Weird British pronunciation

“Mingess” for Menzies is probably still the default in the UK, with “Ming” Campbell, the recentish leader of the Lib Dems, as the obvious nationally prominent example.

In Scotland, the classic exception was always the John Menzies chain of newsagents. That was always the z-pronunciation. But duly recognised as the weird case.

As noted, blame the French.

Me too.

I find commercials for the car amusing with their pronunciation - “jag yu ar”.

Many of us Americans are rhotic, so we pronounce it “jag-wahr”. There’s an r on the end.

Seems to be the case that Brits want to pronounce “u” with a “yu” while Americans are comfortable with a “oo”, especially on words brought in from Portuguese or Spanish.

That’s the way I pronounce it when I read it, not that I use the word on my own.

I knew a guy who pronounced it “Bo camp”.


So just what is this “Garlic alphabet”? :wink:

Gaul - ha ha.

You and John W. Kennedy need to iron this out.

That’s because French is a crazy language that ignores letters that are there and pronounces ones that are not.

hors d’oeuvres = “or derv”
esprit de corps = “espree deh core”
homage = “o mahj”
Paris = “Pah ree”

There are plenty of other examples I can’t come up with right now, but typically a final “s” is dropped (as in three of my examples).

How about the way the French pronounce Guy. “Gi”
I know you can pronounce your own name any way you want. But how anybody gets San San from Saint Saens I’ll never know.

I hear vampires hate it.

I’m listening to an audiobook of British author Jeffrey Archer’s A Prison Diary, narrated by a British actor. He refers to the athletic-clothing company Adidas as “ADD deh dass,” while I’ve always heard Americans pronounce it as “uh DEED us.”

As a Brit I think I generally say “Ah-di-dass”! Either way, pretty sure the assistant in the shop wouldn’t recognise “uh DEED us” :slight_smile:

Actually, when I was a wee lass (70s in the UK), everyone pronounced it Ah-DEED-as.

Then at some point (80s/90s ish) there was a switch in stress. I remember an ad on TV talking about the Adidas founder, Adi Dassler, which may have influenced things.

We also all used to pronounce Nike as Nikey, presumably until we heard it actually pronounced on a Nike ad.

I always figured Nike = Νίκη. Nikey-rhymes-with-spiky is the Weird British Pronunciation of this name, consistent with the processes described in this thread, as well as what they call themselves in English.

heh. Try saying that somewhere they actually have pewmas.

Well, at least we aren’t trying to pronounce Irish.

I would be happy to have the reason for Irish spelling explained to me. Was it in retaliation for centuries of oppression?

I’m thoroughly American and have always pronounced “Nike” as rhyming with “spiky”. Is that not correct?
Powers &8^]

I think it is correct, but SanVito claims he heard it pronounced differently in an ad:

It is, of course, possible that “Nike” was pronounced differently in some ads (Ni-cay rhymes-with-bay, perhaps?) This would be evidence of that. It’s not completely surprising that the Greek(?) name comes out in slightly different ways when different people try to say it in English.

No idea about Munich/Munchen, but Florence is kind of odd, in that in Latin, Florence was “Florentia”, which evolved into the Italian “Firenze”. I suspect that the English name derives from the Latin or French and did so a long time ago prior to the standardization of Italian as a language, mostly because it’s “Florence” in French, “Florencia” in Spanish, and “Florenz” in German as well.

Paris is easy- it’s just an Anglicization of the written spelling of “Paris”.

Puma is “poo-ma” in Spanish, just like we Americans say it.

I’m onto another audiobook now, John Keegan’s The Face of Battle, and the British narrator pronounces “combatants” as “COM ba tenz.” I, an American, have always heard it pronounced “com BAT tents.”

Blame the French. Saint drop the t and slightly alter the vowel. Saens drop the s and modify the vowel. Bingo.

Can you help me with that? My IPA guide isn’t getting me there. Neeken? Nuking? Nih?

As an American, I’ve always heard it Nikey rhymes with spikey.

The original ancient Greek pronunciation of Nike is “nee-keh”.

That’s because it’s Greek, not IPA.

That final letter is an eta, whose majuscule form looks like an H. Sometimes it’s called “long E” to distinguish it from epsilon (E).

In literate societies, the spelling often drives pronunciation change, which is how “Menzies” got its “men-zees” version in addition to the original “Minn-yis”. In some cases, the z-pronunciation completely abolishes the older form, as in the name “Mackenzie” ; the 17th c. jurist George Mackenzie earned himself the nickname “Bluidy Mackingie” for his persecution of Covenanters.

In so far as it comes up in everyday conversation, I suspect the pronunciation in the west of Scotland splits 50:50 these days: half going with the apparently obvious z-version and the rest with “Culane”. Caught cold, I’d probably resort to the first myself.
bonzer - who knows my ancestral roots are in Ayrshire and who vaguely remembers that there may have been a distant, utterly tenuous link to Culzean. Via the Crawfords? (The solidly documented roots are back to peasants basically digging coal out of a hole in the ground, more or less with their bare hands.)

Re. Nike, if you think about it, a lot of classical names have Weird British Pronunciations, e.g., Ὅμηρος -> Homer, Horātius -> Horace, though maybe those are reasonable examples of dropping foreign case endings. With Nike we definitely observe the English disdain for pure vowels.