How is it said?

Jandbnerja Hola! Here are Billy and Charlie, sunbathing on our balcony. We've had some dull and even wet days, but now the sun is shining again.

We've visited the Alhambra in Grenada, and the Cuevas de Nerja — the very impressive caves near here, and for something entirely different, I went with my sister to the local short mat bowling club. It was a lot of fun. I might take it up when we get home, largely because everyone was so laid back and friendly. Reflection

How it is said.

For my blog, however, I'm going to do a bit on pronunciation and other complexities of English for Americans, and I'm hoping for some feedback from either side about what puzzles and confuses, and whether it matters. I'm tweeting about these things, and extra examples would be useful.

When reading a book it might not matter if we "hear" a sound wrong, but it bothers me. For years I "heard" chagrin as chargin. When I realized the error, it took a while for the real pronunciation to sound right to me. Has that ever happened to you?

AnothGok2er example was Lymond, the hero of Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles. I, like many readers, heard it as Li-mond.  It was only when Dorothy began talking about the books that we learned it was Lymond. I can't explain that one because the Y does suggest the long sound. It didn't take long for that one to feel right for me.

But it is disconcerting to find we've been hearing a word in a wrong way, isn't it.

When is a peer not a tent, but another is a box?

A big confusion in historical romance is Duke. Americans tend to say dook, but in a British context it's djuke, or juke, as in box.

Another tricky one is marquis/marquess. I always use marquess because it avoids the trap of people thinking it's mar-kee, like the tent. Both spellings are pronounced markwess.

Then there's lieutenant. The American pronunciation is logical, I grant you, but if that officer is British he's a leftenant.

The traps of Geography.

Let's add in some of the trickier counties. Derby is, of course, pronounced Darby, and thus Derbyshire is pronounced Darbyshuh. Huh? (Picture to the right is from the Derbyshire Peak District. ) Peak

When pronouncing counties, emphasis is nearly always on the first syllable, and the shire at the end is always swallowed into a soft afterthought sort of shur or shuh. Worcestershire is WUSStershuh. Yorkshire is YORKshuh.

I don't claim this is logical. In Devon there's a place called Teignmouth, which is at the mouth of the River Teign. The river is pronounced tayn, but the town is pronounced Tinmouth. 

Yes, you now have permission to tear your hair out!


So, do you care whether you're hearing words "in English" when you read an English-set book?

What are your favourite odd English pronunciations? (We'll leave out the Featherstonehaugh, which might be apocryphal.)

Have you ever gone along for ages with a wrong pronunciation in your head?

What odd pronunciations are there in other countries?

A prize! Forbmag

I'm going to pick from among the interesting responses to find a winner for a copy of Forbidden Magic, which will be out soon. There's an excerpt here.

I don't think there are any odd pronunciations there, except perhaps a sheelagh-na-gig, but it is pretty well as it looks. That's an ancient female figure exposing her genitals, and the stone carvings were generally in church walls, which raises all sorts of interesting questions! 

There's more, including an image, here.

You can see why Meg's embarrassed to admit to owning such a thing!

One last thing — I have a Georgian e-story out now — The Demon's Bride. (Not The Demon's Mistress, which is Regency. I didn't set out to confuse. The stories came over 10 years apart, and I'd forgotten the title of he first.)

A Georgian rake, a vicar's daughter, and the rising of the great earth demon Waldborg one dark night in Suffolk, all for $2.99. How can you go wrong? Kindle US has it discounted to $2.39. Enjoy! 

Now for the test. You knew there was a test, yes? Say after me, "The Duke of Derbyshire is not the Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire."

There, that was easy, yes?

All best wishes,









Sorry I can't do the squiggly, but manana, manana, manana is the theme for today, especially as I'm in Spain! Yes, even Devon gets grey in January so we've escaped to Nerja on the southern coast of Spain.

Nerja So here I am, typing on the laptop near patio doors open to the sunny balcony (no, not the one pictured below), already beginning to worry that it'll be a bit too hot this afternoon. After all, I did get a touch of sunburn yesterday.

Not that I'm complaining. Not at all!

The pic on the left isBalcon from the Balcon de Europa, the sea front that is the heart of Nerja, a mere 10 minutes stroll from our apartment.

Perhaps it was the sun, or I just needed a good rest, but I zonked out last night. No problem. I often write my blog in the morning, as I'm 5, now 6, hours ahead of most of the Wench readers. Manana, you see? But then I slept in. I rarely sleep in. I'm a dawn chorus sort of person.

When I crawled out of bed this morning, it was 11 am! Manana's half over!

(I'm reminded of when we visited England a few years ago, exploring for our return, and rented a place. I switched on the TV, trying to figure out the Freebox stations, which wasn't easy as it wasn't working very well. Then I hit a screen that said, "Yesterday will return tomorrow at 8am."

I sat contemplating that with delight. It was like something out of Doctor Who. The Daleks have taken over and condemned the British people into a kind of Groundhog Day. But one in which today is strangely missing….)

I digress, as I love to do. Briana

Random thoughts on Spain and history.

Spain doesn't often feature in historical romance, but then, nor do other continental countries.

If I remember correctly, Spain was the setting for many Mills & Boon romances of my youth, along with Italy and especially Greece. Is Spain still a favoured setting in M&B or Harlequin Presents?

Medieval Spain is notable — El Cid (I must have seen the Charlton Heston film a dozen times — anyone else), Ferdinand and Isabella and such — but then not so. Perhaps it's the ascent of those gloomy Hapsburgs. Or am I wrong on that? Cid

Spain and Italy are similar in some ways but very different in others. Off the top of my head, the fact that italy is known for Dante's inferno, and Spain for Cervantes' Don Quixote has to mean something. Any idea what?

My butterfly mind is led to empires.

Italy was the base for the Roman Empire, a mostly land-based domination bulwarked with strong roads and efficient administration, which brought in taxes from distant points. The cause of its fall is heavily debated, but probably it simply over-extended, as all empires seem doomed to do. Interestingly, though Latin was once widespread, not much of the world now speaks Italian as the native language.

Spain had an empire, too, though not as formidable. It was based on ships and the sea, and on the gold brought back from the "new world." The empire involved land, from California and Florida down through South America. Spain controls none of that now, but Spanish is the language of many cultures.

Forbmag Can you find anything to comment on in the above chatter? Please try, because I'll award a copy of the new edition of Forbidden Magic to my random pick of the best.


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