. On the same subject why is restaurant prounounced resterawnt and room is rum?

Posted by: Preseli Mags on 27th Mar 2009 at 01:44PM

Re:
Milla's Avatar room is never rum. it's roooom. LaughingLaughing Particularly for me as I had a v annoying friend when young who used to call her bedroom (bedd roooom please) her bairdrum. How she got through her childhood unstrangled I'll never know. I'm clearly very patient.
because I gabble, I probably say restront with a vaguely silent final t, not so much that my nasal passages vibrate but.

Posted by: Milla on 27th Mar 2009 at 01:58PM

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Preseli Mags's Avatar I have a very annoying mother who always says rum. I always say roooooooom just to be contrary and restaurANT too. But then I is dead common really. I hate pretentious pronunciation which excludes.

Posted by: Preseli Mags on 27th Mar 2009 at 02:14PM

Re:
Pondside's Avatar C'mon Seashell and Black Bird - let's stump then with some of our placenames.
Snohomish - snow-home-ish
Tswassen -Suh-wassen
Tsehcum -Say-come
Metchosin - Meh-chosen
Susquehanna -Sus-kwa-hanna
Antigonish - Anti-gone-ish
Louisbourg - Loos-berg
Skagit - Ska-jit
Sequim - skwim
Cowiche - coe-witchy
Issaquah - issa-kwa

Posted by: Pondside on 27th Mar 2009 at 02:32PM

Re:
Blink................

Posted by: Seashell Cosmos on 27th Mar 2009 at 02:32PM

Re:
oh good on you Pond!
eh, how about the famous Geoduck -gooey duck.

Posted by: Seashell Cosmos on 27th Mar 2009 at 02:36PM

Re:
Fennie's Avatar Yes, we say Can adder, but Gran arder - why?

And Toronto, I am told, is Tronna - though I wouldn't dare.

When I came to Wales I had to go and look at a house, quite near here, in a village splelt Trehyngyll. It is pronounced Tringeth

Our house name is Llanquian - which foxes many people, though its actually quite simple to pronounce: Hlan-kwee-anne

Posted by: Fennie on 27th Mar 2009 at 03:04PM

Re:
Pondside's Avatar How about
KW╠KW╚XWELHP Kwee-kwee-kwilp

That's the place I go to every two months - I call it 'up the scary mountain'
Fennie, you can say Tronna and no one will bat an eye.

Posted by: Pondside on 27th Mar 2009 at 03:09PM

Re:
Muddyboots's Avatar stroud as in loud,
east yorkshire villages
atwick = at-ick
catwick = cat-ick
yorkshire town
slaithwaite = sl-ow[as in ow that hurt] -it
east yorks dialect
wather = water
meg = muck
reet = right
hetch = car boot

Posted by: Muddyboots on 27th Mar 2009 at 03:13PM

Re:
Muddyboots's Avatar oh forgot

'ull = hull

Posted by: Muddyboots on 27th Mar 2009 at 03:14PM

Re:
Anyone here from Reding, or is it Reeding (Reading)

And where do you begin with Roch? And remember, there is a motel there, called the Roch Motel. Americans always find this amusing, for the 'roaches check in, but they never check out'.

Then there are the names like Bowie and Rowling. Just how is one supposed to pronounce the 'o' sound there? Some people pronounce both as Bawie and Rawling.

And I once lived in Keflavik, which with Icelandic pronounciation is Keplawik. Do I have to explain the place name Crafla to anyone? Twisted Evil

And what happens when you put the em-pha-sis on the wrong sy-la-ble? Rolling Eyes

Posted by: Celtic Heart on 27th Mar 2009 at 03:47PM

Re:
Reading is Reding, 12 miles from me

Posted by: Zoe on 27th Mar 2009 at 04:03PM

Re:
Inthemud's Avatar I know 2 places called Leigh
1 is pronounced Lie
1 is pronounced Lee

Posted by: Inthemud on 27th Mar 2009 at 04:41PM

Re:
Beibhinn - BAY VEN - The name of one of my sheep, and a friends daughter.

Oisin - O SHEEN

Blathain - BLAH HEEN

Hey this a popular post wasn't it?

Posted by: Sueatkilmeedy on 27th Mar 2009 at 09:30PM

Re:
Frances's Avatar Can this post be continued for another day or two or three?

I feel much is being de-mystified, for this New Yorker.

xo

Posted by: Frances on 28th Mar 2009 at 12:26AM

Re:
Puffin's Avatar Wow-- What a lesson--Rolling Eyes
Only one-I question and I have lived there.
Is Toronto--I never heard it pronounced 'Tronna'??
Sounds French or is it Indian ??

Posted by: Puffin on 28th Mar 2009 at 12:58AM

Re
Camilla's Avatar Barkley - Berkeley
Wyndham - Wymondham

Posted by: Camilla on 28th Mar 2009 at 01:48AM

Re:
Westerwitch's Avatar Perhaps we should move this to the Forum - so that it doesn't vanish too quickly.

Posted by: Westerwitch on 28th Mar 2009 at 09:11AM

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