Apparently there is a lot of amusement surrounding the pronunciation of place names; whether it be a mis-pronunciation of “Yosemite” or “Qatar” we need to wise up to these faux pas. Read the article and do a quiz to see how good you are at pronouncing here.
There have always been debates about how to pronounce place names: do we say Bath with a hard or soft ‘A’? How do we pronounce ‘Marylebone’ or ‘Belvoir’? As someone that was christened in Shrewsbury, I still shout at the TV when a TV reporter pronounces the place name incorrectly.
Here is a guide to some international place names (including the River Thames!) to assist us.
Obviously there are place names that are in different countries, where other languages are spoken. It can be difficult to pronounce place names and also to know how to pronounce certain words. So we should be tolerant of tourists asking for directions!
Here in Britain there are also different ways to pronounce place names in different regions, as well as there being a class pronunciation of specific places! I understand there are constant debates about how to pronounce Shrewsbury: read the debate here.
So what is my advice, for what it’s worth, is to do your research. You might have a snigger if you pronounce “Althorp” incorrectly – or have knowing looks from the Sloane brigade. Or you might decide to be true to yourself and pronounce Bath with a soft ‘A’. But it is advisable to have a go at pronouncing place names as well as you can overseas – then at least you’ll get some reliable directions!