It’s okay, I’ve also done it before moving to London. This post isn’t to make fun of how Americans pronounce UK / London locations but to serve as a guide as to how to say them correctly so that no one does make fun. 🙂  Not that anyone is justified in giving someone from another country crap about how they mispronounce foreign names—we’re all susceptible by virtue of our accents and not being from the region originally. America has its own share of tough-to-pronounce places, and even those that are taken from foreign places/words can be pronounced differently by the locals (I think of “Des Plaines” in Illinois, for example, which we Illini pronouce “Dez Planes” whereas the French would say something closer to “Day Plen”). This is just another one of those things that makes an international relocation a fun, hands-on way of learning.

So let’s bring this across the pond now to the United Kingdom. In and around London specifically, the following are commonly mispronounced. *ahem* Now repeat after me:

DulwichDullich

GloucesterGlawster

GreenwichGrennich (although I think most Yanks do know this from the NYC neighborhood and Greenwich Mean Time)

Grosvenor Grow-vner

HolburnHoburn

Leicester Lester

Marylebone Mar-leh-bone

Reading Redding

RuislipRye-slip

Salisbury Salzbree

SuffolkSuffuk

SloughSlaow, as in the “ow” sound in “ouch”

SouthwarkSuthick

ThamesTemz

WarwickWarrick

And the Scottish would happily add to this list at least two oft mispronounced cities in Scotland:

EdinburghEddinburrah

GlasgowGlazgo

Even just knowing the pronunciation of suffixes can help with a lot of location names that use them (which some of the above demonstrate). For example:

-bury = bree (possibly also buree), not barry
-burgh = burrah (possibly also burrow), not berg
-cester = ster, not chester
-folk = fuk (pardon my language!), not foke
-shire = sher, not shy-er
-wich = itch, not witch

So if you’re making the big relocation, it might not hurt to brush up on your British pronunciations. Your Relocation agents will help you with this, too, as you discuss potential London neighborhoods, streets, and tube stations. Once settled in your London apartment and getting out and about, you’ll be speaking like a local in no time after your move. 🙂

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