Sunday, 30 December 2012

British Names (2)

Having dealt a little with the geopolitical history of linguistics necessary to understand the intricacies of English pronunciation it is worth digressing ever so slightly and dealing with the academic view that William Shakespeare actually spoke with a Midlands accent. This is of course incorrect because as we all know Elizabethans spoke in the loud and languid way so amply demonstrated by Kenneth Branagh. It is also a little know fact that Elizabethans never stood too closely to each other when conversing so as to avoid either receiving a clout round the head from an over-expressive arm or an eyeful of declamatory spittle.

Damn good show you’re not doing Shakespeare then!

But to continue with pronunciation: -

The bottom line is that the “a” in any secondary syllable of a word is vital. Pronounced “ar” is posh (eg Bad- carster). The short “a” is working class, which of course we all are! Beware however because a long and rolling “arrrr” is definitely not an epiglottal shortcoming but signifies really lowly farming classes in the outreaches of the country.

Returning to the specifics of the names that you listed: -

Merton-cum-Middlewick - (murten-cum-middlewick)
Wathampton - (wat-HAMPten)
Lax(lax) What on earth is the context here?
Merthyr-Tydfil - (MER-ther-TID-ville) if you are a non-welsh speaker. If you want to do it with a welsh accent I suggest you practice by stuffing your mouth with mashed leaks and hiccupping as you under- emphasise “TID”. Amateurs should keep a large glass of water close at hand – not to drink, but to throw in the face of the first person who dares to giggle. Hey, but never mind, practice makes perfect. Good Luck on this one!
Blatford  - (blat-ford OR better still BLAT-fud). Bit of a problem this. The former would emphasise both syllables equally – but this is posh. The latter is better. The southern bumpkin would say BLAT-fud, (or BLAT-furd if he were-a-muck-spredin) and the southern posh would also say BLAT-fud just to show solidarity with the great unwashed of the North and Midlands.

Chittendent-Cholmondley - (Chittendent-Chummley) I’m not even going to begin to explain this one! I think its just one of those things one knows - it's a birthright thing.
Ladysmith - assuming reference to Anglo-Boer War? (Speak as written!)
Lor’Lummy - Cockney meaning Lord ??? (It will have come from Gor’blimey or more likely “Lord Love Me”. As you’ve written it so you should say it). Actually better Lor’Lammy. You can use a touch or poetic license here and say co’r luv a duck – that’s a definite winner!
Leicester Square - LES ter Square. Correct!
Good Luck!

Oh, and let me know how it all goes . . . .

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