English Dopers: Pronunciation Question

I’m doing an audiobook project and one of the lines in the work I’m reading is:

“I was born at Swanmoor, Hants, England…”

I’m aware that “Hants” is an abbreviation for “Hampshire,” but how would one read that line? Would you read it as it is written (that is, “I was born at Swanmoor, Hants, England”) or would you read it substituting the full name for the abbreviation (which would be, “I was born at Swanmoor, Hampshire, England”)?

And if it is the latter, how would one pronounce “Hampshire”? Is it “Hampshy-er,” or “Hampsheer”?

Note that while the narrator may have been born in England, he moved to Canada at a very early age. The book is thus set in Canada, and requires a southern Ontario accent, very similar to that of the American Midwest. Which I have, so I’m okay there.

But I have no idea what to do about pronouncing “Hants.” Can any English Dopers help?

Sorry, I think I should elaborate on my question a little. How would one read “Hants” aloud?

Apologies for any confusion.

I’m not English but I can tell you that a work colleague of mine, who is English, reads such addresses aloud by saying the county name in full, even though it’s abbreviated in the text. Much the same way that I would see the letters NSW, but read them aloud as New South Wales.

My county of Nottinghamshire is sometimes shortened to “Notts” and I have it heard it pronounced that way many times, both by “ordinary” people and on TV and Radio.

On the subject of broadcasting , the BBC have a local radio station (Three Counties) which covers Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. as you can see from its website the shortened form is used in its name, and in its broadcast announcements.

If I had to pronounce Hants. I would rhyme the word with pants. I articulate Hampshire as Hampsher. Because of local accents this may vary. Maybe someone from that county will check in.

In the case of the county in which I live, Glos or Gloucs seem to be popular postal abbreviations for Gloucestershire. I can’t ever recall anyone saying either abbreviation aloud. Probably it is done but not usually.

I live close to the Oxfordshire and Warwickshire county borders but I have never heard anyone say "I come from Chipping Norton in Oxon." or "I live in Halford in Warwicks.

Again, there may be local differences in some counties but I can’t remember hearing the expression I come from Salop. (Shropshire). Of course, this could be explained by me not having met many people from Shropshire.

There are many other examples.

I live in Hampshire (Portsmouth, to be exact.)

When speaking of an address, as in the OP, I’d say Hants, and Hampsher in pronouncing the full version.

I’ve just thought of an exception.

If one is reading out one’s address (on the phone for example) such abbreviations may be so employed. This cross-refers to the postal abbreviation mentioned in my previous post.

Not that I am representative, but I live in Hertfordshire and would normally say and write Herts

  • unless I was communicating with someone who might not know that it is an abbreviation and not spelt Harts or Hearts.

However, I would have to think if someone said ‘Hants’

  • I would have to translate it to Hampshire

As Che Guevara said, there are postal abbreviations that people just don’t use in speach.

Possibly people who live in or around Hampshire talk about ‘Hants’, but I’ve never heard anyone say it.

To clarify, I’d never use Hants unless, as I said, I was reading out a postal address to someone.

Only in addresses.

Same as “Oxon” where I live.

OK, I swear there was only one reply to the thread when I posted. Weird.

Some counties are always pronounced in full (eg Oxfordshire, Shropshire) and some can be abbreviated in speech (eg Hertfordshire, Nottinghamshire) but the full form is more common.

There are exceptions - for instance Notts County Football Club is always called “Notts County”, never “Nottinghamshire County”.

I thought I’d chip in, if only to say that I’m originally from Hampshire, and went to school in Swanmore.

I would always avoid actually saying ‘Hants’ unless I was reading an address really fast for some reason and didn’t have time to convert it into longhand. And Hampshire is usually pronounced ‘Hampsher’, unless you are a true yokel; in my experience Hampshire farmers sound quite West Country, so you might drop the ‘h’, and maybe add a burr to the ‘shire’ - 'amp-z/shy-er. Apologies for the amateur phonetic spelling…

Ok, I’ll chip in too. I would say Hants (rhyming with ‘pants’). However, I’d say Hamp-Sheer. I also used to live in Gloucestershire, always known as Glos when reading postal addresses…

I moved from Hampsire to Oxfordshire (or Hants to Oxon) when I was a kid, and though I pronounced my former home “Hamp-shur”, my new Oxon schoolchums pronounced it “Hamp-sheer”. As in the nickname I was given for a while, “Hampsheer Git”.

Heh - that’s probably because I was born in Bucks - and never quite lost the Home Counties pronunciation…!

An Oxford degree is written as MA Oxon. or DPhil Oxon. etc

This would be read as it’s spelled, rather than expanded.

Cambs is often kept short - pronounced “cams” (silent ‘B’), rather than the usual Cambridgeshire.

The local news often refers to Herts (“harts”), Beds and Bucks for the three-county area.

Or possibly simply because you’re a Buckinghamshire Bastard (friendly nickname given to anyone just over the border. Inter-county rivalry is so '80s)

Wouldn’t your character be using a Canadian pronunciation? You said “at an early age” but you didn’t say how early. If the character moved to Canada as an infant, I don’t see him using British pronunciation.

I’d pronounce it “Hampsheer”, although I’m not from that county (nor anywhere close).