The US is trending towards its own Gloucesters

What’s with the weird British pronunciation of words like Gloucester?

I live near Lancaster, SC. I grew up near Lancaster, CA. I lived near Lancaster, OH.

Each of these is pronounced differently. Here in the South, it’s pronunciation is two syllables. You can easily tell a newcomer from the North or West (like me, 9 years ago!) when they insist on pronouncing all three.

There are other examples, I’m sure.

Worcester, MA is pronounces “WHOO-ster” (or “WHOOS-tah” since it is Boston area).

Worcester, PA (a suburb of Philadelphia) is pronounced “WOR-seh-ster”.

Not sure if it is OT, but Newark, NJ is pronounced “NEW-erk” but Newark, DE is pronounced “New-ARK”.

Eh, in England ‘Lancaster’ is pronounced Lan-kaster.

The county wherein it abides is Lancashire. Maybe that threw you.

Pronounced Lan-cash-er. We are fond of our shires.
Gloucester is usually Glost-ter.

its freezing here in Lancaster ca… well ok its freezing here for at around 52 F anyways

In Ohio, it’s the word “lank” followed by the word “astir.” My dad’s pronunciation would be closer to lank-stir. (And the local Newark was just “nerk” for him.)

In Lancaster you might (or might not) see the commercials for Toyota of Greer. For Greerians, the town name is pronounced roughly “Gr.”

Just remember to change the “ol” in those Toyotas every few thousand miles. :smiley:


Rednecks in the South, who are spelling challenged, spell it “Gloster”

Noo-ahlins, to be more precise.

It’s not exactly the case that in American English people are creating new shortened versions of place names. It’s more like the place name was originally shortened when the American place was established (at some time after English-speaking people first arrived in the Americas, of course), usually because the place was named after a place in the U.K. Frequently the place in the U.S. would be pronounced just like the one in the U.K., where the place name was shortened. Then later people in the U.S. would expand the pronunciation of the name to a longer one that is closer to a full pronunciation of all the letters in it. Sometimes another place would be established in the U.S. with the same spelling, but the pronunciation would be closer to a full pronunciation of all the letters, unlike the first place in the U.S. with that name. So there’s no tendency toward shortening of the pronunciation; indeed, there’s a tendency towards the expansion of the pronunciation of names towards a full pronunciation of letters.

Americans definitely tend to add to pronunciations, even letters they think should be there even though they aren’t. Check out the pronunciations of these cities in Ohio.

Versailles, Ohio - Wikipedia = Ver-Sales

Just “normal” English pronunciation here.

Bellefontaine, Ohio - Wikipedia = Bell-Fountain

People (someone?) decided that even though there’s no ‘u’, it the second half of the name should be pronounced like the common English word it most resembles.

Ell A.

/ˈkeɪroʊ/, Illinois
/ˈhɑʊstən/ Street, New York City

And, on the other hand, Wooster, Ohio.

Once, without thinking, I corrected someone during an interview on the pronunciation of Staunton, VA, which of course, has no “un” if you live down there. I cursed myself internally for doing so, but I still got the job.


In my lifetime, the local pronunciation of Baltimore (Maryland) has gone from sort of “Bawl-d-mer” to “Bawl-t-mo.” Sometimes even shortened to “Bee-mo.”

I find the sharpening of the “d” back to a “t” particularly interesting.

Lafayette has at least four distance pronunciations around the US. The standard, “lah-fiyet” in most states, but “laugh-iyet” in Lousiana, “la-FAY-et” in Mississippi, and “la-FEET” in Florida.

Beaufort starts with “bew” in South Carolina, and “bo” in North Carolina.

Dekalb like it looks in Illinois, but “de-cobb” in Georgia.

Iowans have a few oddities, preferring a long O to start Osceola, and a long I in Louisa = “lu-wye-za”

Around here, we can tell if you’re new to the area based on how you think “Puyallup” and “Sequim” ought to be pronounced.

Around here, we pronounce New Orleans as “the-big-easy” …

Siuslaw = “sigh-you-slaw” … most peoples get that wrong …