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What is the correct pronunciation of Lerwick ?

(86 Posts)
NotAGran55 Tue 05-May-20 06:38:40

I am listening to an audiobook book by Ann Cleeves set in Shetland narrated by Kenny Blyth .

He is alternating between ‘Lerrick ‘ and ‘ Lurwick ‘ which is rather odd .

Bellasnana Tue 05-May-20 06:57:26

My friend’s grandmother came from Lerwick and she always pronounced it Lurwick when reminiscing about her life there.

ninathenana Tue 05-May-20 07:13:24

I've always said Lurwick

Marydoll Tue 05-May-20 07:27:38

I live in Glasgow and I pronounce it Lerwick, sounding all the letters. Also I have heard a BBC Scotland newsreader pronouncing it, Lerick.
What we need is a native of Lerwick to advise us. I wonder if there is anyone here on GN?. 🤔

Elegran Tue 05-May-20 08:04:04

I would say Lurwick too, but the local pronunciation may be different. Berwick is pronounced Berrick, so he may have been matching it to that, but he should have made up his mind which to use and stuck to it.

I thought this site might be useful, but it doesn't have much detail on pronunciation. www.shetlandamenity.org/about-place-names.

Later - Struck gold - www.dictionary.com/browse/lerwick- a recording, however, the speaker sound a bit "English"

NfkDumpling Tue 05-May-20 08:07:47

Its a bit like Shreewsbury and Shrowsbury. No one seems to be able to make a decision. I thought the Beeb had decided on Shrowsbury but then Shreeewsbury popped up again.

Bathsheba Tue 05-May-20 09:12:24

There is a village in Devon called Aveton Gifford. No-one seems to know whether the G is soft or hard. The general rule in English pronunciation is that if G is followed by an e, i, or y it should be soft. But of course there are always exception, e.g. give, giggle, gigabyte, girl. It's a minefield!

Elegran Tue 05-May-20 09:12:56

In Wikipedia, it is phonetically written as "/ˈlɜːrwɪk/; Norwegian and Norn: Leirvik", and the key to the phonics describes "ɜːr" as sounding like "NURSE, blurry, Ernesto, foreword" so I would say that Lurwick is the right way to pronounce it (unless a Shetlander tells us otherwise!)

Elegran Tue 05-May-20 09:16:03

The same page tells us that "Lerwick lies 211 miles (340 km) north-by-northeast of Aberdeen; 222 miles (357 km) west of the similarly sheltered port of Bergen in Norway; and 228 miles (367 km) south east of Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands" - as near to Norway as to Scotland!

Shropshirelass Tue 05-May-20 09:20:52

@NfkDumpling I live near Shreeewsbury. This is the correct one for me.

jacq10 Tue 05-May-20 09:24:11

Common pronounciation in Scotland including radio and tv announcers is Lerwick but locals and anyone with a connection would definitely say Lerrick. Have close friends from Orkney and they speak with the same dialect.

Charleygirl5 Tue 05-May-20 09:55:28

I have always pronounced it Lerwick but I have never lived there and no longer live in Scotland.

I was born in Kirkcaldy but it is pronounced Kircoddy.

Daddima Tue 05-May-20 10:01:19

Anybody from Milngavie?

Callistemon Tue 05-May-20 10:01:53

Aveton Gifford is pronounced Aughton Gifford with a hard 'g'.

One of the actors in Shetland is a native, how did he pronounce it in the TV series?
The one who plays Sandy.

Marydoll Tue 05-May-20 10:04:09

Daddima, grin!

I'm sure I have heard Dougie Henshall pronounce Lerwick as Lerrick, but then again, I may be wrong! I often am. wink

What about Greenock, being pronounced as Grenock, by newsreaders?

Elegran Tue 05-May-20 10:33:06

Newsreaders will be saying Grenwich, therefore Grenock.

Charleygirl5 When I lived in Kirkcaldy (1950s) it was more like Kirka'dy. Kirkoddy was a wee bit posher and used by those who had aspirations to talk proper. That recitation about the endless train journey rhymes it with haddy -

Boy looking forward to his tea at Gran'ma's -
"What’ll I hae for my tea the nicht?
A herrin’, or maybe a haddie?
Has Gran’ma gotten electric licht?
Is the next stop Kirkcaddy?"

Here is the rest of it - www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poem/boy-train/

Elegran Tue 05-May-20 10:35:08

An uncle visiting from the far south of England did ask seriously in advance whether he should pack his electric razor.

Witzend Tue 05-May-20 10:40:11

I thought it was Lurwick but will obv. defer to any local. Had a brilliant trip to the Shetlands inc. Lerwick/Lerrick with my mother about 20 yrs ago.

My favourite in the pronunciation stakes is the North Devon one - Woolfardisworthy, pronounced Woolsery!

annodomini Tue 05-May-20 10:48:07

I've always heard it as Lerwick, but if you use the analogy of Berwick, then you'd think Lerrick would be the correct pronunciation.

Wheniwasyourage Tue 05-May-20 11:17:57

I think natives pronounce it Lerrick and others pronounce it to rhyme with Berwick. So I understand from several visits and from having family who stayed in Shetland for some time.

The thing that Northern Islanders find annoying, I believe, is when people say The Orkneys and The Shetlands, when the correct names are Orkney and Shetland.

Niobe Tue 05-May-20 11:23:49

Daddima, I lived in Bearsden for 40+ years and was always glad I lived in Bearsden rather than “Mulguy” every time I had to give my address to a non-Scot!

Elegran Tue 05-May-20 11:32:37

There is a fairly douce suburb of Glasgow called Bearsden (pronounced as if bears live there) One day on a radio music programme I heard the compere announce a request for someone in what he clearly thought was a very upmarket area called Bee-arse-den. He may have been related to the car GPS speaker woman who once guided us past that other "upmarket" area, Glen rothes (to rhyme with Glen clothes)

Elegran Tue 05-May-20 11:33:16

Crossed posts, Niobe!

annodomini Tue 05-May-20 11:52:03

It also jars when I hear Bearsden pronounced with the emphasis on the first syllable. I wonder how it got the name in the first place. I don't think there have been bears in Scotland for many centuries, if ever - and certainly no 'den'.

Granny23 Tue 05-May-20 11:56:13

Our local one is Coalsnaughton which thankfully is a peaceable place and seldom on the news. Anyway, older local people usually refer to the village as Calibar because most of the residents were miners in the days before pithead baths or PC language shock