Why is Wednesday pronounced the way it is?

I was just wondering why we say ‘wends-day’ when the word is spelled Wednesday. Same deal with February being pronounced ‘feb-u-ary.’ Thanks folks.

Because people are are inclined to speak with the least effort and most efficiency. Try saying WED-NES-DAY rapidly a number of times and you’ll get an idea how it mutates into WENS-DAY.

For more marked examples, consider the pronunciations of “Worcestershire” and “Cholmondley.”

In anglo-saxon - “Wodnes daeg”. The pronunciation changed faster than the spelling.

more to the point! why do we spell it ‘Wednesday’

Gary T Those two examples are pronounced ‘wooster’ or ‘wuster’ and ‘chumley’ deliberately, not due to laziness

I’ve seen Americans on TV try their best to pronounce ‘Worcestershire Sauce’ they pronounce the literal word correctly, but have got the proper pronounciation completely wrong - it’s ‘wooster sauce’

I am desperate to see that episode of room101 where they were having the same discussion - he mentioned one word which was very long and pronounced something like ‘melg’ or something.
p.s.s ‘pronounciation’ is one of those silly ironic words (like lisp, stutter, etc… ‘lisp’ is easy to lisp, ‘stutter’ is easy to stutter) ‘pronounciation’ is pronounced ‘pro-nun-see-ay-shon’ rather than hoe the word would have you pronounce it - ‘pro-nown-see-ay-shon’

Actually, it’s not “Wooster” it’s “Wooster-sher”, but for some reason most people say it your way, which is wrong.

And I pronounce it “Wed-ins-day” which I thought was the right way, but maybe it isn’t.

But it’s spelt pronunciation.

Personally, I pronounce the name of the week Weddens-day (with a very weak schwa in the second syllable), and the month Feb-ru-ah-ee (more or less). Anything else is just laziness of the tongue or copy cat mispronunciation.

No need to be ashamed, its just another dialect, my friend.

Another reason for the dropped “d” may be the original for: Woden’s Day. Woden, said quickly, also drops that "d’. So the actual proniunciation of Wednesday, in this case, may actually pre-date the word!

Exactly, the city of Worchester would be pronounced ‘wooster’, and the surrounding Worchestershire is pronounced ‘wooster-sher’. Correspondingly, the city of Gloucester is pronounced ‘gluster’ and the surrounding Gloucestershire is pronounced ‘gluster-sher’.

The word Wednesday actually comes from Woden’s Day, Woden being the Anglo-Saxon name for the Norman God Odin. In old German his name was Wotan.

The Dutch and Germans also seem to like shortening pronounciations this way. Here in Holland there is a small city named Gorinchem, which is pronounced ‘Gorchem’. My home town of Pfungstadt in Germany is pronounced ‘Pungscht’ in the local dialect.

Gary T Those two examples are pronounced ‘wooster’ or ‘wuster’ and ‘chumley’ deliberately, not due to laziness

It’s deliberate now, but common sense tells us that the spelling reflects a pronunciation from ages ago, which has been streamlined through time.

I’m not talking about an individual’s laziness, but about the effect of human inclination to have speech flow easily applied accumulatively over a long period.

Please excuse the tiny nitpick, Mycroft, but Worchester would be pronounced “Worchester” - Worcester would be pronounced “wooster”.

The European Champions at not pronouncing written syllables are, of course, the French.

Well thank God that’s pretty much the only thing the French are Champions at, or we would never hear the end of it :smiley:

Oh, and can I say that Worchester was a typo? Yeah … exactly … it was a typo (which I just happened to repeat consistently.) You believe me, right?




Here are a few strange pronunciations from the county of Norfolk here in England:-

Happisburgh = Haysborough
Cottesey = Coss-ee
Postwick = Pos-ick
Wymondham = Windham
Garboldisham = Garboldsham.

I think the locals do this to confuse the tourists.

You’ve never tried to read Irish Gaelic, have you?

In Swedish Wednesday is Onsdag. So there was probably a similar shortening of Odins Dag to Onsdag.

As a matter of fact I have! Gaelic would surely win the prize for surprising vowel pronunciations :).

Here in Central Texas, we pronounce “pedernales” pur-de-nal-ez and “menchaca” man-shack; of course, both these word have Spanish origins, but our unique mangling goes beyond anglization.

Well, how come Baile Atha Cliath is pronounced “Dublin”? :smiley:

The Mackinac Bridge, bridging the Straits of Mackinac, has at one end Mackinaw City. From Mackinaw City you may take a ferry boat over to Mackinac Island. To complicate things even more a popular treat for tourists and locals alike is the Pasty (rhymes with tasty) which most tourists rhyme with nasty.

Around 1200, the English was spelled Wednesdai and Wodnesdei. Both probably came from Old English(around 950) Wodnesdaeg.

From Chambers.