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01 December



I’m no professional and have no one helping me out on pronunciations before the podcast is published. Now that I read Andy’s email I can see where he is coming from, proof readers would be welcome. I will continue to do my best on the episodes. Guest podcastes are always welcome!

Dear History Podcast

I have been downloading your podcasts for some months now and having just listened to the second cast on Elizabeth I I felt that I had to write on the subject of pronunciation. Obviously you do a lot of preparation for the casts but equally you do not spend any time researching pronunciation. As a result, your frequent and often embarrassing mispronunciations undermine the integrity of your efforts.

For example, the French city England had lost was Calais (pronounced Ca-lay); her suitor was the Earl of Leicester (pronounced Les-ter), and her courtier was Walsingham (Wal-sing-ham). Her rival to the throne was Mary, Queen of Scots (not Queen Mary of Scots).

Recent other sins have included pronouncing Greenwich as Green Witch not the correct Gren-itch.

Please try and get this right otherwise I will have to stop listening to the podcasts out of sheer irritation.

Yours faithfully
Andy D.


7 Responses to “Mispronunciation”

  1. Simon Rogers says:

    Dear History Podcast

    I thoroughly enjoyed the Elizabeth Pt 2 podcast and the minor mispronunciations do nothing to affect the quality or content therein. Given the global age that we live in, it is unfair to ask someone to be able to pronounce everything like a local and I would hardly describe it as a ‘sin’. The narrator will usually apologise in advance for any mispronounciation that may occur with complex names which is good enough for any listener. I suggest that if Andy D is that irritated by it, he should create his own!

  2. Bruno Barcelos says:

    Dear Andy D – please bite your tongue. this podcast rocks because makes history so attractive and accessible.

    thanks, and keep up the hard and good work!


  3. Eamonn Ryan says:

    Dear History Podcast
    I have to agree with Andy. I have only recently subscribed to the podcasts and am listening to them in any order I please, which is great. I have become used to hearing mildly annoying mispronounciations but I just listening to HP72 on Grace O’Malley and felt to compelled to sit down and write a mail on the problem. Then I saw that Andy had raised the topic already, so I’ll make some comments here instead.

    As the frapper mapper shows, the podcast has a globel audience, and of course it deals with global topics. But the characters described in these podcasts are local to some of your listeners. Grace O’Malley, or Granuaile is someone whose place in history I am roughly familiar with since early childhood, just as any American will be with Abraham Lincoln or Jesse James. That familiarity makes the podcast especially interesting for me. But when the pronouncation is badly off it really is a little hard to listen to. It also does American listeners a disservice I think, because when they travel to Europe and ask for directions to Gran-u-ella’s castle, or some town in England or France, people won’t know what they are talking about.

    In podcast HR72 Granuaile (the pirate queen), was pronounced, as “Gran-u-ella” whereas it should be “Grawn-ya-wail”. I can see why this would happen. But there must be a way of getting it right. My suggestions:
    – try Googling the mysterious word together with the words ‘Pronouncation’ and/or ‘phonetic’. It works for Granuaile.
    – try
    – try baby names sites that include phonetic pronouncation
    – perhaps find a way to ask your global audience.

    Keep up the good work.

    Eamonn (Pronounced A-MON)

  4. kfjerk says:

    I am a Ezibeth freek, and i did not know half the things you say. It realy does not mater.

  5. sean says:

    Kudos on the body of work. There are many mundane mispronounciations like “venereal” disease as “veneral” disease in the “floating whorehouse” episode, as well as “Louisville” where you pronounced the “s”, and you’ve even mispronounced “mispronunciation” as “mispronounciation”. It kind of makes me think you’re doing it on purpose.

  6. SIP says:

    Granted, you may make occasional mistakes pronouncing certain words and names, but I totally enjoy your podcasts. The Cleopatra episode did contain a mispronounced name when you discussed Caesarion, the son of Caesar.

    Keep up the good work, a quick check of pronunciation would not hurt.

  7. Boaby says:

    My vote goes to Andy on this issue. While mispronunciations of places and people are not unforgivable, attempting correct pronunciation is the best way of demonstrating respect for the fact of linguistic, temporal and cultural difference. When we discuss history we are often talking about people, places and events in a culture we do not understand as an insider. When we ignore this fact and use sounds for a foreign word that only make sense in ‘our’ language we are not fully accepting the ethic of truthfulness embedded in historical knowledge and research. Could I suggest you consider starting a list of words that you hope to use as part of a podcast where listeners might suggest better pronunciations.
    P.S. I have just listened to your pod on “De Dolchstoßlegende” i.e. German ‘stab in the back myth’. Now that’s a hard word to get right but easier ones in the same pod that were incorrect were when for ‘Weimar’ you said “why-mar” instead of “Vy-Mar” and less importantly when for ‘Versailles’ you said “Versai-z” instead of “‘Versai”. Hope this helps a little. Keep ’em coming….

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