On Thu, 17 Jun 2004 16:24:42 -0700, Gabriella F. Scelta
<gabriella@...> wrote:

> I haven't read all of these threads (so many!) but the Hamtramck issue
> makes me think of all those towns in eastern massachusetts that get
> consistently misspelled and mispronounced - Worchester becomes

Although your spelling makes sense, the "h" was dropped (probably) many
centuries ago; likewise "Gloucester". The "o" in "Worcester" is about like
the vowel in "foot". (I lived in Worcester in the earlier 1940s.) Afaik,
the "cester" suffix comes from Latin, perhaps a variation of "castr.."
(camp?). The American pronunciations are probably fairly close to those
which England established long ago.

Of course, some English names have changed considerably over the years.
The BBC probably still has a guide to pronouncing personal and place
names; "Cholmondeley" becomes "Chumley", iirc, for instance.

In general, only people from New England and New York State (best guess)
know how to pronounce "Worcester". It is almost guaranteed to "throw"
visitors, except for the well-educated.

Wooster, Ohio, is, afaik, pronounced about as one would expect; not the
same as "Worcester".

> [...] I'm sure Nicholas will
> back me up on this, being in Waltham ("walthmm" or "wall-tham"
> depending on who you are talking too).

Apparently, "Walth'm" is the educated pronunciation (stress on the filst
syllable), but I call it Wall-tham, with roughly equal stress on both
syllables, the latter rhyming with "ham". In that respect I use the
commonplace pronunciation that doesn't risk sounding socially isolated.


> I guess my point is - i'm not entirely convinced that proper nouns are
> even worth discussing as far as spelling goes...

Interesting point.

> ----------------------------------------------------
> Gabriella F. Scelta
> gabriella@...
> 520.820.1497
> IntelliGirl Design
> www.intelligirldesign.com

Nicholas Bodley /*|*\ Waltham, Mass.
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