25 Jul 2015

I say Paris you say Pah-REE

6:59 am on 25 July 2015

Many speakers and broadcasters struggle with the names of places overseas.


Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Some countries have English versions of their names, eg Spain rather than Espana, Germany instead of Deutschland, the Netherlands for Nederland, etc.

Others are spelt the same, but are said differently in English. "Frahnts", for Fronce", PARRIS for "pah-REE" and "Chilly" for "CHEE-lay".

Usually, we pronounce a place the same way as the locals do. This can happen even when we spell it differently, eg Lyons and Marseilles. Spelt in English with 's' on the end, we nevertheless tend to use the French pronunciation.

Here are Radio New Zealand's policies or preferences for the following placenames. The third item shows the pronunciation using IPA symbols: