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Pomfret

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Alexander Howard
1244041.  Mon Jul 31, 2017 4:24 pm Reply with quote

O Pomfret, Pomfret! O thou bloody prison,
Fatal and ominous to noble peers!
Within the guilty closure of thy walls
Richard the second here was hack'd to death;
And, for more slander to thy dismal seat,
We give thee up our guiltless blood to drink.

(Which could be called the "Rivers of Blood" speech.) Today it is best known for cakes that are not cakes, and a broken bridge which is not broken.

 
GuyBarry
1244060.  Tue Aug 01, 2017 2:18 am Reply with quote

I was on a discussion group once with an American who was convinced that Pontefract is still pronounced "Pomfret", and was quite disappointed to learn otherwise. It seems to be quite a widespread misapprehension in other English-speaking countries.

 
crissdee
1244072.  Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:27 am Reply with quote

I didn't know it ever had been!

 
suze
1244112.  Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:48 am Reply with quote

It was until the early C20.

The Oxford Dictionary of English Place Names (1936) stated that the "pumfrit" pronunciation is becoming less common, and a generation later it had disappeared almost completely.


There are quite a few examples where the pronunciation of a British place name has shifted from something a bit esoteric to something reflecting spelling over the last century. No longer do the people of Cirencester call their town "Sister", no longer do the people of Stiffkey call it "Stewkey", and so on.

Britain still has a fair number of place names with esoteric pronunciations, but most of them are fading. Hunstanton is by now rarely pronounced as Hunston, Garboldisham has ceased to be Garsham within the last twenty years or so, and an acquaintance of husband's who hails from Rainworth bemoans all the recent arrivals who don't say it Rennuth.

 
PDR
1244114.  Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:14 am Reply with quote

crissdee wrote:
I didn't know it ever had been!


I assumed this was about french-fried potatoes

PDR

 
tetsabb
1244137.  Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:50 am Reply with quote

But, suze, not far from you, I believe Trottiscliffe is still 'Trozley'. So not all eccentric placename pronunciation is dying out.

Though I would like to see Gravesend revert to its original pronunciation of Depressing Dump

 
suze
1244148.  Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:20 am Reply with quote

There are several places on the Internet which will give you a list of several hundred of supposed strangely pronounced place names. Maybe St Osyth really was pronounced "Toozey" once upon a time, but it simply isn't today, and the number that genuinely are pronounced strangely falls every year.

There are a handful of special cases where the name is pronounced differently on one side of town than on the other.

Shrewsbury is one such. If you live north of the river or went to private school you say Shrowsbury, and the MP for the said town says Shrowsbury. But if you live south of the river or went to state school you say Shroosbury, and 81% of people asked by the local newspaper reckoned that the MP has it wrong.

There's just no consensus on Southwell (should that be Suth'l, or as spelled) and Bearsted (should that be Bare or Beer). Advocates of one will call you a fool for saying the other, but next door you might find the point argued the other way about.

As for Trottiscliffe, I've taught two girls from that village over the years and they didn't agree either. One pronounced it as spelled, while the other preferred to spell it Trosley. Maybe we should consider the village as having two names, just as the pit village of Sheperdswell between Canterbury and Dover is also to be found as Sibertswold.

 
Jenny
1244187.  Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:49 pm Reply with quote

Woolwich in Maine, which used to be pronounced Woolich, like the area of south London, is now pronounced Wool-wich, since so many incomers didn't know how the locals pronounced it.

 
GuyBarry
1244226.  Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:46 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:

There are quite a few examples where the pronunciation of a British place name has shifted from something a bit esoteric to something reflecting spelling over the last century. No longer do the people of Cirencester call their town "Sister", no longer do the people of Stiffkey call it "Stewkey", and so on.


Wasn't it "Sissiter" rather than "Sister"? In practice the locals call it something like "Zoyren".

Quote:
Britain still has a fair number of place names with esoteric pronunciations, but most of them are fading. Hunstanton is by now rarely pronounced as Hunston, Garboldisham has ceased to be Garsham within the last twenty years or so, and an acquaintance of husband's who hails from Rainworth bemoans all the recent arrivals who don't say it Rennuth.


Happisburgh in Norfolk is still "Hazebruh" as far as I know, and Aldeburgh in Suffolk is "Awlbruh". And you've still got some fantastic ones in Scotland like Milngavie ("Mulguy").

 
'yorz
1244228.  Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:53 am Reply with quote

I can't see "Alnwick" not be pronounced as "Annik".

And more.

http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/can-you-pronounce-tricky-north-12550610

 
suze
1244245.  Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:41 am Reply with quote

GuyBarry wrote:
Happisburgh in Norfolk is still "Hazebruh" as far as I know


I believe it is, but the village itself will probably be abandoned within our lifetimes because it's fast falling off the cliff atop which it stands. The unusual pronunciation there will last as long as the village does.

GuyBarry wrote:
And you've still got some fantastic ones in Scotland like Milngavie ("Mulguy").


A lot of the apparently odd pronunciations in Scotland can be explained with reference to the defunct letter yogh (ȝ). Its sound value was usually either /g/ or /j/ (the latter being the sound of English <y>), but it was replaced in writing by <z> because of the visual similarity.

That is why Culzean is "Cullane", Dalziel is "Dee-el", Menzies is "Mingies", and so on, but it doesn't help with Milngavie. In fact, the <v> probably arose as an error in Anglicization of the Gaelic Muileann Dhidh. There are recent citations for an attempt to popularize the spelling Mulguy, but it hasn't caught on as yet.

'yorz wrote:
I can't see "Alnwick" not be pronounced as "Annik".


That one will survive longer than most, simply because it's well known. People who move there from (say) Newcastle do know that it's pronounced "Annik", and so they'll keep doing it.

Alnwick lacks a railway station; the nearest is four miles away at Alnmouth. (Well OK, near Alnmouth. Alnmouth station is actually in a smaller village called Hipsburn.)

Announcers at London King's Cross don't all know that this is locally "Alanmouth" - not "Annmouth" nor yet "Arnmouth" - which may contribute to it ceasing to be Alan in the fullness of time.

 
'yorz
1244250.  Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:29 am Reply with quote

Alnwick does have a railway station; it's just no longer used as such.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alnwick_railway_station

The building is now in use by the delightful Barter Books, where the original Keep Calm and Carry On posters were found.

 
tetsabb
1244262.  Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:54 am Reply with quote

Is that the one we went to with the train set running round the tops of the shelves?
Wonderful bookshop. I was amazed I did not spend many pounds in there.

 
'yorz
1244264.  Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:08 am Reply with quote

It was. Bloody brilliant, innit? Wor Jen is a fan, too, I seem to remember.

 
Jenny
1244320.  Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:48 pm Reply with quote

Yes indeed. The owner is the brother of a friend of mine here in the US , and as Woodsman has relatives in Alnwick we sometimes go up there and invariably call in at Barter Books.

 

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