Monday, October 13, 2008

You'd think . . .

. . . I lived in the UK.

Punctuation was discussing UK English pronunciation, and it reminded me that some county, city, street or road names around here are repeats of UK place names.

Either the original settlers were homesick - or they had absolutely no imagination.

We have Norfolk, Hampton, Suffolk, Portsmouth and Surrey to name a few.

The names are the same, but the pronunciations wander a little from the UK. For example, there are at least four common pronunciations for Norfolk.

NOR folk - From visitors or TV announcers that have never visited here.
NAH f'k - From southern people trying to get it right.
Norfik - From someone trying to get it right, but who thinks the correct pronunciation is obscene.
NORf'k - From people who have a clue.

Strangely, in Nebraska, Norfolk is most often pronounced Norfork. Ask Lisa.

Or, here is the "official" explanation:

The name "Norfolk" is traditionally pronounced "Norfork" by Nebraskans. When the city was incorporated (as a village) in 1881, it was named after the "north fork" tributary of the Elkhorn River on which it lies. The United States Postal Service assumed that "Norfork" was a mistake and changed the name to "Norfolk". This became the official spelling, but the local pronunciation did not change.

As usual, the government bollixed it up.