Perfect Your British Pronunciation-Uk Cities And Towns Ep 744

A young woman with a surprised expression. Stop guessing how to say it-British pronunciation with certainty!

📝 Author: Hilary

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💬 2993 words ▪️ ⏳ Reading Time 15 min

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Practise English Pronunciation & Gain Confidence in Everyday Conversations

#BritishPronunciation 🇬🇧 Can you pronounce UK city names correctly? Today's lesson is all about improving your British pronunciation skills. We learn to say some tricky British place names the right way! It's not just about places in the UK, we cover silent letters and explain some of the odd British language rules needed to avoid mispronunciation in everyday conversations.

Speak english more confidently:

  • Learn How-to Pronounce Difficult English Place Names effortlessly!
  • Advanced Vocabulary and Grammar Tips to enhance your English language fluency!
  • Expert Review and Tutorial on British Counties Pronunciation—never mispronounce Leicester or Worcestershire again!

✔ Lesson transcript:

Good pronunciation is essential for effective communication.
⭐ Emma Watson

Improve your English pronunciation with tricky British place names. Learn pronunciation rules to say UK towns and cities correctly. Boost your confidence with practical examples and tips.

A lesson on English place name pronunciation is a great place to start practising with some of the odd English language rules that can make learning British pronunciation a real challenge for language learners.

Every accent is a journey into the heart of a language.
⭐ F. Scott Fitzgerald

🌟 Perfect for Anyone Looking to Improve English Pronunciation and Listening Skills! 🌟 Start refining your pronunciation today! Follow and subscribe to our podcast for more lessons and tips.

More About This Lesson

Enhance your UK cultural understanding with today's lesson on pronouncing British place names correctly!

Pronunciation is the key to eloquence.
⭐ Anonymous

You get a lot out of this lesson, not just being able to pronounce British place names accurately:

  1. You improve pronunciation for daily use and visits to the UK.
  2. You learn the sounds of complex names, easing communication.
  3. You gain cultural insights into the historical origins of names.
  4. You receive practical examples to help with tricky pronunciations.
  5. You discover pronunciation rules that apply to various names.
  6. You become aware of common mistakes in pronunciation.
  7. You prepare for real-world interactions in English settings.
  8. You understand regional differences within UK place names.
The way we pronounce words shapes how others perceive us.
⭐ David Crystal

Here are the key takeaways from the lesson:

  1. Pronunciation of UK Cities Like a Local: Learn how to say 'Leicester' and other tricky names correctly.
  2. Understanding Silent Letters and Odd Spellings: Discover why 'Norfolk' is pronounced without the 'L'.
  3. Regional Variations: Explore how pronunciation can vary across different regions in the UK.
  4. Impact of Historical Influences: Learn about the Norse and Norman influences on place names.

Visit Adept English now and start your journey to flawless British English pronunciation! 🌍

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. How do you pronounce 'Leicester' and 'Leicestershire'? 'Leicester' is pronounced like 'Lester,' ignoring the 'ice' in the middle. Similarly, 'Leicestershire' sounds like 'Lestershire.' Remember, this simplification is due to historical influences from Roman occupation, which introduced the 'cester' ending from the Latin 'castra,' meaning a camp.
  2. Why do some British place names end in 'burgh,' and how should they be pronounced? The 'burgh' ending in place names like 'Edinburgh' is pronounced as 'bruh.' This ending comes from Anglo-Saxon English, where 'burg' meant a fortification or fortified town. This historical layer adds complexity to pronunciation, distinguishing it from more straightforward suffixes like 'borough' which is pronounced 'buh.'
  3. Can you explain the pronunciation differences between 'borough' and 'burgh' in British place names? Certainly! Place names ending in 'borough' are pronounced with a simple 'uh' sound, as in 'Farnborough' or 'Middlesborough.' In contrast, 'burgh' endings sound like 'bruh,' as seen in 'Edinburgh.' The variety in pronunciation reflects the diverse origins and influences in the English language.
  4. What are some examples of British place names with silent letters, and how are they pronounced? Silent letters often appear in British place names, adding a layer of complexity. For instance, 'Norfolk' and 'Suffolk' are pronounced without the 'l' sound, sounding like 'Norfork' and 'Suffork.' Similarly, 'Warwick' ignores the 'w,' pronouncing it 'Warrick.'
  5. How should one approach learning the pronunciation of complex British place names? To improve British place names, it's beneficial to understand their origins and common phonetic patterns. Engage with resources like Adept English's Consonants Pronunciation Course, which offers detailed guidance. Practice regularly, and try repeating the names aloud using examples from reliable learning platforms. Remember, frequent exposure and pronunciation practice are key to fluency and confidence.

Today's lesson on British place names is like cracking a code—each correct pronunciation sharpens your key to understanding UK culture.

Most Unusual Words:

  • Leicester: A city in the UK, pronounced like "Lester."
  • Cester: From Latin, meaning "camp," used in place names.
  • Edinburgh: A city in Scotland, pronounced "Edin-bruh."
  • Borough: A word meaning a fortified town, pronounced "buh-ruh."
  • Loughborough: A town pronounced as "Luff-buh-ruh."
  • Norfolk: A county in the UK with a silent "L."
  • Suffolk: Another county with a silent "L" at the end.
  • Warwick: A place pronounced "Worrick," ignoring the "W."
  • Greenwich: A place in London, pronounced "Grennich."
  • Chiswick: A district in London, pronounced "Chizzick."

Most Frequently Used Words:


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Transcript: Perfect Your British Pronunciation-UK Cities and Towns

Explore common UK town city name pronunciations

Hi there. Have you ever been puzzled by how to say British place names correctly? That’s the names of our towns and cities. Today, we're going to sharpen your pronunciation skills, focusing especially on those tricky names that might not sound the way they look. Let’s increase your knowledge of pronunciation, which is important for anyone interested in British culture or planning a stay in the UK. We haven’t practised English pronunciation for a while, so let’s cover some rules that will help you pronounce English place names correctly. English is a funny language, which has grown up over centuries and which is a mix of many other languages. This means our pronunciation isn’t logical, because words can come from a whole range of different origins, different languages. And British place names can be particularly challenging. Today I’m focusing on British ones, which may be helpful for places in other English speaking countries, but if you want a lesson specifically on how to pronounce major towns in other English speaking countries, I can do that too. Just get in touch and let me know!

Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.

The Adept English Consonant Pronunciation Course is waiting for you

First, a quick tip: if you’re finding your pronunciation is holding you back, Adept English is here to help. We offer a comprehensive English Consonants Pronunciation Course. It includes audio and ebook material that to make those tricky pronunciations feel natural. And this course runs through all the difficult rules concerning English consonants - all the things that people get wrong. It’s all in our usual ‘Listen&Learn’ course format. So if you want to start refining your pronunciation skills today, go to our Courses page on the website at

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Let’s not start with Welsh place names!

So difficult to pronounce place names - names of cities and towns in the UK, mainly England. The ones that could be a challenge. I’ll try to group them together so that there are similar ones - so that you can learn some useful rules. I’m leaving Wales out for today. That’s a whole other ballgame - meaning that’s something else entirely and related to the fact that there is a Welsh language, so it’s not necessarily English you’re dealing with Welsh place names! Just to give you a flavour - somewhere I once lived in Wales? Llanelli. That’s spelt LLANELLI. One more? ‘Cwmbran’ - that’s CWMBRAN. You see what I mean? These are a whole other level of difficult - and many English people struggle and mispronounced Welsh place names.


Unlock the secrets of British places-improve your pronunciation today!

©️ Adept English 2024

Most British place names are easy to pronounce

So major cities in the UK first off - I’ll just list them. These are ones you’ll probably know, even if you’ve only heard of the football teams! And most are pronounced logically, as they are spelt, sounding out every letter. So these are the easier ones.

London, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leeds. So those ones are easy because they’re said exactly as they’re spelt. The double F in ‘Sheffield’ is pronounced as one letter and the same at the end of Cardiff. And on the words where there are a number of syllables, the emphasis is on the first syllable. Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham. You hear that? So far so good. So the vast majority of British place names are pronounced exactly as they’re spelt. I’m going to focus on the one that aren’t, the ones that you may find difficulty with.

Where place names start to get difficult - Leicester, Worcester and Gloucester?

So I’m looking down a list of towns, major towns and cities in the UK, in size order. Some of the ones that might give you difficulty? First is Leicester - that’s LEICESTER Let’s tackle Leicester first - you may have heard of ‘Leicester City’ Football Club or you may have travelled on the tube in London to ‘Leicester Square’. But there’s also a city called Leicester and it sits in the county of Leicestershire. The meaning of the word ‘county’, COUNTY? So that’s like ‘country’ without the R. The UK is divided up into counties, which are geographical areas. We always give the county as part of the address. So places like Sussex, Surrey, Middlesex, Cumbria. These are all counties. And so is Leicestershire. Now if we were American, we’d have simplified this spelling and spelt it LESTER, ‘Lester’. And if you bear that in mind, ‘Leicester’ isn’t difficult to say, even ‘Leicestershire’.. And there are other place names, also with this CESTER ending[] because it comes from when the Romans occupied Britain. This ‘cester’ ending is from the Latin ‘castra’ meaning ‘a camp’. So there’s also Worcester and Worcestershire - both WORCESTER. It’s easier if you imagine it without the CE in the middle. ‘Worcester’. And then there’s ‘Gloucester’, GLOUCESTER which sits in, you guessed it, the county of Gloucestershire. So this is generally the rule - it’s as though there’s silent CE. But of course, there’s always at least one exception to catch you out. In this case, it’s Circencester - that’s CIRENCESTER, which is in the county of Wiltshire. And the full ‘cester’ is pronounced there.

Difficult endings in ‘Edinburgh’ and ‘Loughborough’

Next large city that’s important - ‘Edinburgh’, EDINBURGH. And of course it’s that ending ‘BURGH’ pronounced ‘bruh’ that feels difficult. You may have heard of the Duke of Edinburgh - maybe that makes it easier? But there are are whole host of towns with this sort of ending. ‘Banburgh’ in the North East, for example. This is Anglo-Saxon English - ‘burg’, BURG meaning a fortification or fortified town. The more common ending that’s similar and comes from this is ‘borough’, BOROUGH. ‘Borough’ - so that the OUGH is just an ‘uh’ sound. And there are lots of places ending in ‘borough’ in the UK. In fact on one website I found, it listed 515 places in the UK with this ‘borough’ ending. So it’s well worth learning. Some examples for you to practise with? Farnborough, Middlesborough, Scarborough. Well worth learning! And of course, there’s always the difficult one. What about the town of Loughborough? That’s LOUGHBOROUGH - so there’s an OUGH sound at the start, pronounced ‘uff’ and then the familiar ‘borough’ ending - so OUGH pronounced ‘uh’. Bit of practise - ‘Loughborough’, ‘Loughborough’. In the Adept English Consonant Pronunciation Course, there’s a whole chapter on OUGH words and their different pronunciations. It’s worth checking out - there’s quite a number of them!

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British place names with silent L

How about some places with ‘silent letters’ now? Again I cover ‘Silent letters’ in detail on the course too. But here, some place names with silent letters. What about some with a silent L? Norfolk, - that’s NORFOLK - so a silent L at the end, like in the word ‘folk’, FOLK or ‘talk’, TALK or ‘yolk’, that’s YOLK - that’s the yellow bit of an egg. And there’s also ‘Suffolk’ - SUFFOLK, which is the same. And then you have Lincoln and Lincolnshire. This is like ‘Abraham Lincoln’, US president - LINCOLN. With that one, you just pretend the L isn’t there.

British place names with silent W

And some British place names with a silent W? There’s a pattern to make it easier. They tend to end in WICK or WICH. So Warwick and the county it’s in - Warwickshire. WARWICK. Harwich, HARWICH - that’s on the south coast. You can get a ferry across the sea from Harwich to the Hook of Holland. Then up north, there’s Horwich, HORWICH in Greater Manchester, near where I’m from. So I know that one quite well. And in the North East of England, Berwick-on-Tweed - that’s BERWICK. Another tip - if place names have ‘on’ or ‘upon’ in the middle of them, often surrounded by hyphens, then the third word is a river. Like Stoke-on-Trent or Stratford-upon-Avon.

They have these names because Stoke is on the River Trent and Stratford - that’s the birthplace of William Shakespeare is on the River Avon, which also gives the county its name. Back again to place names with silent Ws and a WICK or WICH ending? If you’re in London, it’s also relevant because there’s ‘Greenwich’, GREENWICH, Chiswick, CHISWICK and Dulwich, DULWICH. So if you’re going to stay in London, don’t get caught out by these place names. Note Greenwich particularly - it looks like ‘green witch’ but no, we say ‘Greenwich’. And this is the Greenwich as in GMT or Greenwich Mean Time. And it’s even useful to know this if you’re in New York as Greenwich Village is an area of Manhattan!

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Let’s practice British place name pronunciation

Shall we do a bit of practice now? Try saying these one with me.

  • Leicester, Leicestershire. Worcester, Worcestershire. Gloucester, Gloucestershire. But Cirencester.
  • Edinburgh, Scarborough, Middlesborough, Farnborough, Gainsborough, Marlborough - but Loughborough.
  • Norfolk, Suffolk, Lincoln and Lincolnshire.
  • Harwich, Horwich, Berwick-upon-Tweed. Warwick and Warwickshire. Greenwich, Chiswick and Dulwich.


OK. Let us know how you got on with this one. And also if you’d like some other place name podcasts - please suggest themes!

Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

Thank you so much for listening. Please help me tell others about this podcast by reviewing or rating it. And, please share it on social media. You can find more listening lessons and a free English course at



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