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Pronunciation (Anti-Antimoon) Part 2

There is one in Scotland that is pronounced "menzeez" but spelled totally different.

 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.

The second guy is right.

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.

Yes, his name is pronounced ‘Rhayhf’, but it isn’t always (Ralph Fiennes example) and, like Ralph Fiennes, I’m more interested in his surname. Vaughan Williams (not all double-barreled surnames are hyphenated) being pronounced ‘Vhor-hn Whill-eeh-ahm[s]’.

We shouldn't forget Worcestershire, apparently pronounced Worcestershire, Woostersher or Wooster.

Worcestershire‘ is pronounced ‘Whust-uhr-shuh’, ‘Whust-uhr-shah’ or ‘Whust-uhr-shiyh-ehr’. In ‘Shrek the Third‘, Donkey pronounces it ‘Whuhr-sehst-uhr-zhuhr-shiyh-rhih’ (Click Here to listen) and Shrek corrects him. For the third supposed pronunciation suggestion this person has made, pronouncing it ‘Whust-uhr’ is when you are talking about the County City – Yorkshire’s is York, Aberdeenshire’s is Aberdeen, Nottinghamshire’s is Nottingham, Buckinghamshire’s is Buckingham, Lancashire’s is Lancaster but they’re just weird; Worcestershire’s is, surprisingly, Worcester (‘Whust-uhr’).

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"

Yep. Reading is easy enough, take the word ‘read’ (as in ‘I have just read that book’) out of ‘reading’ (I am reading this book) and when an illiterate comes along, they mess it up. Warwick (as in ‘Warwick Avenue’) is pronounced ‘Whohr(War!)-rhick’, Derwent (last time I checked) is pronounced as it’s spelt, Derby is pronounced ‘Dhahr-bhee’ but I know someone whose surname is Derby pronounced ‘Dhuhr-bhee'(as it’s spelt) and goes by the logic that if Darby is pronounced ‘Dhahr-bhee’, Derby shouldn’t be. Berkeley, like Berkshire, is ‘Bhahrck-lhee’ or ‘Bhahrck-eh-lhee’. Beaulieu’s French, and should be pronounced in English as either ‘Bohw-lhee’ or ‘Bh-hew-lhow’, ‘Bh-hew-lhih-yhew’ but is instead ‘Bh-hew-lhee’ – which makes more sense to us Brits. Pepys, as in Samuel Pepys, is ‘Peee-hpz’ but otherwise isn’t a term and can be pronounced however; ‘Pehp-ihs’ (peppys) is one way. Dalziel as ‘Dhee-ehl’? The TV Crime Drama, ‘Dalziel and Pascoe‘, I’m sure has it as ‘Dhalt-zheeh-hal’ and ‘Dhalt-zhahl’.

Gaelic is like this too. Think how Baile Atha Cliath is pronounced... Blahclear?

Yep, but you need to hack when you say it – again, a bit like the German ‘acht‘ which is pronounced ‘ahkt’ (act) with a short English ‘a’ sound yet sounds like a growl. In Irish, it’s a bit of a rougher growl than the German dialect in which the clip was recorded. Baile Átha Cliath (Dublin) is in English pronounced… Dublin. Unless you’re going for the English-Irish-not-Gaelic in which it is ‘Bhlahck-lhee-ah’ or ‘Bhlah-khlhee-ah’.

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.

No, the surname of Samuel Pepys is pronounced that way. I expect that maybe the street was named after him and, because it’s described as a road, ‘Pepys Road’ will lead to a place called ‘Pepys’. This may/not be pronounced like the diary-man’s surname but will be pronounced just like the place to which it goes. As I said before, when not referencing his name you can pronounce it however (see above). There is, of course, some controversy.

  • Source 1 = Correspondence in “The (London) Times” of 11 and 13 September 1963, during which Mr D. Pepys Whiteley, the Custodian of the Pepys Library, Magdalene College, Cambridge, UK, presented the following poem:

Oh, Samuel who on some folks’ lips
Art designated Samuel Pips,
While others follow in the steps
Of those who call you Samuel Peps,
At Cottenham the proper step is
To sound the ‘Y’ and call you Pep-is.
At such ignorance all Magdalene weeps,
Well knowing you are Samuel Peeps.

  • Source 2 = Footnote to the “Everyman’s” edition of Samuel Pepys’ Diary:

A friend and contemporary of Pepys, James Carcasse, published a poem
in 1679 which seems to strongly suggest the correct pronounciation was
“Pips”, to wit:

“Him must I praise who opened hath my lips,
Sent me from the Navy to the Ark by Pepys…”

  • Source 3 =  Dr. R.C. Anderson Note, the “Mariner’s Mirror”, Vol 50, #3, (May 1964), p. 135: 

Anderson edited the journals of a contemporary of Pepys named Allin. In these writings, Allin indicated that he had dined with and visited the Great Diarist on several occasions, and Anderson notes that he (Allin) had always written the name as “Peppis”. Anderson concludes his note by suggesting that: “it seems almost impossible that Allin could fail to know how his host pronounced his name.”

  • Source 4 = COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY AGAINST THE COMMENTER; Mr Dudley Pope (a rather prolific writer on British naval matters in the post-war period) supports the ‘Peh-pihs’ pronunciation based upon the following rationale:

“..today, almost 300 years later, many people living in the New Cross area of London still refer to Pepys Road, (London SE14, opposite the junction of New Cross Rd and Queen’s Rd), as “Peppis” Rd. I discovered this when being given directions how to find a road nearby, and I mentioned “Peep’s” Rd. This produced no reaction from my informant, who then referred to “Peppis” Rd. It transpired that he lived within 500 yards of Pepys Rd for more than 35 years, and said he had never heard it pronounced other than ‘Peppis’…”

  • Source 5 = British Pronouncing Dictionary

“Pepys: f.n.; pepiss; peeps; pepps.
The first is appropriate for the family name of the Earl of Cottenham. The second was apparently that of the diarist Samuel Pepys, and this is the pronunciation used today by the Pepys Cockerell family, lineal descendants of the diarist’s sister Paulina.”

  • Source 6 = Britannica Encyclopedia 1997

“Samuel Pepys, (pronounced ‘Pepys’)…..”

theres a place in dundee called menzieshill but it is pronounced "meenishill"

That there is and yes, it is. It just is. Scottish for ‘Menzies‘ is ‘Mihn-guhss’, which somehow became ‘Meehn-ihss’, and so ‘Menzieshill‘ became ‘Meehn-ihss-hill’




  1. Pingback: Let’s get the pronunciation thing out of the way, shall we? « This one I am - 10-04-2012

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