Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The canonical London pronunciation guide admits fallibility

When I moved to London I was concerned that I would betray my new-arrival status by mispronouncing one of the many London place names that is pronounced in a non-intuitive manner.

Marylebone is one such place name.

I taught myself to pronounce it by listening to how it is pronounced on the Bakerloo line. It turns out that the announcer tried multiple different ways of saying it too. Arghh! What's the right pronunciation?!


Andrew Ferrier said...

I've always believed that it's Mar-lee-bone (I'm not about to look up what that is in the IrPA). But you've introduced an element of doubt into my mind now :)

Another fun one is Holborn. I think Cockneys technically pronounce it Hoe-bun. But if memory serves me correctly, the posher female announcer on the Central line pronounces it Hol-born.

Richard Brown said...

Yes... I thought it was Mar-lee-bone (or Mar-le-bone) but perhaps I'm wrong.

As for Holborn... the question then is... how do you pronounce it when you see it written somewhere else? There's a Holborn Road in Liverpool I think.

I guess Magdelene is another good one.... pronounce it one way when referring to a Cambridge college.... but which way do you pronounce it when reading at a nativity?

Andrew Ferrier said...

I'm afraid I don't know, but this Wikipedia page looks interesting:

(see 'London speech')

For example, Cockney features monophthongisation of /aʊ/ to [æː]. Betya didn't know that...

P.S. Why does blogger.com lowercase my name when I post comments here? I know how to capitalise, dammit. Oh yeah, and is 'lowercase' a verb?

Richard Brown said...

For example, Cockney features monophthongisation of /aʊ/ to [æː]. Betya didn't know that...

You can say that again (possibly...)

Calvin Brock said...

a very large historical dictionary of the English language, published by Oxford College Press. It is one of the most famous dictionaries in the world, well known meant for including many different meanings of phrases, and for giving genuine examples to show how each phrase was originally used and how its significance has changed through time. How to pronounce London place-names