What’s in a Name?

How do you say that?

I have learnt from many of my German friends that English is not the most logical of languages – especially when it comes to the pronunciation of certain words. What I love about German is, generally, what you see is what you get.

Place Names

Have you heard of these places? How do you pronounce them?

  • Leicester ( pronounced Lesta): The name of this city probably first started to cause irritation after its football team unexpectedly won the Premier League in 2015-2016. How people love an underdog!
  • Worcestershire (Wustasha): A county located in the West Midlands of England. A lovely brown sauce (Lea & Perrins) which has become a culinary favourite for many.
  • Edinburgh (Edinburra/Edinbru): The capital of Scotland. Spoken in a strong Scottish accent can add to the confusion.

Letter combinations

Unlike some languages in which one letter corresponds to one sound, English uses a complicated (and largely irregular) spelling system in which most sounds are represented by groups of several letters.

I am amazed how a native English speaking child masters this so early in their education. Learning to spell words with “ee”, “ch”, “ai”, “wh”, “ow”, “th” or “ough” is no easy matter. How do you pronounce though, through, thought or Slough?

Irish Names

I must apologise to the Irish illustrator, Niamh Sharkey, because I recently pronounced her name completely wrong. How ignorant am I! The Irish pronunciation was “fremd” to me but after a little research I am a little more familiar…until next time. Have you ever wondered about these lovely names?

  • Siobhán (pronounced: Shiv-awn)
  • Niamh ( Neev)
  • Sean (Shawn)
  • Pádraig (Paw-drig or paw-rick)
  • Aoife ( Eee-fah)
  • Eoghan (Ow-an)
  • Caoimhe (kwee-va or kee-va)
  • Roisin (ro-sheen)

Let’s not get started with this Welsh place name Llanfairpwllgwyngyll.

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