Post-Brexit Chaos – A Pronunciation Guide

A lot has happened since our first article on Brexit, Britain has become a soap opera of twists and turns. Here’s an update to the chaos, featuring a new PM, Caesar, the Pope, Boris and loads of new words:


A Petition

Shortly after the nation voted to leave, a petition /pəˈtɪʃn/ for a 2nd referendum quickly accrued over 2 million signatures and will therefore be debated in parliament /ˈpɑːlɪmənt/ in the autumn /ˈɔːtəm/. One problem with the petition is that nearly 40,000 of the signatures came from Vatican City /ˈvætɪkən ˈsɪti/, a state with roughly 800 inhabitants. Argentine /ˈɑːdʒəntaɪn/ Pope Francis (Jorge Mario Bergoglio to his friends) has obviously been very busy trying to keep the UK in. Thousands of signatures also came from North Korea /kəˈriːə/, and the lunch-loving Sandwich Islands /ˈsændwɪtʃ ˈaɪlənz/ in Hawaii /həˈwaɪi/. It has since emerged that the petition was, somewhat ironically, started by a Brexit supporter before the result of the referendum had come in. Bizarre /bɪˈzɑː/.

We Love EU & Xenophopia

Thousands marched in London to tell people who had already voted ‘remain’, to vote ‘remain’ again with placards /ˈplækɑːdz/ reading “March for Europe”, “We Love EU” and “Bremain/brɪˈmeɪn/. Then disturbing reports of xenophobic /ˌzenəˈfəʊbɪk/ behaviour caused by strange phenomena like “compassion fatigue/kəmˈpæʃn fəˈtiːg/ and “celebratory racism/ˈseləbrətri ˈreɪsɪzm/ flooded into the newspapers. The worst affected minority group was large, blonde, middle aged children, with hundreds of angry remain supporters gathered outside Boris Johnson’s house in Islington /ˈɪzlɪŋtən/, screaming horrible things like “scum/ˈskʌm/ and “Go back to Eton”. But Boris ignored them and did what every self-respecting English man would in a crisis – he played cricket /ˈkrɪkɪt/ with Earl /ˈɜːɫ/ Spencer. “How’s That?”. “Not out”.

Resignations Galore!

One of the most intriguing /ɪnˈtriːgɪŋ/ features of post-Brexit UK is the sheer /ˈʃɪə/ number of political resignations /ˌrezɪgˈneɪʃnz/. Cameron jumped ship, and is now unemployed, squatting /ˈskwɒtɪŋ/ in a 16 million pound house in Holland Park. Then UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage quit after “achieving political aim” of being booed by the European Parliament, not before telling MEPs “you’ve not done a proper job in your lives”.

Caesar & Brutus (or Boris & Gove)

Boris quickly announced his leadership bid, but was promptly stabbed in the back by serial Tory backstabber /ˈbækstæbə/ Michael Gove /ˈmaɪkəɫ ˈgəʊv/. Johnson seemed to allude to Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar /ˈdʒuːliəs ˈsiːzə/ in his resignation from the race stating: ‘A time not to fight against the tide of history but to take that tide at the flood and sail on to fortune.’ The British press were quick to compare the pair to Caesar and Brutus /ˈbruːtəs/, though to be fair, Gove hasn’t murdered /ˈmɜːdəd/ Johnson…. yet.

The Mother and Theresa

The pro-Brexit post-Boris choice to replace Cameron as PM became Andrea Leadsom /ˈændriə ˈledsəm/, MP for South Northamptonshire /ˌnɔːˈθæmptənʃɪə/. She believed that being a mother was her strongest asset, giving her a: “very real stake in the future of our country,”. The press didn’t agree, instead taking a stake to the heart of her leadership bid when it also came to light that she had made up her CV, which presumably now lists her current role as “Prime Minister”. So with no one else left, the Tory party announced its new leader , the second female PM in UK history – the pro EU Theresa May /təˈreɪzə ˈmeɪ/. The ‘th’ in her name is pronounced /t/ as in Tory /ˈtɔːri/, not /θ/ as in ‘thankless/ˈθæŋkləs/ or /ð/ as in ‘bothered/ˈbɒðəd/, the ‘s’ is normally pronounced /z/.

Boris is Back, or Boris’s Back

Theresa quickly announced a new cabinet, in which Boris Johnson was magically promoted to Foreign Minister /ˈfɒrən mɪnɪstə/. The reaction in Europe was not positive, French newspaper Le Monde /lə ˈmɒnd/ calling him “a Monty Python-style politician who appears to avoid taking things seriously” and France’s foreign minister calling him “a liar with his back to the wall” whilst his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier also branded his behaviour “outrageous”. Boris’s first speech in his new role was promptly booed at the French Embassy /ˈembəsi/ in London.

What Next?

Although Johnson is the UK’s foreign minister, he won’t be leading the UK out of Europe, instead a new post called Secretary of State for Exiting the EU has been appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister. It’s a role that falls to the Right Honorouble /ˈonərəbɫ/ David Davis /ˈdeɪvɪd ˈdeɪvɪs/, MP for Haltemprice and Howden, and a man whose second name is suspiciously similar to his first, but whose middle name is ‘Michael’, in case you were wondering /ˈwʌndrɪŋ/.

A Brit Brannoying

The sheer sloosh /sluːʃ/ of new and ever more bridiculous /brɪˈdɪkjələs/ words hasn’t stopped growing since Brexit. They follow a simple formula – take a word that starts with ‘re’ or ‘ex’ and add ‘b’ or ‘br’ respectively. So the nation has Brexistential angst /ˈbreksɪstenʃɫ ˈæŋst/, we’re not bready for life alone, and Britain may or may not be full of bregret. The words ‘breakfast/ˈbrekfəst/ and ‘brevity /ˈbrevɪti/, which definitely brexisted prior to the breferendum, are thought to be unhappy about their less brexclusive new status.


Read our original pronunciation guide to Brexit here.