Pronunciation Of a Name

Annabelle Morison   Saturday, April 16, 2005, 06:23 GMT
One of the most interesting place names that comes to my mind when it comes to confusion of pronunciation is that of the Thames River in London, England. How do you pronounce the name Thames? In some ways, I've heard it pronounced as "Tems", and from others I've heard it Pronounced as "Tames". Which one is the correct pronunciation? Is it "Tems", or is it "Tames"? Or can it be pronounced either way?
Julian   Saturday, April 16, 2005, 06:33 GMT
I've always heard it pronounced /temz/.
Brennus   Saturday, April 16, 2005, 06:33 GMT
I would say that both pronunciations are correct.

Called Tamesis in Roman times, the name is pre-English and probably even pre-Celtic, left behind by the Picts (sometimes also called "The Beaker People" and "The Beaker Folk"). Beaker artifacts have been found all over most of Western Europe from Switzerland to southern Spain and from Corsica to northern Scotland. The Etruscans were probably closely related to this group too.
Damian   Saturday, April 16, 2005, 06:49 GMT
It's /TEMZ/ Plain and simple no other way to pronounce it.

Richmond upon Thames is a really cool place....I recommend it.
Brennus   Saturday, April 16, 2005, 07:21 GMT
Websters Dictionary lists "tems, thaymz and taymz" as all being correct pronunciations for the Thames River in Connecticut; it acknowledges that "tems" is the pronunciation for the Thames River in England.

However, even there, I doubt that everyone pronounces it the same. For example, PBS had a show on Halley's Comet and Sir Edmund Halley a few years back and even in his hometown there was disagreement on how his last name was pronounced: hah-lee vs hæl-lee vs hei-lee etc.
Jim   Saturday, April 16, 2005, 07:29 GMT
I hadn't been aware of anything other to /temz/.
JJM   Saturday, April 16, 2005, 07:56 GMT
And let's not forget the town of "Thame" in England.
Deborah   Saturday, April 16, 2005, 08:19 GMT
And let's not forget to tell how it's pronounced.
Algy   Saturday, April 16, 2005, 08:46 GMT
>I would say that both pronunciations are correct.

Not so, Brennus, old chap, but do give us your thoughts about the Tiber.
Frances   Saturday, April 16, 2005, 12:03 GMT
Its like a place in Perth, Australia - Fremantle, some say "Fre-mantle" other say "Free-mantle". Both are correct.

Also Cambridge - I say "Caym-bridge" but I suppose "Cam-bridge" is just as acceptable.
Damian   Saturday, April 16, 2005, 12:51 GMT
THAME is a small town not far from Oxford, England, and it's pronounced exactly as the word "tame".
Joanne   Saturday, April 16, 2005, 14:23 GMT
I've heard the Thames pronounced both ways by the natives. The comedian Steve Frost, for example, says "Tames." But I would have to say most pronounce it "temz."
Damian   Saturday, April 16, 2005, 16:33 GMT
Speaking personally, I've never, ever heard "Thames" pronounced anything other than ['Temz] ... by any speaker, even foreigners, who obviously knew how it should be voiced.

As to Cambridge...ALWAYS "Caym-bridge" without fail, whatever the accent of the speaker.

The UK is bursting with placenames that are not pronounced anything like you would think from the spelling...including places up here in Scotland.

On the coast west of Glasgow is a really cool wee village called Wemyss. If you want directions always ask for "Weems". Go a wee bit further down the coast beyond Ayr, you may want to go to Culzean Castle. Make sure you say "Cull-ane". In East Scotland one of the famous Royal Castles is at Glamis. Again, be sure to ask for "Gl-ahms". In Galloway the town of Moniave is known as "Mo'n-ee-eye".

In England...plenty of examples:

Leicester : Lester
Gloucester : Gloster
Worcester : Wooster
Leominster : Lemster
Bicester : Bister
Mousehole : M-ow-zl (the OW to rhyme with cow or how)
Liskeard : Lisk-ard
Launceston : Lawn-stun
Horsmonden : Horms-dun
Wrotham : Root-um
Happisburgh : Haze-bruh
Trottiscliffe : Tross-lee
Burscough : Burs-cuh
Maghull : Mah-gull
Wymondham : Win-dum

The lost is endless.....but just shows you need to know how to pronounce the place names if you want help from locals with directions, but as everywhere is adquately signposted you can still get to where you want even if you make a pig's ear out of the pronunciation.

In don't stand a cat in hell's chance.....just pray for fine weather and a favourable wind and divine help from the Almighty.
Damian   Saturday, April 16, 2005, 16:35 GMT
Oops another typo...."the LIST is endless"...especially for the lost. :-)
Joanne   Saturday, April 16, 2005, 16:42 GMT
Damian, before I forget to ask again, how do you pronounce "Marylebone"?