Dalziel Pronunciation

Love the British mysteries on A&E. Tonight there’s another episode of Dalziel and Pascoe.

Dalziel is pronounced dee-ell. Any idea of the origin of this name and why it’s pronouced as it is?

I’ve never seen the show, but is it possible that Dalziel’s last name begins with an “L”?

Well, I got curious enough to go poke around and my first suggestion was a dud. Andy Dalziel’s last name does not begin with an “L”.

OTOH, the only reason I have found for the pronunciation is that that was the pronunciation that author Reginald Hill gave it.

You may have to wait for one of our Brit posters to explain the pronunciation. (Yorkshire regionalism?)

In at least one of the Reginald Hill novels, Dalziel stated “We’re not all of us lucky enough to have names that’s pronounced as they’re spelled.”

Damn good books, they are.

There’s a guy where I work whose last name is Dalziel; also pronounced Dee-ell. I don’t know why. I think it’s a Scottish name, if that helps.

I’ve always heard it pronounced “Dee-el” - I think it’s an example of a name that was written down before there were pronunciation changes. I knew some people with a varient spelling: “Deyell.”

There’s an old Scottish saying (probably coined by the losing side in a fight with the Dalziels): “There’s little difference between the De’il and the Dalziel.”

** Dalziel origins **
According to the locals (via Google) http://www.coldal.org.uk/dalziel.htm

The English do this all the time - [ul]
[li]Leicester is pronounced “Lester”[/li][li]Magdalene (College) is “maudlin”[/li][li]Saint John is “Sinjin”[/li][li]Ruthven is “Rivven” (it looks like a W but it’s really two Vs)[/li][/ul]
I could go on, but you get the idea.

I have a couple of WAGs on the reasons.
a) Way back in the mists of time when somebody first decided to write the words down, the pronunciation was more in line with the spelling. Over the years, the pronunciation evolved - but because there hadn’t been a lot of need among the working (and mostly illiterate) population to write the words down , the spellings never caught up.
b) It was an instant way of identifying strangers. Sort of a cultural password. I know when people are really from the same part of Ohio where I grew up, if they know how to pronounce “Coschocton” and “Tuscawaras.”
c) They think it sounds sexier

How embarrassing… I spelled “Coshocton” and “Tuscarawas” wrong! It’s horrible growing old - I used to have a reliable memory!

The website cited by woolly gives the correct answer, although it is possible to elaborate a bit on what it says. Medieval Scots had an extra letter which was written as a ‘z’ but with a little tail. (It did have a name which I can’t now remember.) Early printers faced with the problem of using it in printed texts resorted to using ‘z’ instead of getting the letter specially casted. Strictly speaking, it is not a ‘z’ at all nor should it be pronounced as such. This is also explanation as to why the ‘correct’ pronunciation of the surname Menzies is ‘Ming-iz’.