Those Baffling British Names

Julian   Friday, August 01, 2003, 22:06 GMT
I get a kick out of British names, surnames, and place names that don’t seem to follow any logic in their pronunciations. For instance:

Althorp – pronounced 'Awltrup'
Belvoir – pronounced 'Beever'
Cholmondely – 'Chumli'
Featherstonehaugh – 'Fanshaw'
Leicester – 'Lester'
Leominster – 'Lemster'
Leveson-Gower – 'Loosen-Gaw'
Magdalen – 'Maudlin'
Mainwaring – 'Mannering'
Marjoribanks – 'Marchbanks'
Ralph – 'Rafe'
Ranulph – 'Ralph'
St. John – 'Sin Jin'
Towcester – 'Toaster' (actually, this I can understand)
Woolfardisworthy – 'Woolseri'
Wriothesley – 'Roxli'

I’m sure there's a logical explanation to these pronunciations. It just seems like such a waste of letters, though.
Clark   Friday, August 01, 2003, 22:33 GMT
There is one in Scotland that is pronounced "menzeez" but spelled totally different.
Julian   Saturday, August 02, 2003, 18:24 GMT
Clark, I believe the name you're talking about is Menzies, which in some parts of Scotland (particularly in Edinburgh) is pronounced "Mingus". Hence this popular limerick:

A lively young damsel named Menzies
Inquired, "Do you know what this thenzies?"
Her aunt, with a gasp,
Replied, "It's a wasp,
And you're holding the end where the stenzies."

Although in Aberdeen, this limerick wouldn't make any sense, since the folks there pronounce it the way it's spelled.
Ashley   Saturday, August 02, 2003, 21:21 GMT
Well that clears up one thing for me!
I listen to this composers music a lot. Ralph Vaughan Williams.
I heard someone on a radio station mention his name and they pronounced it as Rafe Vaughan WIlliams. Now I get it. Thanks.
Meh, the names and pronounciation are pretty cool.
dongordo   Saturday, August 02, 2003, 22:31 GMT
We shouldn't forget Worcestershire, apparently pronounced Worcestershire, Woostersher or Wooster.
:::::HI:::::   Saturday, August 02, 2003, 23:44 GMT
My sis went to a Girl Scout camp called Camp Menzies, but it's in California. (close to S. Lake Tahoe)
Julian   Sunday, August 03, 2003, 02:04 GMT
Ashley -- Don't forget the actor Ralph Fiennes ("It's RAFE FINES!"), cousin of famed explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes ("Call me 'Ran', not 'Ralph'").

dongordo -- the city of Worcester ("Wooster") is in the county of Worcestershire ("Woostershur" or "Woostersheer"), birthplace of the sauce that nobody can pronounce at the dinner table -- "Honey, hand me the Wor-kes-ter-shy-er sauce, please." There's also a city of Worcester in Massachussetts that Bostonians call "Wista".

Other British place names commonly mispronounced:

Reading - "Redding"
Warwick - "Worrick"
Derwent - "Darrunt"
Derby - "Darby"
Berkeley - "Barkly"
Gloucester - "Gloster"
Berkshire - "Barksheer"
Beaulieu - "Bewly"

And other strange surnames: Dalziel - "Dee-el" and Pepys - "Peeps"
Julian   Sunday, August 03, 2003, 02:13 GMT
to :::::HI:::::

My sister used to go to Camp Menzies. As she grew older, she and her friends would refer to it as Camp Menses (heheh).
:::::HI:::::   Sunday, August 03, 2003, 09:37 GMT
hehe... right...
dongordo   Sunday, August 03, 2003, 14:40 GMT
Julian - thanks for the clarification. I particularly like 'Wista'. The next opportunity at dinner I'll try "pass the wista sauce please" and check the reactions.
Simon   Monday, August 04, 2003, 07:40 GMT
Gaelic is like this too. Think how Baile Atha Cliath is pronounced... Blahclear?
tsis   Tuesday, August 12, 2003, 15:09 GMT
its pronounced WOOSTER not WISTER. Just as Gloucester is pronounced Gloster. Don't blame the english, blame the romans, and every other fucker that occupied the country in the dark ages
Julian   Tuesday, August 12, 2003, 15:54 GMT
We were talking about the *Bostonian* way of pronouncing Worcester. And we already mention Gloucester. Go back and read the posts CAREFULLY. And nobody's blaming anybody, we were just pointing out interesting name pronunciations. Relax.
Simon   Tuesday, August 12, 2003, 15:58 GMT
The correct pronunciation of Pepys is indeed Peeps. However, when I lived near Pepys Road in London, many local people pronounced it Peppis or Peppy's. They were of course all thick and asking to be shot but that's beside the point - they still did it.
welly   Tuesday, August 12, 2003, 21:52 GMT
Hey guys just happen to come across this thread. Could any if you help with finding out the origin of the name 'Welbeck'? Obviously not one of the tongue-twister-twitchers but still of immense importance to me.

'Rhelp' (scooby-doo's pronunciaton of 'help')