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.
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?
Another 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. )
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?
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!
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,