Onomastic Pronouncements

Did any of you hear Carole Hough, apparenntly Great Britain's only named "Professor of Onomastics" (University of Glasgow) speaking on BBC R4 this morning? Interesting to hear that her own name has three pronunciations: Huff, Howe and Hock!

So what is Onomastics?

"Onomastics or onomatology is the study of proper names of all kinds and the origins of names. The words are from the Greek: "ὀνομαστικός" (onomastikos), "of or belonging to naming" and "ὀνοματολογία" (onomatologia), from "ὄνομα" (ónoma) "name".Toponymy or toponomastics, the study of place names, is one of the principal branches of onomastics. Anthroponomastics is the study of personal names."

Some of my favourite weird English names are

Beaulieu              pronounced      Bewly

Cecil                   pronounced      Sissill

Cholmondeley     pronounced      Chum-ly

Derby                 pronounced      Darby

Gifford                pronounced      Jifford

Holborn              pronounced      Hob'n

Buccleuch           pronounced      Buck-loo

Fiennes               pronounced      Fines

StJohn                pronounced      Sin-j'n

Rhondda             pronounced      Ron-tha

Knollys               pronounced      Noles

Drogheda           pronounced      Droider

Leuchars            pronounced      Lucas

If you want to know more about the English Place-Name Society (EPNS), the Scottish Place-Name Society (SPNS), the Society for Name Studies in Britain and Ireland (SNSBI) and the International Congress of Onomastic Sciences (ICOS) why not consult Prof Hough's entertaining and informative website?

Before long you'll be following the revealing etymologies of place names and you could be taking a linguistic tour of Great Britain's rich, multi-layered heritage.

Buccleuch Foods
Buccleuch Foods


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