Pronouncing English place names

Drifting again – I assume that at least 50% of this weblog should be off topic, or no-one will be interested (here’s a very successful entry, for example): languagehat had an entry on the pronunciation of the English surname Carew, which apparently is not pronounced karoo, but like Carey.
In this connection I would like to recommend the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary by J.C. Wells. Wells is a professor of phonetics at London University. He covers both British and U.S. pronunciation, and sometimes he gives the results of polls as to preferred usage.
Loitering in the comments to the languagehat entry, I found a site with some rather rude limericks and so on, requiring the correct pronunciation of some strange names. Some of these are familiar, some less so. I’d certainly seen this before:

There was a young fellow named Cholmondeley,
Whose bride was so mellow and colmondeley
That the best man, Colquhoun,
An inane young bolqufoun,
Could only stand still and stare dolmondeley.

For anyone disbelieving, may I add that the names really are pronounced in the way that makes the limerick make sense.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.