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Why is Leicester pronounced Lester?

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Vanessa
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Post by Vanessa » Mon December 29th, 2008, 10:27 pm

There's Berkshire as well which is pronounced Barksher.
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Kveto from Prague
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Post by Kveto from Prague » Mon December 29th, 2008, 10:36 pm

English at one point was more or less phonetic at one point. you pronounced things the way you wrote them. the word "knight" or "knecht" i believe was pronouced with a "k" sound at the beginning. over time the idea of saying this consonant cluster "kn" came to be inconveinient and the "k"was dropped. language is a living changing organism and people are always altering pronunciations to be more convienient. the four words in english (five in american english) which begin with a silent "h" are another example. at one point people most likely asperated the "h" at the start of "hour" "honor" "heir" and "honest" (and in american english "herb" which is asperated in the british isles).

we are always trying to make pronunciation easier on ourselves, particularly with place names since we must say them often. therefore a resident of los angles usually says "L.A.". its easier. But in old english pesants rarly read so they couldnt make an abriviation like this. Leicester becomes "lester". at some point in the past it was probably pronouced phonetically (as its written). sometimes as annis pointed out the new pronunciation can become so clipped that the spelling itself will be changed like for brighton. but for the most part, old place names are fossilised relics of the ways places were once pronounced.

now english suffered from the fact that it was a spoken language long before any spelling was standarized. so the pronunciations were even changing as spellings were becoming standardized. i think the first king to use english (rather than french or latin) for official documents was Richard III in the late 15th century. im not sure maybe someone else can confirm this.
Last edited by Kveto from Prague on Mon December 29th, 2008, 10:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by EC2 » Mon December 29th, 2008, 11:05 pm

Nottingham where I live used to be Snottingham but the 'S' got dropped. However one of its suburbs still retains that S. Sneinton. Pronounced Snenton.
Ludgershall where there's a royal castle is pronounced Loogershall by the natives. Gloucester is Gloster. Shrewsbury gets called both Shroosbury and Shrowsbury.
Still, could be worse. Lots more places in the world that are harder to pronounce - such as the Welsh village of:
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

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Post by annis » Tue December 30th, 2008, 12:04 am

EC would probably know for sure, but I think that the first use of English in an official document post-Norman Conquest was in the "The Provisions of Oxford" in 1258, the result of a constitiutional reform instigated by a group of noblemen led by Simon de Montfort
Henry III was forced to agree to the appointment of a commission for reform of the government whose proposals were embodied in the "Provisions of Oxford", issued in English, French and Latin.

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Post by Misfit » Tue December 30th, 2008, 12:20 am

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysilio gogogoch
Whew, thats a handful. I thought ours were bad enough with Issaquah, Puyallup, and Kalaloch (anyone want to try?).

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Post by EC2 » Tue December 30th, 2008, 12:46 am

[quote=""annis""]EC would probably know for sure, but I think that the first use of English in an official document post-Norman Conquest was in the "The Provisions of Oxford" in 1258, the result of a constitiutional reform instigated by a group of noblemen led by Simon de Montfort
Henry III was forced to agree to the appointment of a commission for reform of the government whose proposals were embodied in the "Provisions of Oxford", issued in English, French and Latin.[/quote]

EC doesn't have a clue -LOL :confused:
Someone else probably knows. Boswell?
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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Post by pat » Tue December 30th, 2008, 2:02 am

[quote=""EC2""]Still, could be worse. Lots more places in the world that are harder to pronounce - such as the Welsh village of:
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch[/quote]

I used to be able to say that! Took ages to learn but we had a Welsh teacher and he used to say it all the time when we were noisey, by the end of the town name were had to be quiet!


I was born in a village called Wilstead (near Elstow, in Bedfordshire), this village was once called Wilshampstead, it has StoneAge roots and has stood the test of time...but lost the 'hamp' along the road! (by the way...it is pronounced Wilstid, or it was in my yoof!)
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Post by boswellbaxter » Tue December 30th, 2008, 2:15 am

[quote=""EC2""]EC doesn't have a clue -LOL :confused:
Someone else probably knows. Boswell?[/quote]

My understanding is that the Provisions of Oxford themselves were in Latin and French, but that Henry III's proclamation of his acceptance of them was issued in Latin, French, and English. The English version of the proclamation is here (pg. 387):

http://books.google.com/books?id=3L1OAA ... #PPA387,M1
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Post by SonjaMarie » Tue December 30th, 2008, 2:17 am

[quote=""Misfit""]This is fascinating, I had no idea places in the UK were pronounced so differently. Here in Washington, our odd names are mostly from Indian names and very different to pronounce (you can always tell who the tourists are), except for Sequim which is pronounced skwim.[/quote]

I sometimes wonder if I'm even pronouncing the names right and I've been here since '77. I just say them like I hear it on the news, gotta assume they're saying them right at least most of the time!

SM
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Post by SonjaMarie » Tue December 30th, 2008, 2:19 am

[quote=""Misfit""]Whew, thats a handful. I thought ours were bad enough with Issaquah, Puyallup, and Kalaloch (anyone want to try?).[/quote]

Ok the first two I know, never heard of the 3rd! Or if I have, I don't remember. What about Snoqualmie or Quillayute?

And those Welsh have some seriously messed up place names!

SM
Last edited by SonjaMarie on Tue December 30th, 2008, 2:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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