Trivia: Place names that you're not sure how to pronounce

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DunsBus

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Has Stow, on the Borders Railway, been mentioned yet? I remember ScotRail falling down massively on the pronounication of this one when the railway opened, as it was incorrectly pronounced as "Stoh" on the automated on-board announcements until it was corrected - it should be pronounced to rhyme with "cow".
 

AndrewE

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Has Stow, on the Borders Railway, been mentioned yet? I remember ScotRail falling down massively on the pronounication of this one when the railway opened, as it was incorrectly pronounced as "Stoh" on the automated on-board announcements until it was corrected - it should be pronounced to rhyme with "cow".
Isn't that "Cooh" in Scotland? Perhaps bough (of a tree) would be a better comparison
 

61653 HTAFC

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It's in the news for the wrong reasons, but a friend of mine just referred to Streatham in London as "Streeth-'am"... and he's a Southerner by birth. I was always under the impression that it was pronounced "Strett-'am".
 

hexagon789

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It's in the news for the wrong reasons, but a friend of mine just referred to Streatham in London as "Streeth-'am"... and he's a Southerner by birth. I was always under the impression that it was pronounced "Strett-'am".
Definitely Strett-am.

I am reminded of the line from The Chaos:

"Thompson, Chatham, Waltham, Streatham,
There are more but I forget 'em-"
 

bearhugger

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It's in the news for the wrong reasons, but a friend of mine just referred to Streatham in London as "Streeth-'am"... and he's a Southerner by birth. I was always under the impression that it was pronounced "Strett-'am".
If I remeber the episode in Only Fools And Horses correctly, uncle Albert calls Streatham 'Saint Reathams' and it takes Del a few seconds to work out where he means.
 

urbophile

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'Th' in the middle of words can be confusing. I know Eltham in SE London is Elt-am, but it's definitely Wal-tham-stow, isn't it? Any more similar examples?
 

MarkWiles

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If I remeber the episode in Only Fools And Horses correctly, uncle Albert calls Streatham 'Saint Reathams' and it takes Del a few seconds to work out where he means.
I must admit to referring to a certain airport in Essex as Saint Ansted.

Reference the pronunciation of Morfa Mawddach, having lived in Fairbourne for 14 years and having learned Welsh, I must admit I physically cringe at some of the attempts to pronounce local place names on TV. I can forgive visitors pronouncing places in the way they do, but when you get actors like Bill Nighy doing a voice over for a TV programme mangling the Welsh pronunciation, I have to say it's inexcusable for a production team not to find out how to say it. I'm sure Huw Edwards at the Beeb would be only too happy to help.

I suppose it's a bit of a curse as a Welsh learner to notice these things more than local "mamiaith" Welsh speakers.
 

DavidGrain

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If there is a -tham at the end of a place name I would always pronounce the 't' and the 'h' separately as I would assume that the -ham signified a village or settlement in Anglo Saxon times. However if it is not at the end of a place name as in Northampton, I would pronounce the 'th' as a single sound. OK I realise that there may be exceptions.
 

duncanp

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I moved to the West Midlands a while ago, and live just on the border of Smethwick and Edgbaston.

To a local, Smethwick is pronounced Smethick, with the emphasis on the first syllable, the W silent and a hard "th" as in then or there

But in dealing with people over the phone, I have heard it pronounced Smeth - wick, with the W pronounced fully, and a soft "th" as in theory or Thanet.

But like when we in the UK call the capital of Belgium Brussels, whereas to a local it is either Brussel or Bruxelles.
 

PeterC

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If there is a -tham at the end of a place name I would always pronounce the 't' and the 'h' separately as I would assume that the -ham signified a village or settlement in Anglo Saxon times. However if it is not at the end of a place name as in Northampton, I would pronounce the 'th' as a single sound. OK I realise that there may be exceptions.
Same here but there are examples where a large number of incomers have changed the pronunciation.

Chesham is a good example (in 35 pages I may have posted that already), with expansion it is generally Chesh-'m now but used to be Chess-'m. I blame electrification of the Met Line.

I am told, but wouldn't vouch for it that there was a similar pronunciation shift in Walthamstow when the area was developed in the nineteenth century.

Witham in Essex is Wit-am but the river in Lincolnshire is With-am.

I remember an announcer at Romford in the 60s who couldn't manage Prittlewell and always announced that Southend trains called at Pretty-well
 

duffield

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I moved to the West Midlands a while ago, and live just on the border of Smethwick and Edgbaston.

To a local, Smethwick is pronounced Smethick, with the emphasis on the first syllable, the W silent and a hard "th" as in then or there

But in dealing with people over the phone, I have heard it pronounced Smeth - wick, with the W pronounced fully, and a soft "th" as in theory or Thanet.

But like when we in the UK call the capital of Belgium Brussels, whereas to a local it is either Brussel or Bruxelles.
I was raised in Berkshire and from then lived in the East Midlands for 35 years and it always seemed obvious that the W was silent. But that might be because the first time I heard it pronounced was by a Birmingham area guard. :E
 

thejuggler

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Despite what the new Northern 331 auto announcements may believe, Frizinghall (fry-zing-hall) has never and never will be Frizzinghall (Frizz-ing-hall).
 

Marvin

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The pronunciation of Alvechurch on automated announcements irritates me. They always say Al-ver-church, but it should be Alf-church.
 

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