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Pronunciation of St. John

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Carlissa I never knew St. John was pronounced as Sinjin until I listened to the audiobook. Does anyone know why it's pronounced this way?


Brenda Clough It's the British thing. The way "Cholmondeley" is pronounced 'chumly', or Worcester is promounced wooster.


Hermione Laake Carlissa wrote: "I never knew St. John was pronounced as Sinjin until I listened to the audiobook. Does anyone know why it's pronounced this way?"

Yes, I too had to learn to pronounce this properly! The English language is mystifying..


Brenda Clough Could not say, Alisha. I'm American myself; I learn Brit like a foreign language.
I had a friend who wanted to name her son St. John, pronounced sinjin. I warned her to select her husband carefully, because it would have to go well with the last name. St. John Rivers sounds okay but the wrong surname would be a disaster.


Tytti Alisha wrote: "@Brenda I did not know that other countries pronounced Worcester differently other than the original English way of saying 'wooster'. :O How else is it pronounced? "

If you have never heard it pronounced how on earth you would know the right way? (And rarely you would even have to know.) I suppose people try to pronounce it based on how it's written and other words that are similar. Haven't you ever learn a foreign language?

Most English speaking people can't pronounce Finnish (or Swedish or German or...) words or names eventhough it would be much easier because unlike English, Finnish is written as it is pronounced.


☯Emily  Ginder I didn't know how it was pronounced until I took a class at NYU. The teacher had lived in England and told us students how it was pronounced. Why is it pronounced that way? Who knows? Why is Worcester pronounced 'wooster?' Why isn't rooster spelled Rorcester? Even the English don't know.


Gayle Wekenman I don't know why, but I have always loved it. Please, don't take SinJin away.


message 8: by Jen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jen I'm sure even Americans say coff for cough, ruff for rough and bau for bough - don't you? So same question - why?
Our language, our pronunciation since time immemorial. :)


message 9: by Jen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jen ☯Emily wrote: "I didn't know how it was pronounced until I took a class at NYU. The teacher had lived in England and told us students how it was pronounced. Why is it pronounced that way? Who knows? Why is Worc..."

Emily - Worcester is pronounced wuss-ter not woo-ster.


Brenda Clough The pronunciation of English is so famously idiosyncratic that there is no point in worrying about it or trying to explain it. It is the way it is. You want a rational language pronunciation, go to Latin.


Carlissa Thanks for all your comments. I know English has lots of weird spellings, but I thought there may be another reason for St. John being pronounced the way it is. I've never heard any other Saint's name pronounced other than the way I expected it.


☯Emily  Ginder Jen wrote: "☯Emily wrote: "I didn't know how it was pronounced until I took a class at NYU. The teacher had lived in England and told us students how it was pronounced. Why is it pronounced that way? Who know..."

Well, that depends on where you live. Are you talking about Worcester in England or in Massachusetts or both? Anyway, the English language is crazy.


Krista D. I'm from Newfoundland. Lock French, Scots, Brits, and Irish on an island for 300 years and you get 500,000 people sounding like drunken hummingbirds :D

I still can't pronounce "worcestershire sauce" right :D


message 14: by K. (new) - rated it 5 stars

K. Velk I am one of those (odd) people who always have fun with this. When I first read Jan Eyre I think I read an intro that explained that it was "Sinjin," or maybe our teacher told us? My favorite examples of English people disconnecting spelling from pronounciation are the surnames Featherstonehaugh ("Fanshaw") Mainwaring ("Mannering") and of course there's the famous seat of the Dukes of Rutland, Belvoir ("Beaver") Castle.


Gayle Wekenman K. wrote: "I am one of those (odd) people who always have fun with this. When I first read Jan Eyre I think I read an intro that explained that it was "Sinjin," or maybe our teacher told us? My favorite ex..."

Not odd, you are interesting.


message 16: by K. (new) - rated it 5 stars

K. Velk Gee, thanks Gayle. That's the nicest thing anyone has said to me on Goodreads so faar (not that everyone hasn't been nice). I will add that in my new book (ahem, it is "Goodreads" after all) my main character, a 15-year-old boy from contemporary suburban Dallas, runs into various awkward social situations because of his struggles with English names. (He is transported back in time to England in 1928 on a kind of time travel rescue mission). He meets a boy named "Ginger," a girl named "Lettice," a butler called "Millions," etc. you get the picture.Up, Back, and Away

Forgive the plug, but as I said, English names are a particular fancy of mine and here's proof!


Mirkat Pronunciation issues like this come up in American lit, too. I recall when I was taking a graduate seminar on Faulkner and learning that the last name "Beauchamp" in his novels was to be pronounced "BEE-chum" and not as someone in France would interpret it.


☯Emily  Ginder In the USA, you can never tell by looking how to pronounce a city or town with a familiar name. None of the following towns have the typical pronunciation: Cairo, IL, Palestine, TX and Bogota, NJ. I just visited a town in Texas that is spelled, Boerne, but is pronounced as "Bernie." I'm sure there are lots more.


message 19: by Doreen (last edited Jun 08, 2013 02:23PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Doreen Over in the States on a visit I was slightly mind-boggled to hear the name "Cecil", which in English is pronounced "Sessil", being pronounced "Seesle". And "Bernard" over here has the stress on the first syllable, not the second.

Actually, I was at school with a lad who pronounced his name "Featherstonehaugh" not "Fanshaw". Just goes to show.

Oh, and I've just had a thought - maybe in our bumbling English way we were trying to pronounce St John as if it were French - Saint Jean?


Mirkat ☯Emily wrote: "None of the following towns have the typical pronunciation: Cairo, IL, Palestine, TX and Bogota, NJ...."

Cairo, NY = "KAY-roh." How is the IL "Cairo" pronounced?

Doreen, I've also noticed in the UK, Ralph is pronounced like "Rafe" (in the US, we pronounce the "L" and the "a" is short, as it "hat"), and "Maurice" is pronounced the way we pronounce "Morris" ("Maurice" = "more-EESE").


☯Emily  Ginder Mirkat wrote: "☯Emily wrote: "None of the following towns have the typical pronunciation: Cairo, IL, Palestine, TX and Bogota, NJ...."

Cairo, NY = "KAY-roh." How is the IL "Cairo" pronounced?

Doreen, I've also..."


Cairo, IL is pronounced like Cairo, NY.


message 22: by K. (new) - rated it 5 stars

K. Velk Doreen wrote: "Over in the States on a visit I was slightly mind-boggled to hear the name "Cecil", which in English is pronounced "Sessil", being pronounced "Seesle". And "Bernard" over here has the stress on th..." You know, that guess about St. John = St. Jean but messed up is kind of brilliant. Did Mr. Featherstonehaugh really pronounce all four syllables?


☯Emily  Ginder My question when I read the book is why anyone would name a child St. John, regardless how it is pronounced. Do the English name their children St. Paul or St. Peter?


Brenda Clough I would say that it is in the old tradition of using a surname as a first name. Names seem to move steadily from the one to the other; look at how many popular names of our day started out as surnames; Madison, Nelson, etc.


message 25: by Rick (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rick It's not English that you should be complaining about, but French. If you say Saint Jean, quick enough, you can understand, how you get to sinjin. Just as Saint Clair, becomes Sinclair, in Scots English, via Norman French. It's French derived words, in these cases, rather than English.

Gloucester, Bicester and Worcester etc are just down to local accent and on occasion, a standard/academic spelling that failed to take that into account.

There are, of course, places where, even the inhabitants disagree on how to pronounce their town's name, like Shrewsbury.


☯Emily  Ginder There are at least two ways people in the US pronounce New Orleans and the state of Missouri.


Gayle Wekenman K. wrote: "Gee, thanks Gayle. That's the nicest thing anyone has said to me on Goodreads so faar (not that everyone hasn't been nice). I will add that in my new book (ahem, it is "Goodreads" after all) my m..."

On my list.


Mirkat ☯Emily wrote: "There are at least two ways people in the US pronounce New Orleans and the state of Missouri."

I've got family members in Missouri who say "misery," but I think they're [mostly] joking.


☯Emily  Ginder Mirkat, then there is three ways to pronounce Missouri!


Blayz It always amuses me that Bicester is pronounced Bister..so why isn't Cirencester pronounced Sister?


message 31: by Jen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jen ☯Emily wrote: "Jen wrote: "☯Emily wrote: "I didn't know how it was pronounced until I took a class at NYU. The teacher had lived in England and told us students how it was pronounced. Why is it pronounced that wa..."

England from where the language originates. :)


Penny Krista wrote: "I'm from Newfoundland. Lock French, Scots, Brits, and Irish on an island for 300 years and you get 500,000 people sounding like drunken hummingbirds :D

I still can't pronounce "worcestershire sauc..."


Not rocket science! Wooster sauce.


message 33: by K. (new) - rated it 5 stars

K. Velk I live in Vermont and you really have to feel sorry for the Republican party here. They have a hard time fielding candidates for the big offices because the odds against them are so long. They nominated a guy (can't remember his name) some years back who was recently arrived from out of state. One of his potential opponents (a quasi-joke candidate) was ye olde Vermont farmer. During a debate, the farmer quizzed the republican about how to pronounce the names of a couple of Vermont towns: "Calais" and "Charlotte" (I think). The poor republican said the names the way people would, if they were familiar with the place in France called "Ca-lay" and the city in NC. In VT, however, they are "Callous" and "Sharlot". You had to feel a little sorry for him.


Mirkat Penny wrote: "Not rocket science! Wooster sauce."

What happened to the "shire"? I thought it was "WOOS-ter-shurr."


message 35: by Rick (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rick In the UK, it's called Worcester Sauce, or even Lea & Perrins


☯Emily  Ginder Mirkat wrote: "Penny wrote: "Not rocket science! Wooster sauce."

What happened to the "shire"? I thought it was "WOOS-ter-shurr.""


That was what I was going to say. You need to add the shire, which makes it more difficult to say.


Penny ☯Emily wrote: "Mirkat wrote: "Penny wrote: "Not rocket science! Wooster sauce."

What happened to the "shire"? I thought it was "WOOS-ter-shurr.""

That was what I was going to say. You need to add the shire, w..."


Rick wrote: "In the UK, it's called Worcester Sauce, or even Lea & Perrins"

Thanks Rick :)
It only seems to be people outside of the Uk that add the shire bit!!


message 38: by Gary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gary Van Cott Not only town names from England are pronounced strangely. Its BER-lin NH and and El Da-Ray-Doh (El Dorado) KS. Even the state I live in Nevada, is pronounced in the state in a way that isn't like it would be in Spanish. I don't know how to write it but both versions are here:
http://www.howjsay.com/index.php?word...


message 39: by Towser (new)

Towser Message 20 refers to English ponunciation of Cecil. I worked for a boss whose surname was Cecil pronounced Siss-il. My mother's second cousin had the first name Cecil pronounced Siss-il and a girlfiend's mother (fifty years ago!) was named Cecilie pronounced Siss-illie. So I have never heard the name pronounced Sess-il.

And then there is Greenwich and Woolwich now "mispronounced" by newcomers. They always used to be Grin-idge and Wool-idge. And the word "conduit" has changed as well; why is it not still pronounced "Kun-dit?" I have to accept change, I suppose, but if you come across Conduit Street in a book written before 1960, remember how to say it.


☯Emily  Ginder Actually, I know several people in the US named Cecil and they pronounce it See-sill, with emphasis on the first syllable. It rhymes with diesel (if you pronounce diesel with a long e.)


Mirkat ☯Emily wrote: "Actually, I know several people in the US named Cecil and they pronounce it See-sill, with emphasis on the first syllable. It rhymes with diesel (if you pronounce diesel with a long e.)"

Now you have me wondering if I pronounce "diesel" differently from the way you're pronouncing it. For me, the "s" in "diesel" is a "z" sound.


message 42: by ☯Emily (last edited Jun 21, 2013 11:08AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

☯Emily  Ginder It is pronounced both ways, according to my dictionary. The first pronunciation listed is with the 'z' sound and the second is the 's.' So I guess I should say that Cecil rhymes with diesel, if you pronounce diesel with a 's' sound!

BTW, I like meerkats!


AndreaH Brenda wrote: "It's the British thing. The way "Cholmondeley" is pronounced 'chumly', or Worcester is promounced wooster."

Alisha wrote: "Online it's says this: Sinjin is actually an attempt to represent phonetically the now rare name "St. John."

@Brenda I did not know that other countries pronounced Worcester differently other than..."


If you live in Massachusetts, its Wist-a or Woos-tah


message 44: by Penny (last edited Jun 23, 2013 08:52AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Penny ☯Emily wrote: "Actually, I know several people in the US named Cecil and they pronounce it See-sill, with emphasis on the first syllable. It rhymes with diesel (if you pronounce diesel with a long e.)"

The most common pronounciation here (UK) for Cecil is Sess-il.
Diesel would be pronounced Deezal


message 45: by Towser (new)

Towser I continue to be puzzled by pronunciation of Cecil. I have now looked elsewhere on the web and all say that it is pronounced in England as Sess-il. My own experience of Cecils is limited but includes my family who pronounced it Siss-'l. A colleague in the sixties pronounced his surname the same way. My teachers pronounced the Elizibethan statesman's name as Siss'l. Could it be that those people who are sure that it is pronounced Sessil have never met a Siss'l? Or could it be another change in pronunciation?

Similarly, I find that I do not pronounce Greenwich, Coventry or Bromley as they do on the radio. I can accept that when strangers move into a town they pronounce it as locals do not. As they come to outnumber and outlive the natives, the new pronunciation becomes the correct one. I live in a place (Felpham) which has changed during my lifetime and I now use the new way of saying it. All the same, nobody would condone pronouncing Hawick or Happisburgh the way they are spelt. Come to that, nobody is suggesting Lund'n should become Lon-don. Oh, well! What do I know about anything?


message 46: by Rick (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rick As far as Cecil as a surname is concerned, I go with Siss-'l, as in the Salisburys, until corrected. As a first name, I would go with Sess-il, again, until told otherwise.

But then, very few people people pronounce Charing (Cross), nephew or hotel, the way I do these days...:)


Penny Towser wrote: "I continue to be puzzled by pronunciation of Cecil. I have now looked elsewhere on the web and all say that it is pronounced in England as Sess-il. My own experience of Cecils is limited but includ..."

How do you pronounce Greenwich, Coventry and Bromley then Towser?? I am intrigued?


message 48: by Towser (new)

Towser Grin-idge
Cuventry
Brumley

All right! I'll own up to telling less than the truth about Bromley. Elderly relations called it Brumley; I never did. Let's add another one. Cosham in Hampshire always used to be pronounced Coss'm or Cozz'm. I still call it that. Now most of the people who have moved there in recent decades call it Cosh'm. If you want reassurance that not all pronunciations change, listen to the way Millwall supporters chant their name at football matches... neither double L is actually articulated; they are replaced with a sound I do not know how to write.


Linda Kelly Am always fascinated in the different way we pronounce names. For instance here in UK we pronounce Colin as Coll-in whereas in USA it is pronounced Co-lin. Vive La Difference!


- ̗̀ saku ̖́- I am German and when I first listened to the (German) audiobook, I thought it was just sloppy pronunciation on the speakers' part, which is a sadly common thing. (Dear other audiobooks: It's "Jane Eyre", not "Chehn Ayer". It's also "Catherine Morland", not "Kessrin Morrlund".)
Then again, I was not surprised to hear that "Sinjin" was actually the right pronunciation. there is a village called Sondermoning close to where I live. In regional dialect, we call it "Sumering". It regularly confuses tourists.


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