If you have ever traveled in the United Kingdom, or even read a British novel, it’s likely that you have been confused about the correct pronunciation of place names. I’m chagrined to admit that I constantly got location names horribly wrong while traveling in Britain even though I consider myself a Anglophile. The very informative, and funny, video below is an enormously helpful episode of Map Men, from comedians Jay Foreman and Mark Cooper Jones which provides a useful history of British geographic names that don’t always sound as their spelling might indicate.
As you can hear, no letter in the English alphabet is safe from being pronounced in dozens of different ways. Including, not at all. Thankfully, there are some general rules you can stick to, and because we’re nice, we’ll help the un-British amongst you through a couple of basics. …The only way to be absolutely sure of pronouncing British place names correctly is to live here long enough to learn every single one of them one at a time. Sorry.
The Map Men series is great. I lived in Loughborough for a while – it’s in the county of Leicestershire (which I still have to say differently in my head whenever I have to spell it).
What is even funnier, is I can’t understand a word they’re saying! In English! HA HA