Posted By: Bobyoungbalt Names - 09/04/03 02:08 AM
I don't recall that we have ever turned our attention to names which are pronounced in a strange fashion, or not as one would expect them to be from how they are written. (Of course, I could be wrong and we have been into this, given that I disappear from time to time and miss a good bit, especially since posts multiply faster than rabbits when you're not watching them, and I tend to whiffle thru them pretty fast when I have to catch up).

I suppose we have all heard of Cholmondely, pronounced Chumly; and Beauchamp, pronounced Beecham; and Grosvenor (Grove-ner). Surely we all have some to contribute. Here in Crabtown, we have two street names which always throw the furriners. Aliceanna Street is pronounced by the natives as Alice Ann (Street). Bentalou St. is Bent-low.

How about y'all? What gems lurk out there?

Posted By: Jackie Re: Names - 09/04/03 02:16 AM
This is embarrassing, but my own name has always confounded me a bit. (!) My parents spelled it Jacqulyn--no e after the u, like 99% of the other Jacque-lyns, -lines have. They pronounced it Jac-kwuh-lin, but it has always looked to me as though it ought to be Jackalyn.

Posted By: Buffalo Shrdlu Re: Names - 09/04/03 09:37 AM
another oldie, but

soory, no time to get out the IPA...

Posted By: consuelo Re: Names - 09/04/03 09:55 AM
Kalamazoo has a street that always throws off the newcomers and it's the main drag north/south. Westnedge is pronounced Westnidge.

Posted By: Faldage Re: Names - 09/04/03 11:12 AM
One local favorite is Skaneateles. It got its fifteen minutes when the Clintons took a presidential vacation there. The NPR reporter, interviewing the mayor, asked how it was pronounced. The mayor responded with a carefully enunciated Skayn ee atlas and then, in normal speech later on, pronounced it the way it is really pronounced, Skinny Atlas.

Posted By: WhitmanO'Neill Re: Names - 09/04/03 11:23 AM
There's a town in New Jersey next to Plainfield where I grew up (Union County, Central Jersey) that has become legendary for mispronunciation, I've even seen jokes about it at the national level. Piscataway. It's an old Amerindian (Delaware) name...(pis-CAT-away). So why's that so difficult? I always loved saying it, has a nice rhythm and flow, simply mellifluous IMO. Then, of course, there were the intentional miscues like "piss-the-cat-away", and other variations.

Posted By: Bean Re: Names - 09/04/03 02:38 PM
I think this is technically a YART but I think things beyond a certain age shouldn't count as YARTs - no one can remember them and besides, there are usually enough new people who haven't discussed the subject!

My Newfoundland favourites are:

Baie D'Espoir: pronounced "Bay despair" (opposite of the true meaning, which is "Bay of Hope")
Pouch Cove: pronounced "Pooch Cove", like a small dog!
Quidi Vidi: we say "kiddie viddie" which is the usual pronunciation, although you do hear "Kw-eye-duh Veye-duh" from some folks
Argentia: it's "Ar-JEN-cha" and foreigners often try to pronounce the last syllable "tee-uh" instead.
LeMarchant Road: Newcomers often try to pronounce this with a French accent - pointless! Throw your French accents out the window when reading Newfoundland names! It's Luh-MAR-chent.
Others which people try to Frenchify (an easy mistake to make from the spellings) are Port-Aux-Basques and Baie Verte.

Posted By: nancyk Re: Names - 09/04/03 10:50 PM
Some Detroit-area street names that often throw non-natives:
Gratiot - pronounced GRA-shit, not GRA-ti-ot
Livernois - LI-ver-noy, not LI-ver-noiz
Goethe - GO-thi (sorry, German-speakers)
Schoenerr - SHAY-ner
And of course di-TROYT, not DEE-troyt or day-TWAH

I'm sure there are others, but they don't come to mind right now.

Posted By: Zed Re: Names - 09/04/03 11:03 PM
I know this was on the Boston thread a while back but when we asked for directions of foreign student he had no idea where Massetchusets Avenue was but he did know Mass-av Street.
I shouldn't laugh, I grew up thinking that there were two similar girls names: Penelopy and Penelope (to rhyme with cantalope)

Posted By: Bobyoungbalt Re: Names - 09/05/03 01:09 AM
Nancy, your post reminded me of Legare Street in Charleston (SC), pronounced Legree (as in Simon).

Posted By: dodyskin Re: Names - 09/05/03 07:00 PM
Blackley, pronounced Blay'lih
Bacup, pronounced bay'cup
Whalley Range, pronounced wolly rainj, as opposed to the beginning of Whalley, pronounced waily
London, pronounced either landan ( south) or lundun (north)
Mousehole, pronounced mowzull
Gloucester, pronounced glostuh
Llangollen, I spose that doesn't really count seeing as it is a different language.
Beswick, pronounced bezzik
Durham, pronounced durrem
Shrewsbury, pronounced shrozeb'ree ( there is some debate about this though)
Happisburg, pronounced hazeburra
Derby, darbee
Leicester, lestuh ( cester is is just stuh almost always)
Salisbury, sorlsbree
Greenwich, grennich ( and a thousand others, basically, one never prounces the w, although there are exceptions)
Scone, scoon
Wymondham, win dum
Yarmouth, pronounced yarmuth ( any mouth endings are usually uth, and ton endings usually tun, er is usually ar- Berkshire=Barkshuh, and that's another thing, shire is never shire but shuh **edit, or sheer in Yorkshire**unless it is at the beginning of the name ,bury is usually berry or bree apart from Bury which is Burry to everyone from around Bury and Berry to those from the place)
Wapping, pronounced woppin ( there again you see, if the first vowel is an a then it is often prounced as an o)
Wilbraham pronounced willbrum ( nearly all names have dropped the a-ham business as most of them have dropped or merged en le, except of course Chapel-en-le-Frith)
Have you noticed that all these pronounciations are pretty much what you get if you say the name quickly a few times. I think in England at least it is more unusual to find places that sound exactly as they are spelt. I thought of a few ( a very few), listed below:
Chorlton-cum-Hardy ( well maybe the ton is more like tun)

Posted By: E.E.S Re: Names - 09/05/03 08:33 PM
I have heard Ballyvaughan (Ireland) pronounced both Bally-vuh-hon and Bally-von, but I'm not sure which is correct.

Posted By: of troy Re: Names - 09/05/03 10:55 PM
Greenpoint(brooklyn) NY-is gr*n purnt
green is sort of grin, but the vowel really just a schwa, purnt to rhyme with burnt
looking at burnt, i am unsure? is that a correct spelling/ or just how i say burned?...no am sure burnt is a word.. at least in my idolect!

Posted By: Zed Re: Names - 09/05/03 11:14 PM
He burned it so now it's burnt. (at least in my idiolect)

Posted By: Bingley Re: Names - 09/06/03 08:21 AM

Beaconsfield (Beckonsfield)
Wycombe (Wickum)
Reading (Redding)
Slough (rhymes with cow)

Posted By: belMarduk Re: Names / name refusals - 09/07/03 02:31 PM
This brings up another name related thing...

Here there is a major road called René Levesque that is called Dorcester by English people over 30.

A town named Lac Moreau by the government and Lac St Paul by it's inhabitants and anyone knowing the place.

And an autoroute called "the 10" by everybody but actually named "Autoroute of the Eastern Cantons"

(oh and our Beaconsfield is actually pronounced Beacon's field :-) )

Posted By: of troy Re: Names / name refusals - 09/07/03 06:51 PM
Oh NY is like that too, locals always call the avenue --6th Avenue, (its been avenue of the americas of 30 odd years or more) and we take the 59th Street brigde (not The Queensboro bridge)

125th Street is still the main drag of harlem, no matter that its offical name is Martin Luther King Blvd.

and don't even get started on the subways! old timers like me know the BMT, the IRT and IND lines, and where they cross. These name are from the old privately owned companies that built and ran the lines-they officially went bankrupt, and those names officially went away before WWII!

They are finally beginning to disappear, and only old timers know and refer to them.
the newest NYer's and tourist do things like refer to the 'red line' (the west side irt line in manhattan is coded red on the newest maps) i might call the line the 1 (and 9) or the broadway local, but the 'red line'? where do they think they are?

Posted By: Bingley Re: Names / name refusals - 09/08/03 01:16 AM
In reply to:

(oh and our Beaconsfield is actually pronounced Beacon's field :-) )

So's ours by people who don't come from round there.


Posted By: of troy Re: Names / name refusals - 09/08/03 02:53 AM
and NY's (Long Island NY!) Hempstead Turnpike is
Hemp stead (hemp like the fiber, and stead as in 'good stead')

NYC's Houston Street is HOW ston, but that city in Texas is Hue sten.(YARTING, i know)

Posted By: JohnHawaii Re: Names - 09/08/03 03:27 AM
I recalled this classic from my stay in England:
"Featherstonehaux", pronounced "Fanshaw."
When I did a quick search to confirm the spelling, I found this web entry that says the word "fanshaw" is used to define words which are pronounced differently than spelled.


Posted By: Faldage Re: Featherstonehaux - 09/08/03 10:27 AM
a quick search to confirm the spelling

And did you confirm the spelling? How *is it spelt?

Posted By: JohnHawaii Re: Featherstonehaux - 09/08/03 10:18 PM
It appears, after googling, that it is actually spelled

Posted By: Kupatchka Re: Featherstonehaux - 09/18/03 10:30 PM
Natchitoches, LA is pronounced NAK-a-tush, as opposed to Nacogdoches, TX which is pronounced exactly as it is spelled.

Posted By: dodyskin Re: names - 09/19/03 07:19 AM
It's the strangest thing, an alley near-ish my parents house is called Parkside Passage on the sign, yet it is pronounced Dog S**t Alley

Posted By: Jackie Natchitoches - 09/19/03 11:42 AM
Nice to see you again, K. How did this place get its name, do you know? I don't recognize in it any language; in fact, to me it seems as though the Natch might come from one source and the toches part might be French. Aha! Creole? (Speaking of showing your dumb side to the world; hi, dody.)

Posted By: AnnaStrophic Re: names - 09/19/03 12:42 PM
Parkside Passage on the sign, yet it is pronounced Dog S**t Alley


Posted By: of troy Re: names - 09/19/03 01:44 PM
In northern Queens, there is a lovely little 2 way street, that for a few hundred feet, is only a single lane wide.(the road is about 1/4 of mile long; only the last 200 to 250 feet reduce to a single lane)
Officaly, it is Sand Hill Rd, but everyone calls it The Back Road.--another charming aspect of the road is the center point in the road is only a few feet about sea level, and frequently floods.

Posted By: Capfka Re: names - 09/21/03 06:07 AM
When I first came to Northamptonshire (usually called Northants), the local radio announcers kept talking about this town called "Toaster". Took me a while and a quick squiz at the map to realise they were talking about Towcester. Which led me to look into the pronounciation of -cester names. Turns out there's a simple rule: If the -cester is preceded by two syllables, the -cester is pronounced as spelled, as in Cirencester - sirensester. But if the -cester is preceded by only one syllable, it becomes "-ster", hence Leicester - lester, Bicester - bister, Gloucester - gloster, yadda, yadda.

Posted By: jmh Re: boroughs, burgs and burghs - 09/21/03 07:30 AM
I suppose that we should add Edinbura (Edinburgh) - not Edinburrow as furriners tend to call it.

Maybe there is a similar rule for boroughs - Scarbura (Scarborough), Middlsbura (Middlesborough).

Here's a discussion from another board:
I think the answer is, at least in New England, that town-name-givers didn’t have a lot of imagination and liked to stick with the tried and true methods of their ancestors in Europe. There are many exceptions in other areas such as those risqué names in Pennsylvania (e.g. Intercourse, Blue Balls, etc., which were not chosen by the conservative German immigrants but by earlier ruffians). Standard European town endings such as ‘borough,’ ‘burgh,’ ‘bury, ‘borough,’ ‘boro’, ‘town,’ etc. evolved from ancient times and some forms were favored by various groups and nationalities and the people who came to the New World in many cases saw no need to break with tradition.

To get a feeling for how these various town suffixes came about we need only consider the evolution of the ending (and word) ‘borough,’(as in Scarborough, Foxborough, Middleborough, Westborough). It started out in Old English as ‘burh’ and ‘burg’ and about the same time in Old High German as ‘burg’ (as in Gettysburg, Salzburg, Vicksburg, Hamburg) meaning ‘a fortress a citadel’ (in modern German ‘Burg’ means castle) and this carried over into Middle English for about 200 years with a huge number spelling variations [e.g. ‘borogh’ from which probably evolved the abbreviated form ‘boro’ (as in Malboro, Brattleboro, Goldsboro, Greensboro)]. The dative case of the Old English ‘burg’ resulted in the ending ‘bury’ (as in Canterbury, Danbury, Salisbury, Banbury). ‘Burgh’ (as in Edinburgh, Plattsburgh, Pittsburgh, Newburgh) is a Scots form with the derivative ‘burgher’ meaning the inhabitant of a borough). ‘Burg’ also appeared in Old Saxon and Dutch with about the same meaning. Later the sense became ‘a fortified town, and eventually just ‘town’ (as in Charlestown, Jamestown, Capetown, Yorktown, Provincetown).


Posted By: jmh Re: names pronounced strangely - 09/21/03 07:43 AM
The link above included reference to a few place names that I remember from reading Bill Bryson.

In Illinois:
Versailles pronounced Versalles
Cairo pronounced Care-oh rather than Kyrow

Posted By: of troy Re: names pronounced strangely - 09/21/03 11:12 AM
in Nothern NH there is
Milan -said my LAN, (not mill-an)
Berlin -said BURE lyn
(in both cases, two very clean sylabils, not a single one)

Posted By: JohnHawaii Re: names pronounced strangely - 09/21/03 10:31 PM
Shortly after I arrived in Hawaii, I went to City Hall to ask directions to the Department of Motor Vehicles. I was told it was on "Camphor" Highway. Odd Hawaiian name, I thought. Not odd if you're a local and you know that the DMV is on Kamehameha Four Highway (Kam IV), named after the old King himself.

Posted By: beanie Re: names pronounced strangely - 09/30/03 07:09 PM
In Virginia, the town of Buena Vista is pronounced (prepare to shudder) Byoona Vista. The town of Onego is pronounced ONE-GO. In NC, the village of Valle Crucis is pronounced Valley Crews.

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