Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
12:00 AM 8th June 2024

The Most Commonly Mispronounced Places In The North Of England

The North of England is best known for its friendly people and lively areas and suburbs. However, the region also has a reputation for its challenging place names that even the locals find tricky!

With silent letters and sounds that catch you off guard, it’s no wonder people often stumble on them.

Sylvia Johnson, Head of Methodology at language learning platform, Preply, comments:
“A key reason some streets, villages, and even rivers are more challenging to pronounce than others is the result of historical linguistic evolution. Several place names often reflect a mix of old languages such as Old English, Norman, Norse, and Celtic, which have unique letter combinations that don’t follow typical pronunciation rules.

“On top of this, variations in local dialects also contribute to the complexity of pronouncing certain place names, which make them tricky to pronounce correctly even for English speakers who are unfamiliar with the region.”

To lend a helping hand, the team has developed a useful guide to set the record straight on some of the region’s most commonly mispronounced destinations.

Cheadle Hulme, Greater Manchester

Common Mispronunciation: “Cheadle Hulm-ee”
How to Say It: “Cheadle Hyoom”

Cheadle Hulme often perplexes visitors and locals alike with its “Hulme” part. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not “Hulm-ee” but rather “Hyoom”.
In many cases, like with ‘Hulme’ the ‘L’ serves to elongate the vowel sound. However, this rule isn’t universal, as seen in words like ‘talk’, ‘half’, and ‘calf’.

Maghull, Merseyside

Common Mispronunciation: “Mag-hull”
How to Say It: “Mag-ull”

Maghull, a town in Sefton, Merseyside, adds to the list of head-scratchers with its silent ‘h’. Like Cheadle Hulme, Maghull has a sneaky silent letter that makes the name sound totally different from how it’s spelt.

To many people’s surprise, it’s actually “Mag-ull '' not “Mag-hull”.

Lymm, Cheshire

Common Mispronunciation: “Lim-muh or “Lime”
How to Say It: “Lim”

The Cheshire village Lymm looks a lot trickier to pronounce than it actually is. In fact, it’s just “Lim”.

The double ‘M’ and ‘Y’ instead of ‘I' can lead to some confusion.

The ‘Y’ sound can be particularly difficult to master as it differs depending on the word.

For instance, ‘Y’ in the words ‘Gym’ and ‘Lyric’ is pronounced ‘i’, whereas in the words ‘eye’, ‘cry’ and ‘thyme’ it is pronounced I.

Huyton, Merseyside

Common Mispronunciation: “Hoo-ee-ton”
How to Say It: “Hy-ton”

Huyton, a town near Liverpool, is often mispronounced by those not from the area. The correct pronunciation is simply “Hy-ton”.

Despite its appearance, this name is straightforward once you know how. Just remember, the “uy” sounds like the “i” in “kite”.

Accrington, Lancashire

Common Mispronunciation: “Ack-ring-ton”
How to Say It: “Ak-krington”

People often add an extra syllable to Accrington in Lancashire. It’s correctly pronounced “Ak-krington”, with a short “a” at the start.

Stressing the right part of the word is key, particularly when tackling challenging names like ‘Accrington’.

Altrincham, Greater Manchester

Common Mispronunciation: “Al-trin-cham”
How to Say It: “Al-trin-gum”

This market town in Greater Manchester might look like it’s pronounced with a “ch” sound, but actually, it’s “Al-trin-gum”. The correct pronunciation retains the older spelling, which commonly throws people off.

The name ‘Altrincham’ derives from Old English, meaning ‘The homestead of Aldhere’s people’.

Bury, Greater Manchester

Common Mispronunciation: “Beh-ree”
How to Say It: “Buh-ree”

The pronunciation of Bury has been a topic of debate for several years. To many peoples’ surprise, it’s actually pronounced ‘Buh-ree’, not ‘Beh-ree’.

That being said, the pronunciation of this borough differs for each region of the UK. Locals tend to adopt the traditional pronunciation, whereas those from other areas within the North West region tend to take the ‘Berry’ route.

Cholmondeley, Cheshire

Common Mispronunciation: “Dolmondeley”
How to Say It: "Chum-ley"

Cholmondeley is arguably the most difficult pronunciation to wrap your head around. Perplexingly, it's pronounced ‘Chumley’!

Its slightly long-winded spelling, derived from Old English, gives the impression that there are three syllables, but in fact, only two are required to pronounce this village correctly.

Bacup, Lancashire

Common Mispronunciation: “Ba-cup”
How to Say It: "Bay-cup"

When many people approach the word ‘Bacup’, they tend to slip up at the first syllable. Instead of the commonly mispronounced “Ba-cup”, the correct way to say it is “Bay-cup.”

A great way to remember is that the “a” sounds like the “a” in “day”, making it “Bay-cup”.