I live near to a place called Fernyhalgh Lane and after more than 25 years I am still none the wiser as to the correct pronunciation for it. Even people who have been born in the vicinity pronounce it differently. One thing is certain though halgh is not pronounced halgh. This got me thinking about all of the other places that are pronounced in a different way to the way that they are spelled.
A few years ago we went on holiday to the North East of England and stayed near to Alnwick which is pronounced without the l and without the w. I’ve listened to countless America tourists struggle with the word Worcester. Then there’s Magdalene College at Cambridge University which is pronounced Maudlyn.
So I wondered how many places and things there were that required some level of local knowledge to aid you in the correct pronunciation. After a little bit of searching I came across what is possibly the longest Wikipedia entry I have ever seen:
How does anyone stand a chance of getting it right?