BREXIT – a Pronunciation Guide

A shock result and a raft of new words to accompany the new political climate, here’s the Pronunciation Studio guide to help you through the conversational chaos:


Goodbye Europe /ˈgʊdbaɪ ˈjɜːrəp/

The UK has voted Brexit /ˈbreksɪt/, or is that pronounced /ˈbregzɪt/? Either way, we’re definitely leaving Europe /ˈjɜːrəp/, /ˈjɔːrəp/, or /ˈjʊərəp/ but we aren’t sure which one. Actually, let’s just call it The EU /ði ˈiː ˈjuː/. The third referendum /ˌrefəˈrendəm/ in the UK’s history sparked a huge debate about democracy /dɪˈmɒkrəsi/, bureaucracy /ˌbjɜːˈrɒkrəsi/, migration /maɪˈgreɪʃn/, immigration /ˈɪmɪgreɪʃn/ and loads of other important aspects of modern life, like hoovers and watches.

The Votes /ðə ˈvəʊts/

In the end London /ˈlʌndən/, Scotland /ˈskɒʔlənd/ and Northern Ireland /ˈnɔːðən ˈaɪələnd/ voted to remain, and just about everywhere else voted leave. Cities as difficult to pronounce as Birmingham /ˈbɜːmɪŋəm/, Portsmouth /ˈpɔːʔsməθ/, and Gloucester /ˈglɒstə/ all said a resounding ‘no’ /ˈnəʊ/ to the EU, whilst some slightly less difficult places like Bath /ˈbɑːθ/, Exeter /ˈeksətə/ and Newcastle /ˈnjuːkɑːsɫ/ just about muttered /ˈmʌtəd/ ‘yes’. In the end, the difference was 1,269,501 in favour of leave, no arguing with that number.

Camp Leave /ˈkæmp ˈliːv/

The two most prominent figures in camp ‘leave’ were Nigel Farage /ˈnaɪdʒɫ fəˈrɑːʒ/ and Boris Johnson /ˈbɒrɪs ˈdʒɒnsən/. Farage, whose name sounds suspiciously French (but should probably now be pronounced /ˈfærɪdʒ/) is the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party or UKIP /ˈjuː kɪp/ for short…. I think I will have a kip thanks, it’s been a long day. Ex Tory /ˈtɔːri/ mayor of London, Boris Johnson was the highest profile Leave campaigner and will now be hotly tipped to become Prime Minister. Boris’s full name is also a bit European sounding: Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson /ˈælɪgzɑːndə ˈbɒrɪs də ˈfefɫ ˈdʒɒnsən/, no, seriously.

Brexit the Movie was seen by hundreds of thousands of voters, and made the case that the EU is nothing more than a beauracratic nightmare that the UK should leave to become more like…. Switzerland /ˈswɪtsələnd/. The inventor Sir James Dyson /sə ˈdʒeɪmz ˈdaɪsən/ backed the leave campaign too, probably annoyed about EU restrictions on powerful vacuum cleaners /ˈvækjuːm kliːnəz/, so it’s definitely bad news for dust particles /ˈdʌst pɑːtɪkɫz/ in the new UK!

Camp Remain /ˈkæmp rɪˈmeɪn/

Prime Minister Cameron wasn’t the only David urging the UK to remain, Mr. Beckham /ˈbekəm/, who is currently trying to build a football stadium in America /əˈmerɪkə/, said the UK should be “facing the problems of the world together and not alone”. Loads of other celebs, politicians and Nobel /ˌnəʊˈbeɫ/ prize winning economists also backed StrongerIn‘ /ˌstrɒŋgəˈrɪn/, but the electorate was not convinced. Not even the hugely popular beef steak loving self-confessed petrol head, ex BBC presenter, Jeremy Clarkson /ˈdʒerəmi ˈklɑːksən/ could swing it for In.

What Now? /ˈwɒʔ ˈnaʊ/

David Cameron almost immediately announced his resignation in an emotional speech in the guise of a  sailor /ˈseɪlə/, whilst the pound sterling /ˈpaʊn ˈstɜːlɪŋ/ sunk like an anchor /ˈæŋkə/ beneath him. The British people started googling “What is the EU?” and there were many reports of people claiming ‘Bregret’ /brɪˈgret/ as they didn’t realise what a ‘Leave’ vote meant. Talk is now of Scotland and Northern Ireland having their own referendums to leave the UK, and London becoming an EU member state. Brexpats /ˈbrekspæts/ all over the world are left wondering what their status is.

Czechout? /ˈtʃekaʊt/

The internet has been awash with speculation over the rest of Europe, we already knew of Grexit /ˈgreksɪt/, but what about a Czechout /ˈtʃekaʊt/, a Departugal /dɪpɑːtʃəgəɫ/, Italeave /ˈɪtəliːv/, Oustria /ˈaʊstriə/, Finish /ˈfɪnɪʃ/ or even Byegium /ˈbaɪdʒəm/. Some geopolitically challenged commentators are also worried about a Chiaona /ˈtʃaʊnə/. Well, in these times anything seems possible.


Read what happened next in Post-Brexit Chaos – a Pronunciation Guide, featuring a new Prime Minister, more resignations, Julius Caesar and even more new words beginning ‘bre-‘ – view here