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List of names in English with counterintuitive pronunciations

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This is a set of lists of English personal and place names whose pronunciations are counterintuitive to their spelling, either because the pronunciation does not correspond to the spelling, or because a better-known namesake has a markedly different pronunciation.

Excluded are the numerous spellings which fail to make the pronunciation obvious without actually being at odds with it: for example, the pronunciation /skəˈnɛktədi/ of Schenectady is non-intuitive but not counter-intuitive.

See Wikipedia:IPA for English for guides to the IPA symbols used, and WP:United States dictionary transcription for a guide to the US dictionary symbols used.


Place names in Britain and IrelandEdit

Although several examples are included in the list below, pronunciations for the following common suffixes may be considered regular:

  • -borough and -burgh — /-bʌrə, -brə/; (-bŭr·ə, -brə)
  • -bury — /-bʌri, -bri/; (-bŭr·ē, -brē)
  • -cester — /-stər/; (-stər)
  • -ham — /-əm/; (-əm)
  • -shire — /-ʃər, -ʃɪər/; (-shər, -shēr)
  • -wick — /-ɪk/; (-ĭk)
  • -mouth — /-məθ/; (-məth)

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  • Olney, Buckinghamshire/ˈɔːniː/ (ô′·nē) (local pronunciation); /ɒlniː/ (ŏl′·nē)
  • Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire/ˈɒztwɪsəl/; (ŏz′·twĭs·l) (local pronunciation); /ˈɒzəltwɪzəl/ (ŏz′·l·twĭz·l)
  • Owenabue, river in County Cork/oʊnəˈbwiː/ (ō·nə·bwē′)

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Place names in the United States of AmericaEdit

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Place names in other English-speaking countriesEdit

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  • Delhi, Ontario — /ˈdɛlhaɪ/
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Given namesEdit

SurnamesEdit

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See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. http://www.henley-in-arden.co.uk/our-town/brief-history/
  2. Bill Bryson, The Mother Tongue, Harper Perennial 1991, ISBN 0380715430. pp. 196-197. Error prone and not a primary source, but words may have been added after reading Bryson's list
  3. Kenny, Colum (1998). Molaise: Abbot of Leighlin and hermit of Holy Island : the life and legacy of Saint Laisren in Ireland and Scotland. Morrigan. p. 50. ISBN 0907677673. 
  4. Burnand, Sir Francis Cowley, ed (1940). "Kildare and Leighlin". The Catholic who's who and yearbook (33‎rd ed.). Burns & Oates. p. 268. "Leighlin is pronounced Lochlin, with loch sounded as in Scotland (ie with guttural aspirate)." 
  5. Campbell, Georgina (2006). "County Carlow". Georgina Campbell's Ireland 2007-The Guide: The Best Places to Eat, Drink And Stay. Georgina Campbell Guides. p. 146. ISBN 1903164230. http://books.google.com/books?id=OZ6L61o8Ud4C&lpg=PT146&dq=Leighlinbridge%20pronounced&pg=PT146#v=onepage&q=Leighlinbridge%20pronounced&f=false. 
  6. Hutton, Eric (2007). "20th Century - 1999: Leighlinbridge, County Carlow, Ireland (provisional name)". UK and Ireland Meteorite page. http://meteoritehistory.info/UKIRELAND/C20.HTM#leigh. Retrieved 28 December 2009. 
  7. http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/wells/blog0804b.htm See entry for 25th April
  8. http://www.caranddriver.com/article.asp?section_id=4&article_id=9295&page_number=4
  9. http://www.townofchili.org/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=416&Itemid=72
  10. http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/ah/1956/2/1956_2_120.shtml
  11. Wells, John C. (2000). Longman Pronunciation Dictionary. 2nd ed. Longman. ISBN 0-582-36468-X. 
  12. http://www.af.mil/information/bios/bio.asp?bioID=5907
  13. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~sooty/pronoun.html
  14. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/mclean
  15. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/hockey/shn/pronunc.htm
  16. http://www.utm.edu/staff/ngraves/shakespeare/set_VII_texts_comments/SetVII_94.html

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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