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Archiver > CORNISH > 2002-07 > 1026819075

From: "Thelma Cudmore" <>
Subject: Re: [CON] Pronunciation of place names
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2002 04:31:15 -0700
References: <>

Dear Listers,

I don't think there is any way a Yank can properly pronounce anything
Cornish. Just as there are various dialects in UK, i.e. Yorkshire,
Cockney, Cornish etc.; there are MANY dialects here in America. Having been
raised in southwestern Arizona, I can pick up a Mexican accent at the drop
of a hat, but there is a dialect in Louisiana called Cajun I have a great
deal of difficulty understanding.

----- Original Message -----
From: <>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, July 15, 2002 11:42 AM
Subject: Re: [CON] Pronunciation of place names

> One place name which is continually misspelled is CAMBORNE, Cornwall.
> There is another place in Cambridgeshire spelled Cambourne which is
> hundred miles away.

They are spelled differently, but are they pronounced the same?

> New rhymes with ewe, few, etc not shoe or too.

To me, there is no difference. I say the above the same way, though perhaps
those in New England states in the northeast of America would pronounce them

> Many vowel sounds have become so altered around the world that it would be
impossible to get it right.

No place on earth has the Queen's English been so altered than here in
America. We have so many different nationalities here that individual
pronounciation is shaped not only by our own heritage, but by our
neighborhoods (neighbourhoods?) and prejudices of our families. My
grandfather, whose parents immigrated from Truro, spoke fluent Spanish. He
started teaching me the language when I was a child, but when I asked my mom
for "leche" instead of milk, she told my grandfather (her father) not to
teach me Spanish because someone might think I was a Mexican. (Being one of
six Anglos in her school, she was victimized by the Mexican majority and did
not like them.) She has since regretted me not learning Spanish, as it is
widely spoken in my area of California. Also, when I lived in El Paso,
Texas, I was unable to find work for some time because I was not bi-lingual.

> It is so easy to spot foreigners from out of Cornwall when they try to
> pronounce our place names. The only way for them to get pronunciation
right > is to come here, listen hard and try to copy. Even then most
> people rarely get them all right.

With few exceptions, only young children really listen. As we grow older we
don't hear the nuances in language; therefore learning a new dialect or
language is quite difficult for us. At least that's been my experience.
It's much easier for me to pronounce Spanish or Navajo (native American
tribe) words than British English, though I can do fairly well at Aussie.
(Though the "Croc Hunter" I see on TV (the telly) drives me wild. I find
his dialect very annoying.) Perhaps there are dialects in Australia also?

Linguistics is a fascinating study. If I spoke on the List the way I really
speak, you would find it almost unintelligible. In fact (smile) even my
children correct me, such as:
Turn off the light, not close it off.
Heat up the water, not hot it up.
Visit, not go walkabout (thanks to my Aussie reading)
Chair and store, not chay-er and sto-wer. (There is a big difference
between Texan "slanguage" and Arizonian. Texans drop endings of words where
Arizonians drawl them out. (I can just hear the responses I'll get from
Texans on that one!) Remember Cousins, there are also differences in Texas
pronounciations, depending on what part of the state you're from. I never
got further east than El Paso, and my understanding is based on that

Even the original message from our Florida Cousin was surprising to me. We
refer to the Quays as the Keys. I did not know they were still spelled
"Quay." (Thanks to the classic American movie with Bogart and Bacall, "Key

Cornish-L continues to educate and enlighten me, even in my own country. My
fellow Yanks will understand "Only in America.........."

> Peter D Williams :-: Map Carrek Dhu
> Ponsanooth, Cornwall
> Onen hag oll.

My thanks to my Cornish Cousins all over the world for enriching my
knowledge. Linguistics are fascinating!

Thelma Lawson Cudmore
Benai Hla-Kish (Navajo name)
2nd generation Cornish-American

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