Archive for 'English'

How to pronounce London place-names

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London
howdoyousaythatword.com

 This is for everyone who has plans to travel to London! Even if you are English-speaking, you may be forgiven for not know how to pronounce many of the place-names, because there is often very little to connect the way a name is written with the way it is phonetically pronounced. There are no rules to follow, except perhaps ...

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When Gotham was a Goat Town

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When Gotham was a Goat Town

Are you one of those people who says ‘pronunciation doesn’t matter’? Mind, I’m not talking about accent here – accent is the way people from your home-town talk. Pronunciation is the difference between pronouncing ‘cough’ like ‘koff’ or ‘cow’ – and the latter is an easy pronunciation mistake to make if you are foreigner learning English, and your only other reference is ‘bough’. Most people don’t know the difference between accent and pronunciation. While accent may distinguish you ...

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How to pronounce UK place-names

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How to pronounce UK place-names

If English speakers who visit the UK struggle with how to pronounce many of the place-names there, spare a thought for non-English speakers who are struggling with the language as it is. Many place-names are perfectly self-explanatory: Cornwall, Essex, Leeds, Westminster, Hyde Park – all of these spoken as the spelling indicates. Don’t get too comfy with this concept, because unless you’ve grown up or lived in the UK, you are in for a rude awakening. There are ...

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Historical Place-names with unusual pronunciations

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Historical Place-names with unusual pronunciations

Pronunciation is a dead giveaway of so much about a person. Where you come from, how educated you are – how you say things gives people an indication of who you are, whether you like it or not. In the UK there are so many curiosities, pronunciation wise, but I’m going to let you into the insider’s club, and tell you about the pronunciations which even people living in the UK may not know about. Unless you have ...

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Do you say coupe or coupé?

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Do you say coupe or coupé?

A reader recently asked me to settle a bet she had with her husband – do you  call a two door car a coupe, or a coupé? Well, the answer really depends on whether you speak the Queen’s English, or you live on the other side of the Atlantic. In Europe and the UK, a two door car is most definitely called a coupé.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is ...

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The Vesper

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The Vesper

Psychologists say that you are never so irritated by people as when you subconsciously know you have the same annoying tendencies they do. Recently I was researching the French drink Lillet for an entry, and I became side-tracked by ‘The Vesper’, a cocktail which James Bond ‘creates’ in Ian Fleming’s  1953 book ‘Casino Royale’. I could not believe how much there is on this drink – the web is littered with an endless back and forth on what ...

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How do you say Uranus?

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How do you say Uranus?

Saying Uranus incorrectly has dire and embarrassing consequences. For some reason, NO-ONE is pronouncing the name of this planet correctly – there is only ONE way, and it is revealed in this article. Say it properly, and do your bit towards saving us from the sky falling on our heads.

Before we look at how to say Uranus, let’s just go back a bit and ask ‘who was Uranus’? For those of you who have not had ...

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How do you say ‘Betelgeuse’?

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How do you say ‘Betelgeuse’?

Real stars don’t get much mainstream press attention. If you do a snap survey along any high street and ask people to name their favourite stars, you would get lists of ‘Justin Bieber, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus…’. The chance of finding someone who will spontaneously rattle off names like Betelgeuse, Sirius, Rigel, Arcturus and so on, would be, relative to the first list, somewhat remote. The only way stars in the astronomical sense can get any ...

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