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Hooked on Phonics

When I was in China, and valiantly attempting to learn Chinese, the students would teach me to say something, and I'd write it phonetically on a scrap of paper. Which is why I can remember how to sing "Are you Sleeping?" in Mandarin, but can't remember how to say "My name is Anna."

Some days, though, it feels like being in China all over again.

"Okay, so how do I say this?"

"Leiceshire," says Fiona. Lester-shire, I dutifully write down.

"And this one?"

"Gloucestershire." She sighs. "It's like Leiceshire."

Gloster-shire, I write, and look at it critically. "That's an awful lot of letters. This one?"

"That's just Southampton! It's nothing special!"

English into English, indeed.


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Try Happisburgh, Wymondham and Costessey for size (pronounced Hayzbruh, Windum and Cossey) and they're just the ones in Norfolk... (I grew up in Norwich -pronounced Norridge to rhyme with porridge, incidentally: it accounts for a lot...)

In Kuala Lumpur they have a suburb called Titiwangsa which is pronounced Titiwangsa - I just like to say it and giggle.

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