[separator style_type="" top_margin="-55" bottom_margin="" sep_color="" icon="" width="" class="" id=""]Blog-Horrible London Place Names

10 Horrible London Place Names

What is it about London place names that makes them so difficult to pronounce? So Big Ben /bɪg ben/ is pretty easy, and as long as you miss the first /t/ in Westminster /wesmɪnstə/ it should roll off the tongue nicely. But what if you need to go to Tottenham Court Road, or Leicester Square? Well, no need to worry any longer – here are Pronunciation Studio’s 10 horrible London place names and how to pronounce them:

1. Borough Market

The first stop in London for foodies, don’t let the OUGH spelling confuse you, that’s just a schwa.

/ˈbʌrə ˈmɑːkɪt/

2. Greenwich

Home to the Maritime Museum, some lovely river walks and the Cutty Sark /kʌti sɑːk/, of course.  But don’t say the ‘w’ or you’ll be talking about witches!

/ˈgrenɪtʃ/

3. Leicester Square

Slap bang in the centre of London, we all end up there at some point. Don’t say the ‘ce’ in Leicester or the ‘r’ in Square:

/ˈlestə ˈskweə/

4. British Museum

It’s home to ancient artefacts from all over the world. The word ‘museum’ is also home to a /z/ sound!

/ˈbrɪtɪʃ mjuːˈziːəm/

5. Buckingham Palace

It wouldn’t be a trip to London without popping in to see the Queen, would it? But be careful not to say the  ‘h’ or a /g/ in Buckingham.

/ˈbʌkɪŋəm ˈpælɪs/

6. Southwark

The Tate Modern art gallery is one of London’s most visited attractions. Unfortunately, it’s in Southwark and that is not pronounced ‘South walk’.

/ˈsʌðək/

7. Soho

It’s time for a night on the tiles, so you head on down to Soho, but it’s full of diphthongs!

/ˈsəʊhəʊ/

8. Tottenham Court Road

It’s actually deceptively simple to pronounce, but you’ve got to take control of the ‘t’s. Say TOT, but don’t release the second /t/, instead use a glottal stop /ʔ/. Then say NAM with a schwa sound. Forget about the third ’t’, the ‘en’ and the ‘h’, they are all just there to confuse you.

/ˈtɒʔnəm kɔːʔ ˈrəʊd/

9. Marylebone High Street

So you’ve decided to go upmarket and you head west, but oh dear! How on earth do you say Marylebone? Well, here’s a clue, don’t start with Mary:

/ˈmɑːlibəʊn ˈhaɪ striːt/

10. Trafalgar Square

Nothing too tricky about this name…. except for those ‘r’s and those ‘a’s. Say the first /r/, but don’t say the second or third ones. OK? And the first and third ‘a’s are schwas.

/trəˈfælgə ˈskweə/

[ssba]


The IPA symbols used in this article and how to pronounce each sound are covered in Pronunciation Studio’s free ebook with audio – 45 Sounds of GB English.



2017-01-23T11:20:01+00:00

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